BULAWAYO — Preparations for this year’s edition of the Mining, Engineering and Transport Expo (MINE ENTRA) hosted by the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) Company in Bulawayo are on course, with nearly 60 percent of available exhibition space now taken.
The exhibition comes at a time when a number of gold and chrome mining companies continue to face viability challenges, while key minerals such as platinum and diamonds continue to record a decline in output.
The total value of minerals fell from a peak of US$2,2 billion in 2012 to U$1,9 billion in mining to total exports fell from 57 percent in 2012 to 53 percent in 2014.
The 20th edition of the specialised jamboree, to be held next month, will run under the theme “Unearthing Opportunities,” which organisers have described as a rallying statement challenging the inter-dependent sectors to uncover and take advantage of the potential, opportunities and growth prospects in the region’s mining industry and its related sectors.
“Preparations for this year’s show are progressing well and almost 60 percent of available space has been reserved compared with 39 percent at this time last year,” ZITF general manager, Nomathemba Ndlovu, said.
“Foreign enquiries have been received from South Africa and China, while online business visitor registration is open and the MINE ENTRA 2015 mobile app is also ready for download.”
This year’s edition of MINE ENTRA will reflect on how far the Zimbabwean mining sector has come and how well equipped it is to take growth and success to the next level.
“Over the years, the MINE ENTRA exhibitor profile has expanded to include more sectors such as building and construction which was introduced in the 2013 edition, having seen that building and construction equipment exhibits were a prominent feature of the past few editions,” said Ndlovu.
“It is our expectation that as more community share ownership scheme initiatives come into being under the economic empowerment regulations, we are going to see more infrastructural development occurring in mining communities and so the presence of infrastructure equipment and expertise suppliers this year and in future shows will be more pronounced.”
Ndlovu said the year 2015 marks a significant milestone in the history of the country’s largest mining engineering and transport exhibition.
The inaugural MINE ENTRA was held in 1996 against the background of a booming economy and a flourishing mining industry, contributing approximately 43 percent of Zimbabwe’s total foreign currency earnings.
The showcase’s mandate was to offer an ideal regional forum for mining, engineering and transportation companies to spotlight their latest products, technology and cost-efficiency developments to a fast-growing industry.
The exhibitor profile has consisted of specialised companies supplying exploration, extraction, and processing or beneficiation machinery and training requirements for the mining sector, as well as suppliers of equipment and machinery relating to the engineering and transport of mining resources.
One of the major highlights of the exhibition includes the MINE ENTRA conference, which is traditionally held on the first day of the event, tackling issues to do with current policy initiatives.
“This year will be no different as we want to use the platform to deliberate on the Zimbabwean mining sector’s progress with regards the topical issues of value addition and beneficiation, what the challenges and recommendations are,” said Ndlovu.
2010 saw the addition of the Joint Producers and Suppliers Conference to the diary of events aimed at providing a discussion forum to the mines as well as downstream and upstream industries in the mining value chain on current opportunities and constraints.
“Last year also saw the introduction of a Small-scale and Artisanal Miners Conference; this year we will be working with the organisers to grow this conference and make it an effective platform for this section of the mining community,” she said.