JAPAN has pledged financial assistance to Zambia in the exploration of oil and gas.
Mines and Natural Resources Minister Wylbur Simuusa disclosed this today in Cape Town, South Africa where he is attending a Mining Indaba conference.
Mr Simuusa said Japan has assured Zambia that the funds were already available to do the exploration.
The Mines Minister was confident that the project once successful would help improve the country’s economy.
Mr Simuusa who has also taken the opportunity to meet several mining companies that are attending the same conference said new technology was required to tap into the minerals that have remained idle for many years.
He said North-western province had a lot of iron deposits but remained under utilised mainly due to lack of power in that part of the country.
Mr Simuusa observed that government had a huge challenge of translating the rich mineral resource that the country has into tangible benefits for the people.
He said it was only the proper management of the mineral resource base that would turn around the economic status of the country.
Mr Simuusa however said with the new technology, government would follow the iron wherever it was.
The minister was speaking when he met a Ghanaian investor of Jonah Capital in Cape Town today.
And Sam Jonah of Jonah Capital said his company had the equipment that was capable of getting the finished product from the iron ore.
Mr Jonah who is also chairman of Jonah Capital said he was the only one who had equipment that was capable of extracting the finished product from the iron deposits.
Mr Simuusa is accompanied by his Permanent Secretary Dr Victor Mutambo and the Chief Mining Engineer Fred Banda.