Monday, June 27, 2022

Whites know better than us – ED admits

…”Bikita Minerals failed to ensure meaningful development”

Brighton Chiseva

BIKITA – President Emmerson Mnangagwa has admitted that whites know Zimbabwe’s resources better, saying that was the reason they still wanted to control Zimbabwe.
Mnangagwa was speaking at the ground breaking ceremony of the Sinomine Resource Group’s Bikita Minerals Spodumene project in Bikita.
“You see why the whites bother us, it’s because we didn’t know, the whites know what we have but we don’t know it,” said Mnangagwa.
He went on to mock the local traditional leaders saying they have been sitting on advanced mineral deposits without knowledge and Bikita Minerals has been mining for 70 years without developing the local area.
“You have been staying here for years without knowing you are sitting on top of precious resources while you were busy hunting rabbits while Bikita Minerals was mining but doing nothing to develop this area.
“When I was coming here, I saw poor houses, the areas have seen no meaningful development for the past 70 years Bikita Minerals has been operating here,” he added.
He however said he had told the new Chinese investors that they should develop the area well and pay workers as well as building good houses for them.
“I have told these people that as they work and the company grows, they should help you, construct roads, schools, clinics and even provide water. They should pay workers well, build decent houses for them, as well as giving locals first preference when recruiting employees.
“We welcome Sinomine resource group in our beautiful and peaceful Zimbabwe, the company is welcomed by government, by the Chiefs of this area, work well with the locals and Chiefs of the area, China and Zimbabwe are good friends,” said Mnangagwa.
He said government has a policy which stipulates that each investment company should make sure to have a beneficiation plant within two years of operation to so that the country fully benefits from the resources.
“After two years, if I forget Vice President Chiwenga please remind me so that we come back and see if they have done it. Any company which fails to do that will have to surrender its produce to those with the beneficiation plant,” he said.
He went on to say the government was keen to avoid the Marange situation where companies looted diamonds while government wasn’t aware only to realize it later.
“We don’t want a repeat of the Chiadzwa situation where companies were siphoning diamonds out in form of soil and we mocked them for looting it without knowing they were diamonds,” he added.
The Chinese are operating a number of mines in Zimbabwe and have been accused of not developing local areas while many accuse them of being the new colonial master.

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