African Mining Network

AMN was established to develop and build relationships across Africa’s mining community, and give the world a preview of what is happening in mining in Africa.

AMN - Words of advice from afar can go a long way – comment by Yolanda Torrisi

Yol headshot May 2011

Mature mining jurisdictions have a lot to offer African countries such as Zimbabwe who are hoping to grow and stimulate their mining industries. It will do no harm for these countries to seek assistance from far away countries like Canada, Germany and Australia to further develop the continent’s resource sectors with a little help.

Australian companies have been extending a hand to Zimbabwe in recent times, hoping to help the country turnaround its resource industry through renewed investment to encourage development.

The country’s Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando spoke to potential investors in Western Australia’s capital city of Perth earlier this month and confirmed Australian companies are keen to put about US$500 million into Zimbabwe’s mining industry sectors in the coming years.

Chitando says changes to Zimbabwe’s Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act have once more allowed for full foreign ownership of projects, bar the more protected sectors of diamond and platinum mining.

But foreign-owned or controlled mining projects aren’t the only way to accept a lending hand.

Expertise can be a powerful and sensible way to leverage the lessons learned in industrialised nations.

Drawing on consultants, visiting researchers and professionals sent in to explore is a just way for African countries to build on the expertise found outside the continent.

Zimbabwe’s Vision 2030 concept of an Upper Middle Income economy is bold and ambitious. With a little help from all parties, the country could track a long way in 11 years.

As the nation transitions from a low-income economy, Zimbabwe is thinking about removing its platinum equity ownership law hurdles. More hurdles to graze down could be the country’s diamond sector protections.

When structural hurdles such as ownership limitations are removed it allows for an inflow of expertise, a flood of investment and the joys of discovery.

New discoveries help build an economy on a cornerstone of hope.

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has argued a speed-up of tax law reforms could help bring in money to boost the mining industry.

Energy minister Fortune Chasi has acknowledged international mining representatives could also hold a key to solving the country’s power crisis. Power, of course, is critical to industry success.

Chasi says by working together with the industry, the parties could come up with organisational structures that can allow the country to ensure it has predictable and certain power.

One way to do this is for foreign miners to pay in their foreign currencies to guarantee supply. It’s a smart way forward and one that could help cushion the economy from currency fluctuation.

Power on and power up.

Countries on the continent can flourish and grow if they take a lending hand from mining sectors keen to help. It’s time to enhance our mining industries by enlisting support. The well-meaning supporters certainly have a lot to offer.

- Yolanda Torrisi is Chairperson of The African Mining Network and comments on African mining issues and the growing global interest in the continent. Contact: