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Zimbabwe mining a key growth area

The Ngezi mine in
Zimbabwe has an
integrated processing
Harare, Zimbabwe — MININGREVIEW.COM — 01 July 2009 – The Zimbabwean division of South Africa’s top construction and engineering company, Murray and Roberts, says it sees the mining sector of the southern African country as a key area for growth.

“We have taken a position that mining is a key growth market area for us,” M&R Zimbabwe chief executive Canada Maunga told an investor conference here. “China is definitely here and is very competitive, and we believe the South Africans are coming in strongly as well.”

M&R Zimbabwe – in which M&R has a 48% shareholding – is the country’s largest construction group, focusing on civil engineering, steelworks and manufacture of industrial pipes. The company said it would spend US$15 million (R120 million) on capital expenditure in the next three years, and recently completed a platinum concentrator at the Implats Ngezi mine in Zimbabwe .

Zimbabwe has huge mineral deposits, including the second largest platinum reserves in the world after South Africa. The world’s two largest producers – Anglo Platinum and Implats – both operate there.

Several gold mines are restarting production after shutting down last year, while Implats is to launch its US$340 million (R2.7 billion) mine expansion this year, and Anglo Platinum is forging ahead with a planned 150 000 ounce a year platinum project.

Reuters reports that Zimbabwe needs US$10 billion (R80 billion) in foreign funding to revive its damaged economy, with US$2 billion (R16 billion) required to revamp decaying infrastructure.

But – the report added – it should introduce reforms to its tax system, reduce corruption and remove the red tape to attract investors.

“The investment opportunities are fantastic and growth potential phenomenal,” Steve Hanke of John Hopkins University in United States told the conference via video link. “The good news is that these reforms can be done quickly,” he added.