Japanese giant eyes Zimbabwe mining sector

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Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) is eyeing a multimillion dollar deal to fund exploration in mineral rich Zimbabwe.

Officials from JOGMEC met with Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando at the just ended African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa to conclude negotiations that had been underway for a while, insiders told the Business Weekly.

The two parties are set to sign a memorandum of understanding that is expected to guide implementation of the project, seen unlocking tremendous value from Zimbabwe’s mineral wealth and giving the Japanese firm access to the southern African country’s extractive resources, by April.

“Subject to due processes, we expect to sign the MoU by end of March,” said a JOGMEC official who asked not to be named.

JOGMEC boasts sophisticated exploration technology and offers equity capital and liability guarantees to Japanese firms undertaking exploration.

Zimbabwe and nine or so other African countries are expected to benefit from exploration activities worth billions from the Japanese firm.

The country is in need of exploration to ascertain the occurrence of its minerals and their potential value. Lack of proper exploration data has hampered planning for Government and investment into the country’s extractive sector.

The diamond industry, particularly Marange diamonds have been at the centre of controversy after companies invested and operated in the area for a few years before claiming to have run out of resource.

This also comes amid fears billions of dollars worth of the precious stones were looted.

Japan depends on imports for most of its supply of minerals and JOGMEC has been conducting activities to secure a stable supply of resources for Japan.

The Asian country has set eyes on natural resources such as oil, natural gas, metals, coal and geothermic resources as it pursues a more affluent lifestyle.

The bulk of these minerals are along the Great Dyke, a layered intrusion of igneous, metal-bearing rock that has been dated to approximately 2.5 billion years in age.

Zimbabwe’s share of exploration budgets in Africa is only 1,1 percent while Zambia has a 3,9 percent share. Botswana has 3,1 percent while South Africa and DRC have 8 percent and 13,1 percent respectively. A total 242 companies have a budget of $1.09b for exploration in Africa.

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