Foreign investors eye SMM

HARARE - Foreign investors are keen on investing in the revival of dormant mines including Shabani-Mashava Mine (SMM), Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa said.

Apart from the Zvishavane-based asbestos producer, he said the financiers have also expressed interest in the Kamativi tin mine in Mhangura.

This comes as government is seeking investors to resuscitate closed mining ventures in a desperate bid to revive the stuttering economy.

Under its economic blue print, ZimAsset, government — which has pinned economic growth hopes on the mining and agricultural sectors — intends to unlock $1,8 trillion in unexploited mineral reserves.

Over the years, a number of mining firms have closed shop due to viability constraints and unconducive international metal prices, among other challenges.

Chidhakwa said the investors were also interested in gold mines across the country, adding their revival would add immense value to mining communities and the economy.

“The resuscitation of Shabani-Mashava Mines will resuscitate Zvishavane. Imagine what a combination of platinum and asbestos will do to the economy and the lives of people in Zvishavane,” he said.

Before suspending operations, SMM produced an estimated 200 000 tonnes of asbestos fibre annually.

At full capacity, the mine employed thousands.

On the other hand Kamativi, rich in tin and tantalite, was closed in 1994 following a crash in tin prices.

At the time, government, which used to bail out the mine, could no longer afford to do so due to the implementation of the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme, which emphasised fiscal discipline.

In August 2001, the administration of Kamativi Mine was handed over to the Hwange Rural District Council by the government-owned Zimbabwe Mining

Development Corporation but the local authority struggled to pay millions of Zimbabwean dollars owed to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply

Authority, the predecessor to Zesa Holdings and some contractors, leading to its closure in 2002.

Sources close to the developments say Mhangura Copper Mine, which closed more than a decade ago, is on the verge of reopening following expression of interest by at least three unnamed investors.

The overtures follow feasibility studies on reclaiming the mining dump which has potential out-put worth over $80 million following the firming of copper prices on the world market in recent years.

The current surge in metal prices on the international market has seen the southern African country making strategic initiatives to resuscitate its closed mines.

Currently, tin is fetching $22 000 per ounce while copper is pegged at $7 200 per metric tonne.

Chidhakwa said government will use every available opportunity to create employment and subsequently improve the lives of people wallowing in poverty.

Comments (3)

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Irrrigation Vs Climate change - 27 February 2014

"Currently tin is fetching $22,000 per ounce" what a loads of lies. Gold is not even $1500 per once so how can tin fetch such a ridiculous price? Daily news articles are not even proof read at all and they full of misstatement of facts these days. It's such a shame.

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Shahriar khan - 18 November 2014

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