Zimbabwe offers a significant opportunity to pursue modern-day metal discoveries.
Positive reform on several fronts is establishing a more stable operating environment in the country. For the first time this century, international companies have a greater opportunity to invest in the nation’s vast, under-explored mineral wealth.
Kavango is part of the next generation of explorers to pursue this renewed potential. It has cemented its first-mover advantage with the acquisition of the Nara, Hillside, and Leopard gold exploration projects.
Zimbabwe's overlooked potential
Like much of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe is well endowed with minerals. It contains rich deposits of gold, platinum group elements, chrome, nickel, tungsten, antimony, and lithium.
Notably, the country hosts 22 greenstone belts with a long history of gold production across more than 4,000 registered historical high-grade underground mines. These enabled Zimbabwe to produce more gold than Australia right up to the early 1980s.
Historical greenstone gold mines in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe’s historically strong standing as a gold producer diminished later in the 1980s as bulk mining took off elsewhere around the world.
Zimbabwe’s geology appears to Kavango to offer similar bulk mining potential to that of Western Australia. However, its known, continuous deposits have long been covered by numerous, small claim blocks owned by various small parties lacking the capital, knowledge, or unity to allow this style of mining to take place.
This has created a situation where Zimbabwe’s bulk mining potential has been largely unexamined for decades. There are even instances where mines that historically produced more than one million ounces of gold have not been examined since their closure in the 1940s.
This is now changing. Zimbabwe has introduced reforms in recent years that are catalysing major progress in three key areas:
1) Mining reform
- Removal of indigenisation policy, which required local investors to hold a 51% stake in all Zimbabwean mining project activity for all minerals other than diamonds and platinum;
- Improved mining legislation, including the ongoing development of a new mining cadastre system;
- Introduction of tax incentives for exploration and development activities;
- Strengthened environmental and social regulations; and
- Investment in infrastructure, including roads, railways, and power supply, to support mining activities.
2) Economic reform
- Introduction of the Zimbabwe National Development Strategy to guide economic growth and development;
- Implementation of economic and structural reforms to stabilise the macroeconomic environment;
- Partnership with international organisations and donor agencies to provide technical assistance and funding;
- Introduction of social safety nets, including cash transfers and food assistance programmes; and
- Investment in education, health, and social services.
3) Political reform
- Improvement of political freedoms and the opening up of the political space;
- Restoration of relations with the international community;
- Introduction of constitutional reforms to improve the protection of human rights and the rule of law;
- Strengthened institutions judiciary and anti-corruption commissions; and
- Promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women through the adoption of the National Gender Policy and the establishment of a Gender Commission.
As Zimbabwe’s operational backdrop continues to progress, it is opening the door to foreign investors with the resources to consolidate orebodies into single, larger claim packages appropriate for open pit bulk mining.
Kavango is a first-mover in this respect. The Company recently leveraged its contact network and regional expertise to enter the country through its acquisition of the prospective Nara, Hillside, and Leopard gold exploration projects.