The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE Ministry of Mines and Mining Development will initiate a policy that bans export of scrap metal which has been disadvantaging local businesses.
Illegal scrap metal exports are said to be bleeding the economy of potential foreign currency earnings amid indications that an estimated US$5 billion worth of scrap material has been traded to neighbouring countries in the last 20 years.
Scrap metal is a valuable waste product that can be recycled to make a wide range of products for industrial processes.
Engaging delegates at the Zimbabwe Metal Casting Indaba, Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Polite Kambamura said they will take to Cabinet some of the issues raised by the foundry industry players.
“We are not only going to suspend export of scrap but also we are going to discuss with ferrochrome producers, we have five smelters that are operational in the country. We are also going to discuss with coke producers so that there is a quota which is left for local beneficiation and the local industry,” said Deputy Minister Kambamura.
“We did that in the diamond sector and that led to the coming up of companies like Aurex Jewellery which does beneficiation of diamonds. So, we are going to bring that to Cabinet and see that the policy is communicated to the producers for the benefit of you guys, but when we do that do not disappoint us, we are trying to support the wild goose that is laying golden eggs so that you continue to lay the golden eggs.”
He said some issues have been brought to his attention with regards to scrap metal prices and they were going to engage the Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) so that they could form a commodity exchange counter which will regulate the prices of scrap after the ban.
“We are going to implement what we have agreed here and set it in motion so that we revive the country’s foundry industry and enhance its contribution to various sectors of the economy,” said Deputy Minister Kambamura.
In his speech read on his behalf by Deputy Minister Kambamura, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said the indaba hosted by the Zimbabwe Institute of Foundries (ZIF)’s theme, “Value Addition and Beneficiation is key” fitted well into Government’s current economic thrust.
“This theme fits well into Government’s current economic policy thrust under the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1). Under NDS1 implementation phase, beneficiation and value addition of our economic minerals is key and ultimately feed into the attainment of Vision 2030 of Zimbabwe becoming an upper middle-income economy,” said Minister Chitando.
He said the NDS1 was anchored on creation of value chains to see through the National Re-industrialisation Policy, Sadc protocol in mining, the African Mining Vision and was also in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Minister said the mining sector is expected to play a pivotal role in the attainment of the US$12 billion mining industry as espoused by President Mnangagwa.
He said: “The indaba offers great opportunity for Zimbabwe to explore new frontiers and build a better economy for everyone.
Let us unlock the great potential in our nation. Zimbabwe is endowed with a highly diversified mineral resource base, comprising over 60 minerals in the categories of precious metals, base metals, industrial metals and gemstones.
Currently, minerals account for more than 70 percent of the country’s foreign currency earnings.”
Minister Chitando said the resuscitation of the metal casting industry was beneficial for the sector that relies on foundry particularly mining and engineering sectors.
He said according to the Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe, mining companies in the country consume more than 1 000 tonnes of steel balls for ball mills valued at more US$1 million and most of the steel balls were imported by the mining industry every year.
The Minister said the foundry manufacturing technology in Zimbabwe was lagging behind with processing ore still manually operated thus negatively impacting on the product quality.