Lloyd Gumbo Senior Reporter
PLANS to establish the Pan-African Minerals University of Science and Technology (Pamust) have started in earnest with Government presenting the Bill in Parliament last week.
Enrolment begins in August this year.
The university, to be established as a Nelson Mandela Institute of Excellence (NMI), seeks to advance the African continent’s socio-economic transformation through value addition and beneficiation of its mineral resources.
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Deputy Minister, Dr Godfrey Gandawa steered the Bill in the National Assembly last week where it was read for the first time.
The Bill was then referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee to determine whether if passed into law, the Bill would not contravene any section of the Constitution.
The institution will initially offer programmes in geosciences, mining engineering, extractive metallurgy, materials science and engineering, minerals business studies and any other programmes consistent with the university’s mandate.
Dr Gandawa told The Herald yesterday that it would focus on value addition and beneficiation.
“It will be dedicated to the teaching and training of very high calibre mineral professionals in mineral beneficiation and value addition for the African continent,” he said.
“It shall be housed at SIRDC (Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre) for a start while resources will be mobilised for the campus.
“If all go according to plan, we should see the institution enrolling by August 2016.”
He said other African countries would help in the construction of the university that will adopt the contemporary multi-campus approach.
Dr Gandawa said a farm in Harare had been earmarked for the construction of the university.
Some of the objectives of the institution include the provision of highly advanced post-graduate courses and research in mineral value addition and beneficiation and related mineral studies, promotion of technological innovation and knowledge-based development in mineral sciences and advancement and transmission of knowledge and intellectual enquiry with a special bias towards the diffusion and extension of mineral sciences, among others.
President Mugabe, who was the African Union chairperson until January this year, told the Nepad Heads of State and Governments Orientation Committee in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the end of his tenure as AU chair that Zimbabwe had resolved to establish the institution.
Speaking at the meeting, President Mugabe said failure to exploit mineral resources in African countries was due to lack of appropriate knowledge and skills, technology and infrastructure.
“I wish to inform Your Excellencies that for the Southern Africa region, Zimbabwe is setting up the Pan-African Minerals University of Science and Technology (Pamust), whose focus will be minerals beneficiation and value addition. As a Pan-African institute, the university will open its doors to all African post-graduate students to conduct cutting-edge research.
“It is our hope that the Pan-African Minerals University of Science and Technology will produce outstanding African scientists, engineers and technologists who will impact positively on the continent’s economic transformation.”