AFRICAN countries should synchronise trading laws and form value addition clusters in order to reap more from their mineral resources, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has said.
Report by Musa Dube
Speaking in Bulawayo, Mutambara said African countries should desist from exporting minerals to other countries in their raw form, as they were developing those countries’ economies at their expense.
Mutambara called for the Sadc countries to enact similar laws that protect exportation of raw minerals and that support beneficiation.
“It’s important to collectivise our economies, for example, we should have a value addition diamond cluster in Africa. Botswana, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Angola should come together and say we are going to form a diamond cluster which is going to cut and polish the diamond and produce jewellery, definitely we cannot fail,” said Mutambara.
The deputy premier said Western and Eastern countries do not support value addition initiatives in developing countries, hence Africans should take the initiative to do so.
“Our Western and Eastern friends, no matter how we think we are close to those countries, will never help Zimbabwe or Africa to set up an infrastructure for value addition. They know that their companies are benefitting from our raw materials and they cannot destroy their economies by helping us set up companies to process raw materials. So
let’s do it alone,” Mutambara said.
Mutambara’s remarks come at a time there have been calls for beneficiation, especially for diamonds inorder for the country, to get more value.
Zimbabwe sells diamond in its raw form and this has created jobs in countries that do value addition, for instance in India and Israel.
“South Africa is in control of 90% of world platinum and we can form a cluster with them and dictate the rules because we own the minerals. We can then come up with our beneficiation programmes,” said Mutambara.
Recently the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development said platinum producers should set up a refinery in the country and the companies are already working on how the plant should be set up.
Mutambara said Sadc countries should agree on mining rules that protect locals and not investors only.
“There should be a change in laws governing our natural resources. Our mining laws are colonial and apartheid laws that favour the foreign investor,” he said.