Platinum miner, Zimplats is empowering emerging businesses in Mashonaland West of Zimbabwe through engaging them to offer their products and services to the miner.

Currently, about 72% of all Zimplats required materials are sourced locally through engaging small businesses in their supply chain.

This is being done through a three-pronged approach where manufacturers whose businesses have folded, are being helped back on their feet.

It also involves working with small businesses to supply materials such as silica, protective clothing and engineering equipment among other things.

In an interview, Zimplats head of corporate affairs, Busi Chindove said they are working with several small companies in the province. According to Chindove, some of them have been helped to grow and can now operate on their own.

“We committed ourselves from 2008 to work with local suppliers and our board gave us a target of having 60% of all our materials sourced locally. We managed to meet the target in 2013. Currently we are now at 72%. We said we cannot flourish while other small companies are struggling,” she said.

Chindove said the target now is to have some of the products manufactured locally rather than being imported. She said Zimpats is working with more than ten companies with some of them comprising women only.

With a 5 000 strong workforce, some of the companies are supplying overalls, dust-coats and gumboots among other things. One of the companies started with just three sewing machines, which have since increased to thirty.

Chindove has asked other mining companies to grow with the communities they operate in.

“If this is replicated, then it means more companies will grow and with it, the economy and the livelihoods of the people,” she said.

Chindove urged small companies who are given contracts to supply materials, to uphold high levels of integrity in meeting quality and agreed time-frames.

 Zimplats is one of a few mining companies that are running a successful Community Share Ownership Scheme, the Mhondoro-Ngezi-Zvimba-Chegutu Community Share Ownership Trust.

The miner has managed to surrender $10 million to the Trust.

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