UNDP announces plans to setup $6million mining technology hub in Zambia


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) says plans are underway to establish a Mining Technology (MinTech) hub in Zambia, with an investment exceeding US$6 million.

The state-of-the-art facility would serve as a centre for innovation and collaboration in the mining sector, according to UNDP Regional Director for Africa, Ahunna Eziakonwa.

Eziakonwa was speaking on the side-lines on the Timbuktoo Retreat Strategy which was held at Vergenoegd Low Estate Cape town, South Africa on Monday.

She stated that the facility would be established with a focus on leveraging technology to improve sustainability, efficiency and safety in mining operations.

“Zambia was initially not included on the countries to benefit from the investment but that it was after meeting President Hakainde Hichilema over a month ago that a decision was made to extend the initiative to Zambia,” Eziakonwa said.

She stated that President Hichilema’s commitment towards making Zambia an industrial hub, and the potential the country has in mining changed UNDP’s course of action.

Eziakonwa added that this was important to the growth of the mining sector not only in Zambia, but on the continent as a whole.

“Zambia was initially not on the list but that meeting with the President changed the story because we were able to see that Zambia was actually ready to become part of this club because of the capacity that we see in the mining sector,” she revealed.

Eziakonwa said this was also as a result of the potential and the opportunity for Zambia to become a Centre of Excellence for Africa to really understand how to get more value out of its mineral resources.

“We are talking about critical minerals that will power electric vehicles and decarbonise the future. That is why UNDP decided that we would promote the idea of Zambia becoming part of the team,” she stated.

Eziakonwa noted that hub needed some infrastructure and that the UNDP was working with partners to support investing in the construction and the equipment that were required for the hub to take off.

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She said UNDP would front a lot of technical capacities that were needed, bring in equipment and hoped that the private sector, particularly those in the mining sector, would come on board.

Technology and Science Minister, Felix Mutati, said the establishment of a MinTech hub in Zambia was in line with the government’s policy on promoting value addition.

“We are the major producers of a variety of minerals but specifically copper. Our policy has always been value addition to the minerals we produce and we want to take that value addition to produce EV batteries and that requires technology and research,” he stated.

Mutati noted that the MinTech hub would create solutions in the mining sector that would enhance productivity and help the country realise its full benefits from its rich mineral resource.

Meanwhile, former Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, said Zambia had shown tremendous leadership in the mining sector and that the establishment of a mining hub would leverage existing investments in the sector.

“This presents a huge opportunity to Zambian young innovators to service the mining sector,” Osinbajo said.

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