The Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe (CoMZ) has welcomed the launch of state of the art airborne geophysical survey by Duration Gold Limited as a positive development to boost gold output by the mining company.
Duration Gold Limited, which runs among other entities Vumbachikwe Mine in Gwanda, the Athens project, an (advanced) exploration project in Mvuma and the Gaika Project an (advanced) exploration project in Kwekwe, has announced the launch of an exciting, large scale, exploration programme.
“Roping in world leader Xcalibur Airborne Geophysical Surveys from South Africa, the programme will culminate in the nation having a better appreciation of its mineral potential.
“With a state of the art and modern approach to airborne geophysical surveying, the radiometric and magnetic survey will be the second largest such endeavour of its kind, following another such project conducted in the 1980’s. However, the “game changer” this time will be the use of modern, cutting edge, technologies, which shall make the results much more comprehensive,” it said.
In a telephone interview, CoMZ chief executive officer Isaac Kwesu said: “It’s a positive development that Duration Gold has made. There have been sentiments that Zimbabwe is under-developed and the latest development by Duration is a step in the right direction. As a country with such technology, we need to identify new resources and also increase the economic life of the existing mines and this will ultimately see the minerals’ contribution to economic growth and development.”
Kwesu said exploration is a risk initiative and the Government should consider incentivising companies undertaking exploration activities so that the untapped mineral resources can be identified and mined.
“Exploration is a risk initiative which requires Government support by incentivising the exploration projects, that will make exploration which is a risk undertaking more attractive to companies to embark on,” he said.
The survey dovetails with the call by President Mnangagwa for investment in mining to partner the nation with a view to creating a multi-billion-dollar mining industry as the nation heads to middle-income status as per the President’s vision.
Exploration, at the apex of pre-mining activities, therefore becomes a key enabling investment which would help achieve this President-led national dream.
“The project is a “grass roots” multi commodity exploration initiative which has already started flying but which we wish to officially launch at the start of next month. We hope the Government will take a leading role in our launch as this is essentially a nation benefitting project which should be led by the flag for the benefit of Zimbabwe,” said Duration Gold managing director Allan Dolan.
“The Duration Gold and partners led, Xcalibur Airborne Geophysical Surveys Limited flown, survey will fly some 46 000 line kilometres (the equivalent of crossing Zimbabwe’s 852 km length 54 times) and cover some 8 000 square kilometres of ground. The data gathering component alone expected to take over 4 months to complete, thus representing one of the largest of its kind to be flown in Zimbabwe.”, he added
It also unequivocally confirms Zimbabwe’s prospectivity and potential for new large-scale mineral discoveries at a time when the country is seeing surging growth in mining as well as added interest from international investors in the sector.
Dolan said armed with new, state-of-the art, data gathered from surveys like the existing one being conducted by Duration Gold through Xcalibur, mining and exploration companies can assess their ground as quickly as possible and relinquish land to government while they focus their high-risk capital exploring anomalies that have potential.
Basically, an anomaly being an area that shows potential to hold targeted minerals that can justify expending further exploration capital in the hopes of discovering a mineral deposit.
The addition of cutting edge data to a nation’s existing geological “infrastructure”, or data base, is also a good investment tool for the Government as it helps to attract new exploration spend.
Once the “pump is primed” with new data a virtuous cycle is created.
More data attracts more exploration investment, both foreign and local, which continuously confirms the potential of a country for new discoveries and hence more exploration.
“With each turn of the cycle new data is added, and new discoveries are made, thus building an even more solid commitment to further investment by existing and new foreign direct investors as they appreciate the sizable potential the country holds by way of mineral resources.
“While the misconception may be that the results of exploration are a magic box of knowledge for those who conduct it, it in fact spells out the beginning of the exploration and mining process. Much more investment, hard work and tireless dedication is called for to ensure that the knowledge gathered at the beginning results in the discovery of a mineral deposit that must then be confirmed to be economically viable before actual mining commences.
“Only then can the host country and its committed investors expect a return on their investment. Airborne surveys, likened to “modern prospecting for minerals” is therefore an inevitable and important first step in a demanding, long and winding road to discovery but all the same a necessary first step for nations and investors.
“We are extremely humbled to be the company coming in to do this much-needed exercise, in what should help put the country firmly on the road to achieving the national targets as espoused by the Government in mining. Airborne surveys such as ours, hopefully inspiring many more, are a key cog in the development wheel heading towards that crucial middle income economy status,” said Dolan.