ZMDC mulls oxide ore mining

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) is considering undertaking feasibility studies to ascertain the viability of open cast oxide ore mining at its Zvishavane-based Sabi Gold Mine at an undisclosed cost.

“The mine also has got oxide ore which can be mined by open pit and is also amenable to heap leaching and we are yet to go through the feasibility studies,” ZMDC’s acting general manager Wilson Chinzou told the Mines and Energy parliamentary portfolio committee last week.

Heap leaching is an industrial mining process to extract precious metals, copper, uranium, and other compounds from ore through a series of chemical reactions that absorb specific minerals and then re-separates them after their division from other earth materials.

This comes as the parastatal is seeking $30 million to resuscitate its gold mining operations.

Chinzou said the company’s priority was Sabi — which is currently technically insolvent and requires $15 million working capital to reach a production capacity of 45kg per month.

Other gold mines owned by the parastatal include Silobela-based Jena Mine, which requires $13 million while Elvington gold mine in Chegutu requires $750 000 in working capital.

“We have been engaging various investors who are willing to partner with ZMDC, and at the moment, we are currently going through interviews with the investors to do due diligence exercises for us to move as quickly as possible to rescue the mines,” he said.

“We have had various expressions of interest, some coming from reputable mines and we have directed them to do scoping studies at Sabi.

“By end of July, we will be able to identify the investor,” added Chinzou. ZMDC’s mines have over the years been heavily weighed down by lack of working capital, creditors, ageing equipment, intermittent power supply, inadequate funding of exploration activities and depressed international gold prices among other constraints.

The acting general manager noted that apart from seeking new investors, the mining firm was embarking on sands retreatment from dumps to recover some gold in order to generate adequate cash flows to fund mining development.

In order to set up the project, ZMDC requires $3 million to start with the floatation plant at Sabi and doing further tests of the dumps.

“The mine has an excess of gold dump resources of 3,6 million tonnes at 0,65 grams per tonne.

“The initial test work on a few samples was carried out to determine the feasibility of recovering gold lost to the tailings at Sabi by floatation,” said Chinzou.

He noted that the laboratory test work through floatation recovery indicated that it exceeded 80 percent to yield the concentrate of above 0,5 grammes per tonne and the retreatment tests will take over a month.

“Production can only start in the fifth month after concluding tests and setting up the floatation plants.

Comments (1)

An interesting article. My organisation comes in on the supply of mining equipment for open cast.How can we find contacts for the successful investors with a view of discussing our products

Promise Moyo - 15 July 2014

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