By Victor Maphosa
Minister of State for Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs Appolonia Munzverengi has applauded the new dispensation’s “Zimbabwe is Open for Business” mantra, saying it is yielding positive results in her province and across the nation.
Minister Munzverengi said the mantra has wooed investors to Mashonaland East Province to invest in mining and other areas of economic development.
She made the remarks last week during the ground-breaking ceremony of Arcadia Lithium Mine in Goromonzi.
President Mnangagwa officiated at the ceremony which was attended by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, several Cabinet ministers and senior Government officials.
In her remarks, Minister Munzverengi commended the Australians for investing in the province.
“Today’s ground-breaking ceremony is one of the most exciting events ever to happen in Mashonaland East Province considering that the size of deposits are the second largest in Africa,” she said.
“The other most exciting thing about this project is that it is going to create employment for 700 people with 90 percent being locals.
“I am further informed that other benefits to the community will be in the form of road infrastructure development and social services like schools and clinics. Your Excellency, above all this, the people of Mashonaland East will be proud to know that they are exporting lithium to China and earning foreign currency for their country.”
Minister Munzverengi said earning foreign currency will have a huge significance in the province’s quest to contribute to the GDP and propel the nation to its vision of an upper middle income economy by 2030.
She said the province had large deposits of other minerals which included gold and black granite.
Minister Munzverengi bemoaned the lack of resources to add value to the precious stones, saying the province was not earning enough returns because of that.
“While the province has been known to be mainly an agro-based economy, it also boasts large deposits of a variety of other minerals, some of which are being extracted while others are not being mined despite the fact that their deposits have been verified,” she said.
“Major mining activities are in the northern districts of Mutoko and Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe where black granite is being extracted. What is disappointing about this mineral is that it is being sold raw without any value addition. This means that we are not fetching the full value and getting the maximum returns from our precious stones yet our mountains are disappearing.”
Minister Munzverengi said the province also boasts large iron deposits, but no production was taking place.
She said the province welcomed serious investors in the mining industry.
She called out to those holding on to mining claims to start utilising them or surrender them to other people who want to engage in serious production.
Minister Munzverengi called on Arcturus Mine owners to start serious mining and put an end to the cat and mouse battles between police and the local community.
She said the province had potential to leapfrog others economically if its mines were sanitised and fully utilised.