Zimbabwe to maximise on oil discovery

President Mnangagwa

Wallace Ruzvidzo-Herald Reporter

Zimbabweans will be the primary beneficiaries of the recent oil and gas discoveries in Muzarabani and to this end, the Second Republic is in the process of establishing mechanisms to ensure the country derives maximum value from its mineral wealth, President Mnangagwa has said.

This follows the recent confirmation of gas, light oil, condensate and helium deposits by Geo Associates last month.

The discovered oil falls under the light oil classification and will see Zimbabwe producing diesel, petrol and jet A1, thus cutting the country’s petroleum import bill.

In an interview with “Brick by Brick” magazine, President Mnangagwa said now that the oil and gas deposits had been confirmed, the country was moving towards putting in place measures to guarantee value addition and beneficiation.

“We must find a method or a mechanism of making sure we benefit from the oil reserves. We don’t have the technology nor the skills, nor the global capital to exploit and process the oil. We must find a way of doing it to the maximum benefit of Zimbabwe.

“We understand that we are endowed with vast reserves of oil. That is the point number one. Point number two is, before we discovered that we had oil, we had not planned for them in terms of how to extract the oil and process it.

“Now that we have been told by experts that we have vast reserves of oil, we must say what do we do to ensure that this resource benefits our country first. Now we know we have the vast oil reserves,” he said.

Asked if Zimbabwe would use its vast in-demand mineral wealth as a weapon as some Western countries are wont to do, the President said Zimbabwe “is not part of the scheme”.

“What I am saying is that the position that Zimbabwe has taken is advantageous to Zimbabwe. The minerals are ours and we said to ourselves, what maximum benefit can we drive from our minerals? The simple logic is that we must beneficiate the minerals to maximum value. That is our point of view.

“That there are other people planning to attack us, we are not part of their scheme. Our scheme is to beneficiate them and benefit our country,” said the President, adding: “What other people are planning about our minerals, we are not involved in their planning against us.”

Zimbabwe, said President Mnangagwa, did not want any conflicts around its natural resources, instead, all that the country wants is to derive maximum benefit from its mineral wealth.

“At the domestic level, whatever minerals we have, Government policy is for us to get maximum benefit from the domestic minerals which we have. At the international level, there are, as you are saying yourself, people who are saying there are strategic minerals and they will do everything they can to get them, including causing war.

“We, who have those minerals, have not said we want a war. No. All our minerals in our country, at domestic level, which we have, we would want to have maximum benefit from those resources which we have.

“By maximum benefit we mean we do our best to beneficiate those minerals so that we get maximum value,” he said.

President Mnangagwa is on record saying African countries should assert ownership of their natural resource endowments and always take a firm stance when negotiating with foreigners seeking to invest in their nations to ensure they derive maximum benefit.

To that end, Zimbabwe has implemented a policy banning the exportation of unbeneficiated minerals, which aims to boost domestic processing and derive greater value from its natural resources.

Consequently, export of unbeneficiated base mineral ore without written permission from the Government has been banned.

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