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HomeMiningMining Community Welcomes Reassignment of Minister Chitando to Mines Ministry

Mining Community Welcomes Reassignment of Minister Chitando to Mines Ministry

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By ZiMining Editorial Team

THE recent reassignment of Honourable Winston Chitando as Minister of Mines and Mining Development has been met with widespread optimism and high expectations from Zimbabwe’s mining sector.

Seen as a seasoned technocrat with a firm grasp of the industry, Chitando’s return is viewed as a catalyst to drive further growth and progress.

Background

Chitando, who previously served as Minister of Mines from 2018 to 2020, was reappointed to the post by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in April 2024.

He replaced Minister Soda Zhemu, who transitioned to become Minister of Housing and Social Amenities.

During his prior tenure, Chitando helped oversee an expansion of the mining sector from around $3.7 billion in 2017 to $5.8 billion in 2023, according to government figures.

He was a leading champion of the “12 Billion Mining Economy” vision that aims to grow mining output to that revenue target.

Here’s what stakeholders had to say.

Industry Reaction

Garikayi Chimhina, a former executive with the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and Zimbabwe Smelting Company, welcomed Chitando’s reappointment.

“Chitando’s re-assignment is a welcome move as it brings the seasoned technocrat to a sector he knows extremely well,” said Chimhina, now Human Resources Manager at Arcelik Corelectric Zimbabwe.

“His milestone journey needs him at the helm to realise that vision… If he achieved such growth previously, we are hopeful he will take the sector even further.”

Expectations for Second Term

• Empower ministry to ensure zero workplace mining deaths through stronger safety oversight

• Crack down on corruption among ministry officials to restore professionalism

• Retain skilled personnel to drive mineral beneficiation and maximise economic benefits 

• Open more communication channels with all stakeholders – CSOs, miners associations, environmental groups, etc.

• Revisit and potentially update the “12 Billion Mining Economy” targets and roadmap

Artisanal Miner Perspective

Derek from the Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners Association praised Chitando’s previous work streamlining approval processes, but cautioned:

“He should take input from all stakeholders this term… The government needs to remove obstacles in getting mining titles after pegging and ease export permit rules to curb smuggling.”

Legislative Priorities

Cream Tamangira, a small-scale miner, highlighted the need to finally update the antiquated Mines and Minerals Act:

“It has been too long waiting for amendments to this law so we can fully benefit from our resources. Some big companies hold vast claims for speculative purposes currently allowed under the old rules.”

Here is the section with more paragraph breaks for improved web readability:

More Stakeholder Input

The Peggers Association of Zimbabwe also weighed in on Chitando’s reappointment, offering a more measured perspective.

“We welcome the reassignment of Honourable Minister Chitando, provided he aptly does his job in consultation and consensus with all stakeholders concerned,” said Samson Dzingwe, president of the association.

The group praised Chitando’s previous efforts to streamline processes, but emphasised the need for broader engagement this term, especially around the long-awaited amendments to the Mines and Minerals Act.

Key Concerns:

  • Avoid blanketing the country with new speculative mining claims that block artisanal miners’ access
  • Ensure the Mines and Minerals Bill 2022 doesn’t rush through Parliament without addressing all stakeholder concerns
  • Adhere to the adverse 2023 parliamentary report highlighting constitutional violations in the draft bill
  • Consult deeply on digital mining cadastre system and ensure harmonisation across government agencies
  • Don’t disempower artisanal and small-scale miners through the new legislation 
  • Maintain transparency, accountability and good governance in any new rules

“The 12 Billion Mining Economy vision was not attained previously,” Dzingwe added.

“This time, Minister Chitando must truly listen to what the mining industry has been saying all along.”

While still hopeful overall, the Peggers Association called for comprehensive consultations to finally update the outdated mining laws in a way that balances all interests fairly.

With a full slate of legislative, regulatory and economic targets, Chitando will have his work cut out for him in this second stint atop the mining ministry.

But mining community leaders seem aligned that his experienced hand and bold vision are just what’s needed to usher the sector into a new era of growth and prosperity.

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