Zimbabwean minerals sector may attract up to $16bn worth of investments once a more favourable business environment has been established, prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai said.

Mining has emerged as a major source of income for the country following the demise of the commercial agriculture industry, Reuters reports.

“This government, in conjunction with the mining industry, has a window of opportunity to prepare a conducive policy environment by mid-2010,” Tsvangirai said.

“That could see Zimbabwe’s mineral sector attracting between $6bn and $16bn in exploration and mine development investment during the 2011-2018 period.”

The investment could help boost Zimbabwe’s annual gross domestic product by $3bn, Tsvangirai told delegates at a mining conference in Harare.

Key to attracting investors will be the implementation of the Mines and Minerals Act by the end of the year and the establishment of a competitive tax environment from foreign investors.

Tsvangirai said that multilateral investment guarantees were needed to ensure a healthy investment environment, the news service said.

“The introduction of a multi-currency financial policy within Zimbabwe has provided much needed stability, such that investors and Zimbabweans alike can plan and operate with confidence and this policy will remain for the foreseeable future,” Tsvangirai said.