Zim worst place for mining, says survey

Itai Mushekwe


ZIMBABWE has been ranked the worst place in the world to invest in mining, an international survey released last week reveals.

The survey, carried out by the Fraser Institute of Canada to gauge the attractiveness of mining policies from 64 ju

risdictions, ranks Zimbabwe’s mining policies as the most skewed anywhere.

According to the institute’s annual mining companies survey, Zimbabwe has the lowest Policy Potential Index score — 2,4 out of 100 — in the survey’s history.

The Policy Potential Index serves as a report card to governments on how attractive their policies are from the point of view of an exploration manager.

“Zimbabwe continues to set new records,” reads the survey. “Its last place score of 7,6 last year was the lowest score recorded in the last four years. This year Zimbabwe’s score fell to 2,4, the lowest in the survey’s history.”
Other jurisdictions with index scores below 20 include Papua New Guinea which scored 12 points, DRC Congo (13) and Venezuela (13).

High-flyers judged to have the most attractive policies are Nevada in the US, which has maintained pole position for the past six years with a 93,1 index score this year.

Completing the top 10 jurisdictions said to have the best mining policies are Alberta, Manitoba, Chile, Quebec, Mexico, Saskatchewan, Arizona, Ontario, and Utah.

The survey release comes hard on the heels of Mines minister, Amos Midzi’s announcement that cabinet had approved amendments to mining legislation to allow government to seize a 51% controlling stake in foreign-owned mines, thus casting the sector into uncertainty.

According to the survey, a jurisdiction that ranks first in every category would have a score of 100, while the one scoring last in every category would have a score of 0. Since no nation scored first in all categories or last in all, the highest score is 93,1 garnered by Nevada, while the lowest score is 2,4 scooped by Zimbabwe.

Efforts to contact Midzi yesterday proved fruitless as his cellphone went unanswered.

Independent economist John Robertson yesterday said the Policy Potential Index would have been lower had the institute factored in the latest mining policy proposals by government.

Robertson added that the index score in the survey would discourage foreign investment, leaving the sector enfeebled.

“The index is going to discourage investors to Zimbabwe,” said Robertson. “If the proposed policy changes sail through, government tax revenue will dwindle while export earnings are likely to plummet. The proposed amendments are a direct threat to employment as they will precipitate massive job cuts.”