Friday, 21 May 2021


 As Government ramps up efforts to increase the mining sector’s contribution to the economy through the achievement of a US$12 billion mining industry by 2023, the mineral rich Manicaland province is well on its way to benefit from the Rare Earth Elements (REEs) at Chishanya in Buhera.

Lithium miners and Australian Stock Exchange listed Prospect Resources recently announced encouraging preliminary results from soil samples taken from Buhera.

Zimbabwe is reportedly sitting on a number of REEs which are widely used to make powerful permanent magnets for lightweight electric motors, phosphors for television monitors, catalysts for cars and chemical refineries, rechargeable batteries for hybrid and electric cars, generators for wind turbines, as well as numerous optical, medical and military devices.

Research has shown that the most valuable REEs are those found at Chishanya in Buhera and Songwe Hill in Malawi.

Among other REEs believed to be found in Zimbabwe are cerium, dysprosium, erbium, europium, gadolinium, holmium, lanthanum, lutetium, neodymium, praseodymium, promethium, samarium, scandium, terbium, thulium, ytterbium, and yttrium.

The Chishanya phosphate deposit has been explored by a number of companies since the 1950s and the coming on board of Prospect Resources has generated a lot of excitement in the province.

It is also a result of the Second Republic’s efforts in providing a conducive operating environment for investors, especially as the country gears towards attaining an upper middle income economy by 2030.

Mining is expected to improve the province’s per capita income which currently stands at US$743, which is disappointingly low given the province’s comparative advantages in agriculture, horticulture, agro-forestry, tourism and mining.

In an interview with The Manica Post early this week, Prospect Resources executive director, Mr Harry Greaves said results obtained from the samples are encouraging.

“Although the project is at its early stages, the results we have obtained from the samples are very encouraging. This is very interesting and more work needs to be done. Sampling will continue for a couple of months and we hope that very soon we will be announcing a lot of progress that we would have made,” said Mr Greaves.

Although Mr Greaves could not be drawn to shed more light on the timelines of the project as well as the investment ploughed into the Chishanya project, in its prospectus report, Prospect Resources said it is positioning itself to be a leading explorer for battery metals.

The report also said Prospect Resources recently raised 10 million Australian dollars for their exploration efforts at Chishanya and advancement of their flagship Arcadia lithium project near Harare.

Buhera District Development Co-ordinator, Mr Freeman Mavhiza was upbeat about the exploration work taking place in the district.

“It is exciting, exploration of minerals is being done in our district. This is not only good news for Buhera, but Manicaland and Zimbaber at large. Apart from the Prospect Resources project, there is a also lot of activity in the gold sector in Ward 12,” he said. Speaking during President Mnangagwa’s tour of Wattle Company, Willowton and Mega Market in Mutare on Wednesday; Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa called on local companies to leverage on the abundant mineral resources in Manicaland to contribute towards the provincial and national Gross Domestic Product.

“The restoration of sanity to the much abused alluvial diamond industry will surely spur development in the province. We are anticipating the establishment of a diamond cutting and polishing industry in Manicaland.

“The opening of the Gemmology Centre will see the growth of the diamond sector in the province. Friendly business policies have removed needless tension that was carried over from the land reform programme,” she said.

“Manicaland is a sleeping giant. The leadership of the province – both business and political – will ensure that it will fulfil President Mnangagwa’s desire of maintaining the current peaceful state of affairs. That way we will realise the fruits of the devolution agenda.

“Manicaland will play its role to ensure that the nation becomes a prime exporter and this means more jobs for the people of the province,” said Minister Mutsvangwa. Manica Post


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