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3 countries revive mining deal

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3 countries revive mining deal

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Zimbabwe, Zambia and South Africa on Saturday signed a communique on the revitalisation of the Pan African Minerals Development Company (PAMDC) in Victoria Falls.

The company, originally set up to exploit mineral concessions held by Rhodesia Railways, had become moribound and was technically bankrupt and had lost through lack of action some of its mineral rights. The agreement is essentially to get the company back into action and working properly.

The communique was signed by Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister Felix Mhona, Zambia Minister of Transport and Logistics Frank Tayali and South Africa Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Samson Gwede Mantashe.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Minister Mhona said: “I am delighted that today, we have taken the business of PAMDC seriously by committing ourselves to a communique which seeks to cure the challenges that the company was facing. This meeting is thus a reaffirmation of a higher-level commitment to the implementation of the PAMDC memorandum of understanding.

“Due to the failure to convene the PAMDC Annual Council of Ministers in the past, review of progress has been hindered, thus, resulting in the retrogressive expiration of previously granted mineral rights without exploration. The communique we have signed today should be the springboard of our actions going forward.

“It is prudent that we resume our annual meetings to give direction and impetus to the PAMDC Board, so that the recently granted mineral rights in Northern Cape Province do not lapse before exploration,” he said.

He said it was not a secret that PAMDC requires an extensive turnaround strategy and business viability plan.

“As it stands, the company is insolvent and runs a risk of eminent liquidation, due to trading under insolvency, which is considered reckless according to the company laws of South Africa.

“Surely, none of our governments are reckless. Thus, this special vehicle called PAMDC should reflect the core values of our governments by upholding the laws relevant to the company,” he said.

Minister Mhona said as a Council of Ministers, they had put their heads together to ensure that PAMDC becomes solvent again and safeguard interests of their countries.

“Going forward, we should, as the Council of Ministers, spearhead resolutions that will embolden the PAMDC Board and management to formulate and execute viable business strategies for the company to declare dividends for the benefit of the three countries and their peoples.

“It is also my humble appeal that we ensure the review of progress implementation through annual and special Council of Ministers meetings as the need arises. We look forward to full constitution of the board of directors of PAMDC, so that they hit the ground running, with the view that they report to the senior officials meeting which will subsequently report to us as Council of Ministers,” he said.

“On the Zimbabwean side, I have personally engaged His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, Cde Dr ED Mnangagwa who has advised that we engage with my Zambian and South African counterparts. Now that the engagement has come true, we must use this opportunity to craft a brilliant policy direction to the PAMDC Board and nurture an enabling environment for the board to do its work.

“I have no doubt that if we move as one, we will achieve the intended goals of PAMDC. I will be grateful that as we go back to our offices, we move with speed to implement what we agreed on today.”

Minister Tayali from Zambia said it was therefore, good to see that in spite of the few setbacks and hurdles that have characterised their partnership around PAMDC in the years gone by, they had all gathered again to witness the revival of the aspirations of the three countries expressed in the Memorandum of Understanding signed by their three governments in 2007.

“You will recall that, PAMDC was created for the purpose of exploiting the mineral assets bequeathed to us by Rhodesia Railways. The incorporation of PAMDC represented our desire to jointly exploit the potential value in these assets for the benefit of our three countries.

“While our partnership in PAMDC might appear remote, its significance can be seen in the way that the tripartite cooperation reflects continent-wide aspirations captured in the African Union Agenda 2063, which among other things, seeks to ‘harness the continental endowments embodied in its people, history, cultures and natural resources, geo-political position to effect equitable and people-centred growth and development’,” he said.

This partnership in PAMDC mirrored the aspirations of SADC whose founding objectives include “the forging of links to create genuine and equitable regional integration”.

“It is critical to further note that in fact much of the SADC founding efforts were aimed at achieving integration among the Southern African states. Furthermore, SADC aims at achieving functional cooperation which would bring benefits in its own rights, foster an experience of working together and create a sense of regional identity; all of which would underpin a programme of progressive integration.

“We need to turn PAMDC into a more result-oriented enterprise rather than just appending of signatures to a document. To demonstrate our commitment for the success of PAMDC, we need to aspire for this company to become significant entity to the lives of our people in the three countries,” he said.

Minister Tayali said Zambia believed in unity and reiterated that they are stronger and better together.

“While each of our three countries can pursue its own agenda away from the others, there are significant synergies that we can all achieve and benefit from working together. It is true to say that each of our countries has its own strengths and opportunities.

“Thus, we can all meet at the same table and introduce value and capacity that when marshalled together will demonstrate the truth of the philosopher Aristotle’s words that ‘the sum of the whole is greater than the sum of the individual parts’. This is what PAMDC represents. The sum of our total combined and integrated effort is greater than the sum of our efforts separately,” he said.

He said the communique that they signed was both a milestone and achievement as well as a new lease of life into PAMDC. Herald.

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