Africa Moyo Senior Business Reporter
LOCAL firms that have previously complained at being sidelined by mining houses and municipalities, have an opportunity to engage top management of the institutions and thrash potential business deals during the Tour de Great Dyke scheduled for next Tuesday, organisers say.
Tour de Great Dyke, which is set to start in Darwendale at Great Dyke Investments and ends in Zvishavane, is designed to raise awareness of the potential benefits the country can reap from exploiting minerals in the Great Dyke.
Great Dyke Investments is a $3 billion Russia-Zimbabwe joint venture platinum mining project based in Darwendale.
Mr Munyaradzi Hwengwere, spokesperson for the organisers of the Tour de Great Dyke who include Buy Zimbabwe, told journalists on Tuesday that local manufacturers have an opportunity to meet the honchos of mining companies and discuss business opportunities in a relaxed environment.
Some local suppliers have claimed that local mining houses and municipalities were not procuring from them under unclear circumstances.
Similarly, local producers who say their products are unknown by the market, are expected to interact with upwards of 12 000 potential customers during the Tour de Great Dyke.
Said Mr Hwengwere: “We are hoping that local companies can take advantage of Tour de Great Dyke and engage management of mining companies and municipalities and discuss potential business opportunities.
“Most of the time, local suppliers complain that they don’t have access in terms of procurement. So this tour gives such companies an opportunity to access municipalities and mining companies.
“Manufacturers have also been complaining that consumers don’t know local brands, but thousands of people will be on the streets and they can interact with them.”
The Tour de Great Dyke brings together a number of mining companies including Unki, Zimplats and Mimosa, that are expected to take part, while others will offer support in various ways including ambulances.
The Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe, a private sector voluntary organisation established in 1939 by an Act of Parliament to represent the interests on miners and suppliers, is also expected to partake in the tour.
At the same time, the Zimbabwe Miners Federation (ZMF), which represents about 8 000 small-scale miners, is also sponsoring, together with Metbank, ZimAlloys and TN Beverages.
Metbank has become a critical player in the mining sector after recently extending $10 million to small-scale miners.
Mr Hwengwere said plans are afoot to turn Tour de Great Dyke into one of the world’s biggest cycling events, and help the country to achieve a middle income economy by 2030 as espoused by President Mnangagwa.
“That journey (to Vision 2030) is anchored primarily on mining. In the Great Dyke you have anything you can imagine. You have PGMS which include copper, rhodium, gold, and chrome, diamonds, you have anything you can think of.
“If we are talking about mineral wealth, you are really talking about the Great Dyke (and) the tour is aimed at enhancing awareness of this very rich resource that we have in the country called the Great Dyke,” said Mr Hwengwere.
There are plans to rope in the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) so as to promote tourist attraction centres along the Great Dyke such as the scenic and breathtaking 6km Boterekwa in Shurugwi.
The Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is also expected to participate in the cycling parade.