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Mnangagwa in Bulawayo for Mine Entra

by Staff reporter
21 Jul 2022 at 06:39hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa arrived in Bulawayo last night ahead of today's official opening of the 25th edition of the Mining, Engineering and Transport (Mine Entra) at the ZITF exhibition centre.

The President, who was accompanied by officials from his office, landed at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport aboard an Air Zimbabwe plane shortly before 8pm.

He was welcomed by Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, Zanu-PF provincial chairman Jabulani Sibanda, the party's Politburo member Tshinga Dube and service chiefs, among other high ranking Government officials.

President Mnangagwa briefly interacted with hundreds of Zanu-PF supporters, students from the National University of Science and Technology (Nust) and United College of Education (UCE), who were part of the crowd that welcomed him.

"You were waiting for me this long and I am very touched. We were very busy. First we went to inspect our magnificent Parliament in Harare, which has been completed and is now fully furnished," he said drawing a thunderous applause from the cheerful crowd.

The President said in April 2018, he was invited to travel to China during which President Xi Jinping asked him to provide him with four projects, which he would make a political decision on.

"Because I was a Speaker of Parliament before, I knew that our current Parliament was small, so I suggested to him to give us a grant to build Parliament and he agreed.

"So, he has built us the most beautiful, magnificent Parliament on the African continent," he said.

President Mnangagwa shared with the crowd that he also officiated at the ground-breaking and launch of a Cyber Smart City.

"This year in March, I went to Dubai Expo and I addressed a business forum after which a group of a dozen billionaires invited me privately because they were impressed by our policy of Zimbabwe is Open for Business," he said.

The President said after addressing the businesspeople, they agreed to come to Zimbabwe and scout for opportunities.

"In April they came and were very happy with the environment in Zimbabwe. So, one group has decided to build a smart city and this is the one we launched today. It will have the tallest building in Africa with hotels, restaurants, apartments and it will be a state-of-the-art city, a city of the future," he said.

"We all know that we are going digital and this is going to be the first city in our region. I told them that I want a city better than Dubai because they are the people who built Dubai. So, they are going to build a city that is equal or better than what they built in Dubai."

He said the investors had also undertaken to build state-of-the-art medical services in Zimbabwe.

"Beyond that they are also going to modernise Harare and Bulawayo and they were here in the country and took pictures. They are working on how they can uplift and upgrade our two cities."

Meanwhile, there is high expectation as President Mnangagwa is set to meet exhibitors at the Mine Entra with both local and foreign participants expressing excitement over the return of the expo after a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19.

The specialised exhibition is being held at the Zimbabwe International Exhibition Centre and exhibitors are convinced this year's expo presents an enabling platform to network, create synergies and expand operations.

The silver jubilee edition runs under the theme: "Explore. Extract. Expand — Towards Sustainable Mining Value Chains" and ends tomorrow.

President Mnangagwa is the guest of honour and is set to interact with the industry leaders and potential investors as well as deliver the keynote address during the official opening ceremony today.

The premier gathering of mining, engineering, transport and construction industry stakeholders provides a platform to engage in productive discussions for the creation of an enabling environment for the growth and development of the mining industry.

A diverse range of products and services are being exhibited such as earth moving equipment, fire-fighting equipment, security systems, protective clothing, financial services and automotive engineering.

Yesterday was a hive of activity as many exhibitors engaged in business to business meetings at various stands, an indication that firm business deals would be clinched.

Popular stands in terms of people flocking in included the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority pavilion, Fidelity Printers and Refiners, Pro Plastic, Redan, several laboratories, just to mention a few.

In separate interviews, a cross-section of local and foreign participants said the exhibition theme feeds into their expectations and prospects of the sector.

They said they have been able to reconnect with old clients and establish new links, which, if followed through, could strengthen their synergies.

Nashy Mining Components marketing and sales officer, Mr Felix Simbi, said as a first-time exhibitor they have been overwhelmed with the number of inquiries for their services.

"This is our first time to exhibit and it gives us exposure to the market. We are confident that it's in line with the theme, ‘Explore. Extract. Expand' we will achieve that," he said.

"We have been getting a lot of inquiries about our product offer. We do re-conditioning of engines for mining equipment and supply spares.

"Judging by the high level of inquiries we have been getting, we are confident that our scope of business will be widened. We have firm business promises from several major mining firms, which are exhibiting here," said Mr Simbi.

A representative from a Bulawayo-based firm- Sultan Bolts, Ms Sithabile Tshuma, said they were inundated by inquiries for their various range of protective clothing, bearings and v-belts.

"We had been looking forward to Mine Entra for a long time. We exhibited in 2019 and got good business exposure and then Covid-19 struck," she said.

"It's a great opportunity to meet new clients and create opportunities for our growth. Mine Entra does provide that platform to connect with potential investors. Already we have met people who are into shipping, so we can build on that contact and make it easy for us to bring our products from outside the country."

Scot-Mec marketing and sales officer, Mr Johan Chabata, said they manufacture protective clothing and high-energy food powders for miners and their key challenge is sourcing raw materials.

He said during today's interface with Government officials, they hope to get solutions on sourcing raw materials.

"With the resumption of Mine Entra, we are looking forward to getting solutions on how we can procure raw materials locally. We import several components, therefore tomorrow (today) we hope to present our issues through relevant structures to relevant authorities," said Mr Chabata who is exhibiting for the sixth time.

Pump and Steel Supplies operations manager, Mr Solomon Mukombe, said the exhibition further cements their position and commitment to contributing to the growth of the mining sector.

"We have high expectations for this year's exhibition as we have several mining houses here. We have an assortment of mining equipment on offer and we are well positioned to move with current mining trends," he said.

"The exhibition is quite promising as it is a good mix of established and emerging firms and other players in the mining value chain.

"As a Bulawayo firm, we have taken probably the largest space to remove the myth that Bulawayo is ‘dead' and show that the city is productive and on the rise."

Barloworld Equipment, an international earthmoving supply group that recently said it is buoyed by the country's bright prospects and would, from October this year, set up shop in the country to expand and market its dealership with Caterpillar, is also exhibiting.

Its representative, Ms Nduvho Ramovha, said the firm is keen on expanding to the local market and the exhibition presents that opportunity.

"We are excited that the economy is on the recovery path, the exhibition presents a platform for networking and an opportunity to engage with potential customers and suppliers.

"We are introducing Barloworld Equipment to Zimbabwe and we are looking forward to growing and establishing ourselves in Zimbabwe," she said.

Throughout its existence, Mine Entra has successfully introduced new suppliers, ideas, technologies, services and products to an ever-increasing number of Zimbabwean mining operators.

The mining industry is one of Zimbabwe's economic mainstays with the sector contributing about 70 percent of the country's foreign currency earnings.

Performance Laboratories managing director, Mr Kiran Desai, said as a first time exhibitor, the showcase is bigger than he had expected it to be.

He said as a mineral sampling entity, he anticipates a lot of networking opportunities from both established and small-scale miners.

"My top priority is to meet with miners, especially small-scale ones to give them exposure to mineral sample testing, which is paramount in mining.

"Another key expectation from Mine Entra is to get support from big miners to ensure sustainability in the country," he said.

Source - The Herald
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