Zimbabwe’s mines minister, Walter Chidhakwa says African countries should have tougher mining laws to benefit more from their natural resources.
“This why in Zimbabwe we say without any fear or apologies that when you come to Zimbabwe, you are coming to mine platinum, gold, and other minerals and the fact that you have applied your logical expertise to find it (mineral) does not make it yours,” Chidhakwa told African delegates attending a five-day conference on natural resources that opened in the capital on Monday.
The fact that you have applied your logical expertise to find it (mineral) does not make it yours
He said the current mining sector structure, which was established during the colonial era, promoted creation of primary jobs which did not translate into economic development.
“As Africans you must be able to see and evaluate that model and say it is not a sustainable model because it has not worked for 100 years,” he said.
He said Zimbabwe will not pay for shares given to local blacks under the empowerment law.
“When it comes to the balance sheet of your company, it (minerals) must be recorded as a contribution of the people of Zimbabwe. And therefore there is nothing like we can’t get 51 percent in a company we have not put money into,” he said.
Chidhakwa challenged foreign companies to build infrastructure in the country as a sign of commitment and took a swipe at those that were using local resources as collateral to borrow money on the international market referring to it as “criminal.”
“Who is leveraging Africa’s resources and for whose benefit. And until and unless we are prepared to take real measures, this system will not create opportunities for our people and our children,” he said.
Chidhakwa said African countries need to create hubs for value addition, especially for minerals such as copper and platinum.
“Industrialisation arising out of the value addition of our raw materials is where we must go and unless we go there, we will always be poor.
“In the mining sector you could have the small producers with concentrators sending (their minerals) to other countries which have smelters and refineries,” he said.
The workshop, organised by the African Community of Practice on Managing for Development Results (AfCoP-MfDR,) seeks to among others establish a platform on natural resources management for an effective implementation of the African Mining Vision (AMV) adopted four years ago by African Union Heads of State.
The AMV seeks to create a transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and socio-economic development.