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MPC shifts gear up

STATE-OWNED mineral exploration firm Mining Promotion Corporation (MPC) has secured exploration ground through reserved areas as a way of ascertaining the exact amount of minerals that the country has as efforts to attract foreign direct investment in the sector gathers pace.

MPC is a state-owned enterprise that was established to carry out mineral exploration and development for national strategic minerals. The company competes with the private sector for prospective exploration ground and claims.

The ultimate goal is for Zimbabwe to have a geological database of mineral worth, which will be composed of information generated from both the private sector and MPC.

Within the reserved areas, the MPC is currently conducting exploration work in two special grants situated in Matabeleland South Province and Midlands Province.

MPC chief executive Allen Nyamutukwa told the Independent the firm has secured exploration ground through reserved areas and exploration work is already being conducted.

“In order to achieve the national objective to conduct wide-scale exploration, the MPC secured exploration ground through reserved areas under the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.

“Within these reserved areas, the MPC is currently conducting exploration work in two special grants situated in Matabeleland South Province and Midlands Province. The MPC has also applied for additional land under exclusive prospecting orders (EPOs) which are yet to be approved,” Nyamutukwa said.

He further noted that mineral exploration is expensive and only investors with a long-term vision are willing to take the risk.

The enterprise has since received funding from the government and has packaged all its tenements for partnership arrangements.

“MPC projects are advertised to investors through its own website, government exhibitions, Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency and other various mining investment platforms. The aim is to attract investment into exploration to grow the mining sector and smart partnerships will ensure funding for various projects,” Nyamutukwa added.

The MPC however distanced itself from speculation that there are  investors getting mineral resources for a song and eventually selling them at a profit.

There are numerous claims that the government was losing potential revenue through speculative investors who are getting mineral resources for free and selling for millions after undertaking partial exploration .

“It is noteworthy that under Zimbabwe is open for business mantra, there has been a huge appetite from investors seeking mining and exploration opportunities in Zimbabwe. The MPC is strategically positioned to engage with serious mining firms that are interested in long-term investment in the mining sector and are prepared to go through the proper exploration cycle, discovery, feasibility and mine development stages.

“The MPC however has no control over alleged speculation happening in the mining sector where deposits are being slightly upgraded and traded at higher prices. In the mining sector, if one owns mining rights over a certain deposit, they can sell their mine at any price under willing-buyer-willing-seller arrangements,” Nyamutukwa said.

“One of the objectives of the MPC is to discover large-scale mining operations that can impact the economy and benefit the ordinary Zimbabwean. In the same vein, all exploration data generated during exploration is stored under a national database for future use. As expected, data on small ore deposits discovered will be stored in that database and sold to prospective miners who will then have a head start in their mining venture,” he added.

The government has approved four special grants for the MPC which holds a number of reservations for strategic investment and exploration in order to make it attractive to investors.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister Monica Mutsvangwa during a post-Cabinet briefing last month said  MPC had plans to engage suitable entities to negotiate joint venture arrangements.

“The nation is reminded that the Cabinet in December 2020 banned all applications for Special Grants in areas reserved in favour of the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development through the MPC.

“The MPC is a wholly-owned government company that holds a number of reservations for strategic investments and exploration. Cabinet has approved the registration of four special grants to enable Mining Promotion Corporation to engage suitable entities to negotiate joint venture arrangements,” Mutsvangwa said.

Zimbabwe’s mining sector is highly diversified, with close to 40 different minerals.  The predominant minerals include platinum group metals (PGM), chrome, gold, coal and diamonds. 

The country boasts the second-largest platinum deposit and high-grade chromium ores in the world, with approximately 2,8 billion tons of PGM and 10 billion tonnes of chromium ore. 

The mining sector accounts for about 12% of the country’s gross domestic product and lack of exploration has been a challenge in terms of ramping up production in the sector.

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