Zimbabwe is sitting on $15 trillion worth of mineral resources and it is folly for the West to apply illegal sanctions on such a rich country where every citizen can be a millionaire, Acting President Cde Phelekezela Mphoko has said.
Speaking during the first leg of his three-day tour of Mashonaland West province which took him to Great Dyke Investments in Darwendale yesterday, Cde Mphoko said, with a population of 13 million people, Zimbabwe had the capacity to turn all its citizens into millionaires.
Great Dyke Investments is a multi-billion dollar project which is being implemented under a joint venture between Government and the Russian Federation.
Cde Mphoko said by any standards, Zimbabwe was not supposed to be poor given its abundant natural resource base.
“Zimbabwe is number two in terms of platinum depots followed by Russia at number three — which gives us 2,8 billions tones of reserves of platinum,” he said.
“If you multiply 2,8 billion tonnes of platinum by $1, 500 per ounce (its selling price), we are not supposed to be poor.
“Now, if we add on top of 2,8 billion tones, we add gold which ranges between 25 million tones of reserves throughout the country at $1,100 per ounce, and then we add diamonds —those three minerals account for $15 trillion dollars. Why should we be poor?”
Cde Mphoko said the Great Dyke Investments project was sentimental to him because he played a crucial role in brokering the deal when he was still Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Russia.
He said both Zimbabwe and Russia were under punitive Western sanctions but with the commitment that had been shown at highest level by President Mugabe and his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin, the two countries would sail through.
“We are all under sanctions. You cannot apply sanctions to a rich country like Zimbabwe. You can’t. Forget. You are wasting your time because if we talk about these minerals and you think you can make us starve, it is impossible.
“Maybe if we were a banana republic with no natural resources, maybe you can win, but not a country with such massive natural resources.”
Great Dyke Investments general manager Mr Igor Higer assured Cde Mphoko his country’s commitment to the project. He said they had already applied for more land from Government to set up a concentrator and a smelter to which Cde Mphoko responded saying President Mugabe was keen to see those value addition facilities being put in place.
“As of the beginning of July, more than 50 000 metres have been drilled out of the total 200 000 running metres planned for drilling in 2015 to 2016,” he said.
Cde Mphoko was also shown the company’s laboratory and houses that were under construction for employees.
He was accompanied by Senate President Edna Madzongwe, Mashonaland West Provincial Minister of State Faber Chidarikire, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Prisca Mupfumira who is also the Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister acting Minister and Psycho-motor Minister Josiah Hungwe.
Cde Mphoko’s tour will also take him to Chirundu Border Post today before winding up with a visit at Mhangura Mine and David Whitehead tomorrow.