Mining growth triggers demand for skilled human capital
Human capital development has been viewed as key to fully complement the regrowth of the mining sector as government has undertaken to avail new investors and reopening of closed mines.
The mining sector has seen a new trajectory following the assumption of the country’s helm by President Emerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa with the mining sector having realised a boom following the 12billion mining industry by 2023 proclamation.
The gold sub-sector has been leading the pack while other minerals such as platinum, chrome, coal, nickel and lithium have also shown solid growth.
The Chronicle reported that gold deliveries to Fidelity Gold Refiners in the seven months to July 2022 grew by nearly 50 percent to 18, 94 tons sustaining an upward trajectory in the year in comparison to 12,8 tons delivered in the same period in 2021.
The resuscitation of big companies like How Mine, Caledonia Plc and Hwange also gives a clear testimony that there is growth in the mining sector. Zimplats has also accelerated its inclusive socio-economic growth through its inclusive local enterprise development spending to US$552,5 million on local procurement, which represents 31 percent from last year’s US$423 million as published by the Chronicle.
Also, the value addition and beneficiation of minerals have seen investors grabbing new opportunities, which have seen the recent launch of the US$1bn Dinson Iron and Steel company in Chirumhanzu, Midlands Province Chronicle also highlighted.
Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister, Polite Kambamura, who was in Bulawayo last Friday to officiate during the Zimbabwe School of Mines (ZSM) 28th graduation ceremony, said the strategic role of the mining sector growth to overall national economic development demands scaling up human capital development as a critical enabler the Chronicle reported.
He said the ZSM, as a specialised mining skills training institution, should play its part in producing qualified personnel that would grab the growing opportunities in the sector the Chronicle reported.
“With new investments in the mining sector leading to the opening of new mines, expansion of existing mines as well as re-opening of dormant mines, the mining sector is anticipating an increase in human capital need,” he said.
“The mining sector has been on the growth path, rising from US$2,7 billion in 2017 to US$5,2 billion in 2021. This is despite the challenges that were faced by the sector, which was exacerbated by Covid-19.” He further emphasised.
Deputy Minister Kambamura’s sentiments come at a time when the mining sector is already pursuing an ambitious target of realising US$12 billion earnings by 2023, whose roadmap was officially launched by President Mnangagwa in 2019 the Chronicle reported.
The Second Republic is also pushing for value addition of the country’s natural resources including precious minerals for the country to benefit more from its resources and ZSM is expected to play a leading role and respond by providing skills, particularly in the emerging minerals such as lithium and others being mined in Zimbabwe the Chronicle emphasised.
According to the Chronicle, the mining sector is critical in generating foreign currency, contributing about 70 percent of the country’s forex earnings, according to official estimates.
The Chronicle emphasised that, Deputy Minister Kambamura said human capital development agenda is one of the critical pillars for mining sector development towards the US$12 billion milestone and ultimately attainment of the national vision of Zimbabwe becoming an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
According to the Chronicle this year’s graduation ceremony was held under the theme: “Skilled Practitioners for Attainment of the US$12 billion Mining Industry by 2023”.
A total of 180 students graduated at ZSM with 32 percent being females. Deputy Minister Kambamura said this year’s numbers demonstrate that more women are entering into the mining sector, which was previously dominated by men reported The Chronicle