Mineral quality testing costs Zim
Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Reporter
Zimbabwe could be losing millions of US dollars in potential revenue due to the inability by relevant state departments to certify minerals value before export due to the unavailability of certification laboratories and technologies. This was revealed at a stakeholders consultative conference held in Harare recently under the auspices of state minerals marketing arm, the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ).
Government lab, Metlab, is unable to cover the gap as it needs to be capacitated to be an umpire and or commercial lab. The meeting was organised by the marketer so that it could solicit for producers’ input into problems affecting production as Government seeks to boost mining sector export earnings from US$3, 2 attained last year to US$12 billion per year from 2023 onwards.
Speaking at the meeting miners implored Government to ensure that Zimbabwe sets up laboratories that certify minerals and their quality to international standards, standards which can then go on to be confirmed by international buyers.
MMCZ general manager Mr Tongai Muzenda, noted the challenge and said indeed Zimbabwe can make better returns with internationally certified testing laboratories.
“We note the concern that miners are getting a variance on the quality of their product when it gets to the international market compared to their expectations before export,” said Mr Muzenda.
“Obviously this calls internationally certified local testing laboratories which can then certify our minerals before export and we are guaranteed what we would have gotten here cannot be disputed anywhere in the world,” he told the conference.
Responding to miners’ concern, a representative of a local testing firm – Zimlabs, said it had the state of the art technology to cover that gap which is, however, lying idle as miners’ uptake is very low.
Zimlabs prides itself, among other things, in gold fire assay, base metal analysis, coal analysis, sample preparation and Li and rare elements analysis.
“I hear people are complaining about the lack of laboratories that can certify quality to international standards,” said Naume Mandizha a director at Zimlabs.
“We have state of the-art-machinery to do that job for you, where if we give you our results you are sure even if you export you will get the same results,” the Zimlabs director told stakeholders attending the MMCZ conference.
Players in the chrome and chromium sector are the ones mainly affected by the trend as international buyers tend to provide a varying opinion to what the producers would have claimed in their export papers.
Geologists rely on mineral testing to ascertain the quality of the mineral and its appropriateness for intended use. They also usually want to ascertain that the minerals are a result of naturally occurrence, are inorganic, solid and of definite chemical composition. President Mnangagwa has declared that the country’s economic turnaround will be anchored by agriculture and mining.