HomeBusinessLupane firm in US$5m drilling project

Lupane firm in US$5m drilling project

Staff Writer

THE Ministry of Mines and Mining Development is working with the Lupane Gas Development Company in a drilling concession in Matabeleland worth US$5 million.

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In a statement this week Lupane Gas Development Company chairman Mike Ndudzo said the board had met at the end of February to discuss the issue of the preliminary drilling by private concession holders.

Ndudzo is managing director of the diversified Industrial Development Corporation of Zimbabwe Ltd (IDC).

He said the board had been given the mandate to develop the project feasibility and raise the required resources in a coordinated and accelerated fashion.

The IDC is one of Zimbabwe’s few profit-making parastatals.

It is however earmarked for commercialisation by government in a bid to raise money to boost the fiscus.

“One of the major challenges facing the board is the sourcing of technical and technological partners from friendly source countries and willing global partners,” Ndudzo said. “At present China, Iran and Malaysia are the potential technical and development partners.”

The Zimbabwe government has decided to seek alternative markets such as China, Malaysia and countries in the Far East after having fallen out with the United States and the European Union for poor macroeconomic fundamentals and its political crisis.

The international community now regards the country as a high risk investment destination.

Ndudzo said the preliminary drilling by private concession holders and information on the geological formation in the Ministry of Mines had established the existence of gas at Lupane.

He said the challenge for stakeholders was to establish the existence of mineral reserves.

“This development activity is what is expected to cost a minimum of US$5 million,” Ndudzo said.

He said the Lupane board appointees had already been formalised and included representatives from both the public and private sectors.

Board members are from the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, Zimbabwe Power Corporation, IDC, TA Holdings, Chemplex Corporation, Discovery, and Shangani Energy Exploration.

Ndudzo said as a way of moving the project forward, the Lupane Gas Development Company board agreed to undertake several processes.

He said these included the presentation by local scientific experts, drafting of a programme of activity, contribution of capital and execution of the project.

Ndudzo said given the positioning of the Lupane Gas Project at national level, the board believed that professional execution should drive the process.

In this regard, he said, the board agreed to ensure that the research support group comprising the Scientific and International Research and Development Company (SIRDC), the Mining Research Institute of the University of Zimbabwe, the Geological Survey Deaprtment and the School of Mines were coopted into future meetings and activities.

He said board reports would also be communicated to the interministerial committee charged with formulation of a policy and regulatory framework on exploration and development of gas reserves.

Ndudzo said the board was actively seeking the participation by resident Lupane investors and stakeholders in line with government’s policy of empowerment and ownership by the local community where the reserves are based.

The IDC has various investment deals with the Chinese, Iranians and Malaysians. The Chinese helped with the cement firm in Gweru, the Iranians helped with the collapsed textile firm in Chitungwiza while the Malaysians have helped with the industrial parks.

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