ZSM is a leading technical mining training institute in the region.
The chief executive officer of the training institute, Dzingirai Tusai, speaking at a graduation ceremony last Friday said: “ZSM is in talks with Sekhukhune FET College of South Africa, Moatize School of Mines (Mozambique) and Lupane State University.
“New partnership initiatives that are on the design stage include Moatize School of Mines in the Tete Province of Mozambique. Exchange visits will start in the first quarter of 2011.”
On new courses, Tusai revealed that from next year the institute would offer a certificate in petroleum geology coal bed methane through distance learning, mine ventilation and mining courses for non mining executives like bankers, accountants, insurers and actuaries.
He urged mining houses to second personnel for the courses.
The introduction of a course on petroleum geology coal bed methane comes at a time when government is planning to invest US$450 million in the development of a coal bed methane gas project in Lupane.
The development of the project with a capacity to produce 300 megawatts of power is expected to take place within the next two years.
According to government’s three-year Macro-economic Policy and Budget Framework covering 2010 to 2012, apart from generating power, the project would also include gas field exploration, construction of a power station and a pipeline.
Over and above the gas output, the coal bed methane project is expected to benefit industry through raw materials to manufacture by-products such as stock-feed, fertilisers and petro-chemicals.
The Lupane coal bed methane gas project was granted national project status by government in 2007, which made it a priority.
The granting of the national project status was expected to pave way for the release of funds to determine if the gas resource in the area was mineable.
The mining school is also offering water tests for various mines, laboratory scale test works on mineral processing techniques, crushing and milling and hiring equipment to mines.
Speaking at the same occasion, the chief executive officer of the Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe Chris Hokonya said due to a critical shortage of skilled mining personnel, the institute should thrive to produce quality graduates “to cater for the needs of the industry”.
Lack of skilled miners, according to Hokonya, is resulting in direct loss of production and lack of exploration capacity to continuously develop mining operations.
“The decline in professional and technical skills was further disguised to some extent by the virtual collapse of the mining industry in 2008 where virtually all mines (with the exception of three) ceased production,” Hokonya said. “But the fortunes of the mining industry have now changed with the new policies implemented after February 2009.”