Mnangagwa And Chiwenga Oversee Signing Of The “Rudd Concession” To Canada’s Caledonia Mining
6 October 2020
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Source: ZBC

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has all but given Caledonia Mining serious exclusive mining rights at its Blanket Mine gold claims in Gwanda.

In a move similar to the historic Rudd Concession of 1888, Mnangagwa as was said by Lobengula then, said the country welcomes the private sector’s involvement in research, exploration, mining, and value addition of the country’s resources.

Mnangagwa when he witnessed together with Vice President Retired General Dr Constantino Chiwenga, the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Caledonia Mining Corporation.

The Rudd Concession, a written concession for exclusive mining rights in Matabeleland, Mashonaland and other adjoining territories in what is today Zimbabwe, was granted by King Lobengula of Matabeleland to Charles Rudd, James Rochfort Maguire and Francis Thompson, three agents acting on behalf of the South African-based politician and businessman Cecil Rhodes, on 30 October 1888.

Despite Lobengula’s retrospective attempts to disavow it, it proved the foundation for the royal charter granted by the United Kingdom to Rhodes’s British South Africa Company in October 1889, and thereafter for the Pioneer Column’s occupation of Mashonaland in 1890, which marked the beginning of white settlement, administration and development in the country that eventually became Rhodesia, named after Rhodes, in 1895.

A major Gwanda goldbelt miner, Caledonia Mining Corporation, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government yesterday so it can boost investment and production in its gold mining and play a leading part in the drive to a US$12 billion mining sector economy by 2023.

President Mnangagwa, speaking at the signing ceremony at State House, said Caledonia’s commitment was testimony that Zimbabwe is a safe investment destination since the coming in of the Second Republic.

He immediately called for the involvement of local communities for the growth of rural industry systems and the achievement of robust provincial gross domestic product, in line with the devolution agenda.

In the MoU, Caledonia declares and affirms its intention to increase gold production in excess of 500 000 ounces, around 15,5 tonnes, by 2030.

“This ceremony is a milestone achievement towards our quest to attain a US$12 billion mining sector economy by 2023. Furthermore, it is indicative of the Caledonia Mining Corporation’s explicit interest to invest in our economy, affirming that Zimbabwe is a safe investment destination,” said Pres Mnangagwa.

Gold is expected to rake in US$4 billion a year, platinum US$3 billion, diamonds US$1 billion, while chrome, iron, steel and coal will contribute US$1 billion. Lithium is expected to contribute US$500 million while other minerals will contribute US$1,5 billion.

President Mnangagwa said the MoU was vital as it defined the responsibilities of each party, while also providing scope of authority, clarifying terms, conditions and outlining compliance issues regarding the proposed mining interventions.

He implored the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and Caledonia to speed up the implementation of the agreement, saying bureaucratic and lethargic tendencies were “a thing of the past”.

“The government is accelerating measures to improve the cost and ease of doing business, with the recent establishment of the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency providing impetus and drive “Zimbabwe is open for Business”.

But President Mnangagwa said as miners carry out their projects, they should be alive to the intricate relationship between the natural environment and development through adoption and use of appropriate mining technologies.

Caledonia has already made considerable capital investments in both underground and surface mining as well as rural infrastructure, in line with the devolution agenda.

The Gwanda-based miner is working on constructing a solar plant that will meet up to 30 percent of its power requirements at its major Blanket Mine.

President Mnangagwa said the solar project was in tandem with Zimbabwe’s thrust for sustainable use of green energy to enhance production and productivity within the broader economic spectrum.

Caledonia is also interested in investing in Government-owned projects, and has pledged to evaluate mining rights and properties.

President Mnangagwa said such expression of interest reflects the private sector’s determination to explore opportunities and partner his administration.

He called on investors in all sectors of the economy to establish partnerships, which propel the national development agenda, “leaving no one behind”.

“Zimbabwe has abundant and diversified mineral endowments, which makes mining a critical sector in the economic development of our great nation. The mining sector continues to immensely contribute to the economic development of the country, contributing more than 60 percent of export receipts and more than 50 percent foreign direct investment into the country,” he said.

The President said he looks forward to the successful implementation of the MoU guided by clear and definite timeframes, with Government ready to support expressed mining interests for the ultimate growth of the mining sector and the economy at large.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga at the same occasion said since President Mnangagwa’s inauguration, he had committed to improving the lives of citizens through creating a conducive investment environment, adding that yesterday’s MoU demonstrated that Zimbabwe was “indeed open for business”.

He called on all stakeholders to work together so that everyone benefits from mines.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, said the MoU was in line with the projected target of 100 tonnes of gold by 2023.

“I would like to recognise that Caledonia Mining Corporation is approaching the end of its US$70 million investment project which result in Blanket Mine’s annual gold production increasing from the current level of 1,7 tonnes to 2,5 tonnes,” he said.

Caledonia CEO Mr Steve Curtis said his company remained committed to investing in Zimbabwe, one of the remaining gold frontiers.

He said they were determined to ensure the health and safety of employees and their families.