Local mining companies have a key role to play in reviving the manufacturing sector through increasing spending on supplies and consumables that they use in their operations, a Cabinet Minister has said. Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said for instance, through leveraging their capacity to purchase, mining companies could encourage local manufacturing industries to acquire franchises of reputable global firms to manufacture equipment and other consumables locally.Minister Chidhakwa said Zimbabwe possessed both the skills and capacity to produce some of the consumables that mining firms need, but was being limited by funding challenges.
“Can you imagine what would happen to this economy if every year we were manufacturing cyanide for all your requirements, if you were buying roof bolts and all of them were made by a company in Mutare and you were buying mill balls which were being made in Zvishavane, can you imagine what that would do to our economy?” he asked at a recent Chamber of Mines briefing.
“So I am calling on the Chamber of Mines, we will walk you that walk so that we go and say to the Chamber of Industries these are the items that we want, this is the quality that we want and these are the quantities per month that we want. What do we do to get them? That is how industry happens these days.”
Minister Chidhakwa added; “I think it’s a model that we need to replicate across industry because that is how we revive Bulawayo, for example. We need to do so also with small scale mining equipment, this is the message that I want us to run seriously with because I believe, yes we are under pressure to generate foreign currency but let’s do other things also which move us towards the recovery of the Zimbabwean economy.”
Mining houses have had to import most of their equipment and consumables following the economic meltdown of the past decade that resulted in most industries closing or scaling down their operations after failing to retool.
The closure of the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company has also had a significant effect on many downstream industries that depended heavily on steel and steel products that it produced for the manufacture of various items used in the mining industry.
Some of the machinery and consumables that mining companies are importing include cyanide, mill balls, mill rods and explosives. –New Ziana.