Munyaradzi Musiiwa, Midlands Correspondent
THE Government will next month sign a major framework agreement that will see more than $730 million worth of investment coming into the mining sector with coal bed methane being one of the key priority areas, a Cabinet Minister has said.
In an interview on the sidelines of a tour at Shabanie Mine in Zvishavane, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said the Government had secured $730 million worth of investment for the mining sector which would be sealed on 15 May. Minister Chitando said the greater part of the investment will go towards the coal bed methane project in Lupane.
“Very soon we are seeing the coming on stream of coal bed methane (CBM) that would entail coal bed methane gas being used for the production of fuel, power, fertiliser and pharmaceutical products. On the 15th of May this year there will be a major framework agreement that will be signed that would see a $730 million investment deal coming which will cover mostly CBM.
It is all secure and will be signed on May 15 and work on the ground will commence in July,” he said.
Minister Chitando said the country was targeting to produce 30 tonnes of gold this year up from 24 tonnes produced last year.
He said in the long run the country is targeting producing 80 tonnes of gold per annum. Minister Chitando said the entire mining sector was poised for major growth in the next five years.
“We have a five-year plan which will see the mining industry increasing significantly. I will start with coal. Last year we did about two million tonnes but from 2019 we will be doing around eight million tonnes per annum. In gold we did 24 tonnes last year and this year we are targeting around 30 tonnes. Our five-year plan on gold output is to produce about 70 tonnes per annum. On platinum we are looking at doubling the output especially with the Great Dyke investment that is coming.
In terms of ferrochrome production we are looking forward to increasing from 300 000 tonnes per year to about 600 000 tonnes per year within the next five years. So we are seeing a massive increase in production in the mining sector. Iron is also coming on stream and asbestos as well,” he said.