President Emerson Mnangagwa has taken a swipe at his predecessor Mr Robert Mugabe’s bureaucratic tendencies which he said scared away potential investors resulting in the country losing investment deals worthy billions of dollars’.
Mnangagwa made the scathing remarks during a ground-breaking ceremony of the US$4.2 billion Karo Mining Holdings project in Mhondoro today where he said Mugabe’s lack of vision and lazy approach, led to a number missed opportunities for the country.
Karo Platinum, which is jointly owned by the Government of Zimbabwe and Karo, is the first of four large projects that will be undertaken as part of the development of a large scale vertically integrated Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) mining complex in Zimbabwe.
Mnangagwa said the project stalled over the past eight to 10 years as a result of several people in high offices who had no vision.
“We have cut short that journey of delaying and delaying while denying the people of Zimbabwe, the usage of their God-given resources. So I’m happy that today we are here and the man who was stopping you all this while is no longer here.
“I have a new minister of mines… and I have hope that he will continue with the spirit of allowing investors outside the country to come and if he changes that attitude, he will go.
“Mr Loucas Pouroulis (Karo chairman) first came to Zimbabwe in 2007 wanting to look into the mining sector, and I think by 2008/9, we had identified this project.
“But have lost as many as eight to 10 years before we could reach this stage as a result of many people in offices of authority, who had no vision,” said Mnangagwa.
During the Mugabe era, many potential investors frowned at the idea of investing in Zimbabwe as they had to spend most of their times in government offices trying to get permits, while in some instances, the responsible ministers would ask for kickbacks before an opportunity is availed.
However, Mnangagwa said since coming into office in November of 2017, his administration had done away with the old ways of doing business while adopting “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” mantra.
Mnangagwa revised the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act which ensured that at least 51% shareholding of all companies were held by local Zimbabweans.
The regulations specified that every non-indigenous business in Zimbabwe (existing and new) with a net asset value of or above USD 500 000 should have submitted to the minister a completed Form IDG01 (Notification of Extent of Indigenisation) and a provisional indigenisation implementation plan within a certain time frame.
Pouroulis, Karo’s chairman, echoed the same sentiments saying the project invested a lot of time to be where it is.
“Since 2004, we have invested a significant amount of time and energy to get us to the position where we are today,” he said.
Josephat Zimba , Karo Country Manager, told 263Chat that the there is improved efficiency in as far as investment conditions are concerned.
Meanwhile, Karo Platinum will be responsible for the open cast and underground mining of the platinum concession, which is expected to mine approximately 14.4 million tons per annum (Mtpa) of run of mine ore.
The conceptual designs are based on the operation of four open-pit mining operations, the first of which will begin operation in 2020.
The scalable nature of the project allows for a staged transition to underground operations at a later date. This material will be processed by Karo Refining.
The integrated mining and refining complex includes the establishment of a 300 MW solar power plant, which will feed power into the Zimbabwean electricity grid.