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The Chronicle

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Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development has said the US$12 billion mining industry target by 2023 is achievable and has called on players in the mining sector to unite and work together to positively contribute to its attainability.

In 2019, President Mnangagwa launched the US$12 billion mining industry roadmap where gold is expected to contribute US$4 billion, platinum US$3 billion while chrome, iron, steel, diamonds and coal will contribute US$1 billion each.

Lithium is expected to contribute US$500 million while other minerals contribute US$1,5 billion.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said the US$12 billion mining industry target by 2023 was achievable as part of the broader macroeconomic roadmap towards achieving an upper middle-income economy by 2030.

In an interview, Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Mining Development chairman Edmond Mkaratigwa said joining hands was key to growing the sector.

“We desire to see sanity but we need to join our hands as different parts of the puzzle to achieve the US$12 billion mining industry target by 2023.

The Committee is there for the people as is the nature of role for Parliaments across the globe.

“We have endeavoured to clear our desks on time and I urge those who require an ear from us to please do come and make 2022 a life-changing period for the sector.

It is important for stakeholders to unite for the advancement of their cause and we are there to support such so that our policies also remain responsive to the prevailing national and global socio-economic environment,” he said.

He said this year there was need to step up safety, health and environmental regulations that were lacking in most mining companies so as to create a conducive working environment for miners.

Mkaratigwa said monitoring by different departments of Government should be enforced as exposure of workers to risks of accidents and any other life-threatening behaviours should never condoned.

“Government has many mechanisms for enforcement but a conscious worker is the best starting point for employee safety and security.

One of the best ways is for the mine workers to organise themselves and legally stand up for their rights as workers in mining companies where safety, health and environmental regulations are not prioritised.”

Mkaratigwa said the Labour Act was very clear with regards to the worker’s rights and the rights unclaimed effectively defeated existence of that right.

With regards to one of the challenges of the mining sector being job-insecure due to lack of fixed contracts at most mines, he said there was need for safety nets.

“The first piece of advice I can start by providing is that we should all endeavour to broaden our human, social and economic capacities in order to secure our livelihoods and to reduce such risks emanating from job insecurity.

“Mining is a very risky investment option though it can also bring about very high returns. It is imperative in that respect for workers to agree with corporates on safety nets in case operations cease,” he said.

He said the industry, specifically workers councils must negotiate with the industry for minimum sector specific conditions in addition to the universal Labour Act provisions, especially where abuses are observed.

“This is a very difficult issue and as a committee, we can initiate investigations but it would make our work even easier if we get submissions from citizens recommending what they see as best options as a starting point.

“In fact, we prefer the solutions-based thinking and approach so that we particularly represent the interests of the people and probably hear the challenges if any, being also faced by the implied investors,” he added.

The mining sector is critical in generating foreign currency, contributing about 70 percent of the country’s forex earnings, according to official data.

The projected increase to US$12 billion in mining earnings represents a 344 percent jump from US$2,7 billion achieved in 20217.

Mining houses undertaking various projects towards boosting output and ensuring the attainment of the target have been identified while negotiations with other ones are in progress.

Under this drive, the Government expects that by 2030, the mining industry will be generating upwards of US$20 billion.

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