- June 5, 2021
- Posted in NEWS
HYDROCARBONS and platinum were among the top discussion points at the Chamber of Mines’ three-day annual indaba that ends in Victoria Falls today.
Officially opened by President Mnangagwa yesterday, the conference is being held under the theme: “Navigating turbulent times — Sustaining growth of the mining industry beyond Covid-19.”
Mining investors and executives discussed a number of issues on the local mining industry with the country’s hydrocarbon potential and platinum leading. There were two symposia, one focusing on oil and gas while the other was on platinum.
Gold is an old mineral, whose potential remains enormous, just like chrome, lithium, coal, diamond as well as platinum.
However, we, as the Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando said on Thursday, have a soft spot for oil and gas, an emerging mining sub-sector in the country and one which has stupendous potential.
There is hydrocarbon potential in Lupane and Chiredzi but progress towards exploration of a highly prospective target in Muzarabani has got us dreaming.
We have seen how oil and gas have performed socio-economic miracles in Qatar, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Brunei, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait among other countries. The countries are among the world’s richest and most well-developed. Standards of living of their people are out of this world. Everything is perfect through and through. All this has been possible because of the countries’ oil and gas endowments.
In Africa, Algeria and Egypt are heading up there; Angola is moving up as is Nigeria. Mozambique is on the cusp following impressive offshore discoveries north of that country.
The advances that are being made by Invictus Energy and its local partner, One Gas Resources at their oil and gas acreage in Muzarabani are making us dream that with judicious management of revenue from the hydrocarbons, Zimbabwe could develop as fast as Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and other oil producing nations have done in recent years.
Minister Chitando said his ministry has an inclination towards oil and gas.
He said: “This is an opportunity to critically explore the potential that exists in Zimbabwe’s oil and gas mining industry, to share experiences in developing a world-class oil and gas mining industry leveraging on the gains from our economic reforms, engagement and re-engagement with the international community.
The oil and gas sector is one among other resources that have the potential to contribute towards the speedy attainment of our national vision to become an upper-middle-income economy by 2030. Given the strategic importance of oil and gas in Zimbabwe, my ministry is strategically monitoring and evaluating the progress made in terms of exploration of the occurrence of this strategic mineral in Muzarabani.”
Geo Associates, the partnership between Invictus Energy, registered in Australia, and One Gas Resources, a locally-owned company, must be commended for the work they are doing that could lead to exploratory drilling at Muzarabani in the next few months.
That, we are optimistic, should lead to a commercial discovery, paving the way for the mobilisation of resources for development and extraction of the gas and oil from that target.
But for greater value to be unlocked from the oil and gas, we want the Government and Geo Associates to work out a programme for value addition. Qatar, UAE, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are so rich because they are exporting refined oil, which pays big, not crude which is cheaper. They are also processing their gas to produce electricity and other products.
So as soon as a commercial discovery is made at Muzarabani, development is done, it must not take a long time for the investors, working with the Government, for more value to be added to the oil and gas.
The people who are paying so much for petrol and diesel will look forward to both fuels being cheaper as they would be made from locally-mined oil. They, too, would be happy that some of the gas to be used for electricity generation so that the national reliance on hydro and coal generation is reduced. That would ensure more energy security and possibly lead to lower electricity prices.
A full-fledged oil and gas industry also means more jobs and greater national development.