The Sunday News
Judith Phiri, Business Reporter
THE 26th edition of the mining, engineering and transport expo (Mine Entra) ended on a high note in Bulawayo on Friday, with a total of 204 exhibitors having participated at the showcase.
President Mnangagwa officially opened the specialised three-day exhibition that was held at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre (ZIEC) on Thursday. The international trade and investment expo was held under the theme: “Accelerating Economic Transformation Through Mineral Beneficiation” and featured diverse networking and knowledge-sharing platforms that sought to propel the mining industry as a catalyst for inclusive economic growth, now and into the future.
In a media briefing on Friday, Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Company board chairman, Mr Busisa Moyo said this year’s show saw a significant increase in interest from players in the mining and related industries.
“The 26th edition of the country’s premier exhibition, Mine Entra comes to an end today (Friday) after a packed three days of high-level business networking. As organisers, we are pleased with the quality of the exhibition and interactions which took place. Over the past three days, through discourse and the exhibition showcase, we have explored the boundless potential of the mining industry to transform not only our economy but also the lives of those who depend on its riches: the people of Zimbabwe. This year’s show saw a significant increase in interest from players in the mining and related industries attracting a total of 204 exhibitors showcasing the evolving innovations in the mining industry.”
He said of the 204 exhibitors taking up space, 174 were direct exhibitors whilst 30 were indirect exhibits, while this compares favourably to last year’s closing total of 158 direct exhibitors and 44 indirect exhibitors. Mr Moyo said 6 544 square metres of space were taken up representing 93.88 percent of available space (6 770 square metres).
“This figure represents a 6.9 percent increase in space occupancy over last year (6 125 square metres occupied in 2022). Mine Entra 2023 enjoyed a 79.9 percent retention rate over the previous edition. Another interesting point to note is the increase in direct exhibitors versus indirect exhibitors. This is indicative of the intrinsic value of the platform in the eyes of exhibitors who once they have had a Mine Entra experience as a co-exhibitor, almost always want to come back, this time under their own stead.”
The board chairman said four foreign nations took part in this year’s show namely Botswana, The People’s Republic of China, South Africa and Tanzania, while they were represented by 12 individual companies (eight direct and four indirect). Mr Moyo said in terms of local participation, 65 percent of exhibitors came from Harare while 31 percent came from Bulawayo and the remainder from other cities.
“As at lunchtime today (Friday), we had recorded 1 935 unique business visitors coming into the exhibition. Total people who came into the exhibition centre were 4 686 including business visitors plus 654 exhibitors and services providers. Business visitors who attended the show came from the following countries: Australia, Botswana, China, DRC, India, Mozambique, Palestine, Singapore, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Their profiles included mainly executives from industrial enterprises, banking and finance, mining managers, buyers and executives, service sector representatives, distributors of materials and equipment, as well as government officials, among other professionals with an interest in the mining value chain.”
Mr Moyo said the majority of exhibitors whom they have engaged with have indicated that they were pleased with the quality of attendees as they were able to discuss and seal lucrative deals. Several industry-led events that took place concurrently with the show, included the Lithium and Battery Minerals Conference organised by the Zimbabwe School of Mines (ZSM) which attracted over 150 participants. The Mining Industry Suppliers Conference also ran parallel and saw over 100 participants coming through, while it was highlighted at the event that innovation and collaboration are key to sustainable mining industry.
This year’s Mine Entra Conference, which was the highlight of the three-day exhibition drew 313 delegates on Thursday, which was headlined by President Mnangagwa and Vice President Chiwenga, among other key dignitaries.
On Friday, industry stakeholders met to unpack the State of Mining Industry report, while the Small Scale and Artisanal Miners Conference attended by just under 100 industry players, sought to amplify the voices of small-scale miners and lobby for a policy framework that is friendly to their needs.
The 2023 edition of the Mine Entra Charity Golf Challenge also took place at the Bulawayo Country Club with over 60 players having an opportunity to network and seal deals over a nice game of golf on the green. “This year’s event in particular provided a unique platform to spotlight the mining value chain’s contribution to the country’s economic development. Thematic focus areas for both the exhibition and concurrent knowledge-sharing platforms included technological advances in mining, latest innovations in machinery and equipment as well as transition to new energy sources and critical minerals such as lithium,” said Mr Moyo.