ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes: Natural Resources:Resource Exploitation, Importance of mining
Growth of industries
- Mining helps industries to grow by providing raw materials to industries
- Many industries obtain their raw materials from the mining sector.
- For example, building and construction industries get some of their raw materials from processed asbestos and iron ore.
- Heavy engineering firms obtain iron and steel from the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company.
- Mining creates employment directly and indirectly. Mining operations with limited technology tend to be labour intensive.
- Indirectly, many people are employed by companies which are involved in processing and beneficiation of minerals.
- In the mining industry beneficiation or benefication, is any process that improves (benefits) the economic value of the ore by removing the gangue minerals, which results in a higher grade product (concentrate) and a waste stream (tailings).
Development of multi-ethnic communities
- Mining has always depended on foreign workers from Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.
Improvement in the standards of living of the miners and their dependents.
- Mining companies also provide basic social services for the miners such as education, health and recreation. These services also benefit people from the surrounding communities.
Human resources development
- Apart from the direct investments in education through setting up of schools, mining companies support tertiary education through the provision of scholarships and setting up of specialist schools such as the School of Mines in Bulawayo.
Foreign currency earnings
- The main foreign currency earners for Zimbabwe are gold, asbestos, chrome and platinum. Mines are markets for other sectors of the economy for example engineering firms and agriculture.
- Development of infrastructure such as water supply and transport networks has benefited other sectors of economy for example, agriculture and industries.
- Growth of towns and cities for example Kwekwe, Kadoma, Hwange and Mashava have also developed as a result of mining.
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