By Nyasha Chingono
GOVERNMENT has intensified its exploration of new minerals and has granted 30 exclusive prospecting licences since November last year, Minister of Mines Winston Chitando has said.
Zimbabwe, which has 40 known mineral deposits, is believed to have more than 100 minerals in the earth’s crust.
The country is using geological data from the 60s, a situation that has not facilitated maximum exploitation of mineral resources in the country.
“The geological maps we have were produced using exploration which was done in the 50s and 60s. Zimbabwe needs to be subjected to modern exploration,” said Chitando.
“But I am happy to say that since the new dispensation there has been a number of exclusive prospecting orders which have been issued to explore fully the mineral wealth in this country,” Chitando told a mining indaba in the capital last week.
He said Zimbabwe was in dire need of new geological data to fully explore its mineral wealth.
“In November last year, we had only three exclusive prospecting (licence) holders, but right now we are at 30 in the past two weeks,” said Chitando.
“We don’t want to exploit what we know already, but we want a clear road map for future generations to update our geological data base,” added Chitando.
Prospecting is the first stage of the geological analysis of a territory. It is the physical search for minerals, fossils, precious metals or mineral specimens, and is also known as fossicking.
Zimbabwe has 30 known copper occurrences with no investor, 70 nickel occurrences with only two investors. There have been by government for investors to explore these minerals.