By Thembelani Moyo,
ZiMining News Editor
Entrepreneurial success is a clever animal, rarely exposing itself, always quick to flee should it sense danger of being caught. Success is so unique and so challenging, yet in all this, by hosting a business opportunities seminar, two skills development organisations are bent on proving that success is not a rare, wild animal that is hard to track down and hunt.
EntreVision, in partnership with Core Miners Association (CMA), on 25 January 2020, will host a Business Opportunities in Mining Seminar, in Zimbabwe’s second capital, Bulawayo. The seminar will be at the Zimbabwe School of Mines.
Cannie Saurombe, president of CMA, explained their partnership with EntreVision:
“EntreVision has its objectives which compliment those of CMA, and vice-versa. EntreVision represents young entrepreneurs in the broadest sense; CMA represents young technical miners…It is important to note that the event is not just open for EntreVision and CMA participants only, but any other interested party is welcome.”
More than 500 active and aspiring miners, entrepreneurs, stakeholders and students are expected to participate in the seminar..
The seminar will run under the theme, ‘Creating a Foundation for Young Entrepreneurial Growth Through Opportunity Awareness.’
“The theme was decided upon after realising that local (Bulawayo) ,young, entrepreneurs are not active in the mining industry… So, we saw the need of revealing the opportunities in the industry.” said founder, and president of EntreVision, Denzel Chimene.
While reports indicate that many small businesses collapse before their fifth anniversary, business ventures could be the solution to Zimbabwe’s high unemployment rate. Zimbabwe’s official unemployment statistics, however, are hard to pin down as varying figures are always tossed around.
“The foundation of any entrepreneurial venture lies in an idea. Ideas come from opportunities. Disclosing opportunities in the mining industry comes as an encouragement to young entrepreneurs to go for the industry, and support the 2023 vision (of a US$12 billion mining industry),” said Chimene.
The organisers of the seminar said there are a number of business opportunities in the mining industry that participants can learn about.
“There is a vast of business opportunities in the mining industry. Mining is technically a value chain. There has to be chemical, equipment suppliers, transport and logistics, and consultancy services, etc,” said Saurombe.
Chimene believes the 2023 target of a $12 billion mining industry could be a Sisyphean task to achieve if the industry imports most of its consumables, and the supply chain is left unchecked.
“Most mining consumables are imported from countries such as China (cyanide) and Australia (leach acid), etc. We are (ranked) amongst the most literate nations, but where are we applying the literacy when we are still an importing nation? Entrepreneurs have to build and sustain a local supply chain,” thundered Chimene.
Consultancy, modern technology and digitisation, also present opportunities for entrepreneurs .
“The world is inevitably going digital, and so is the mining industry. The role of consultancy, digitisation, and technological transformation is never to be underestimated… There is need for entrepreneurs to go for the above mentioned sectors, which will result in more efficient operations of both Artisanal and Small-scale Miners (ASM) and Large Scale Mining Activities (LSM),” added Chimene.
Chimene urged entrepreneurs to collaborate to research, and be involved in mineral beneficiation. Currently, chrome and lithium are exported semi processed.
“During the period January-July, 2019, 64% of exports were minerals. 56% of the mining exports were semi- processed (ore and concentrates). This highlights that we are still a long way to go… To ensure we meet the 2023 vision, mineral beneficiation is a necessity…,” he said.
Zimbabwe still remains largely under explored, an opportunity aspiring entrepreneurs can consider pursuing. A business as a licensed gold buyer, buying gold from small-scale miners, could also be a lucrative venture for would be entrepreneurs.
Despite vast opportunities being available in the mining industry, there are stumbling blocks that have seen some of them not being taken up.
A pessimistic attitude towards mining, a lack of empowerment, and disunity are said to be some of the reasons why business opportunities in the mining industry are still not fully taken advantage of.
The past few years have seen the ASM surpassing the LSM in gold production delivered to Fidelity Printers and Refineries (FPR), however, the ASM have remained informal, without any prospects of growth.
“ASM’s should know mining is a business, and a business has to grow and expand. ASM should focus on growing their firms, rather than being forever being called ASM’s. It requires focus, discipline and unity. Its high time the ASM sector partner up and focus on growth, rather than mining for survival,” lamented Chimene.