Zvamaida Murwira, Harare Bureau
Government plans to raise funds to resuscitate Shabanie and Mashaba Mine (SMM) in Zvishavane from the sale of reprocessed dump, which is expected to result in the immediate employment of 350 workers.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said this in Parliament on Wednesday during a question and answer session.
De-watering of the asbestos mine, Minister Chitando said, would be completed before the end of the year.
Zvishavane-Ngezi MP Cde John Holder (Zanu-PF) had requested for an update on the reopening of SMM, which was closed about five years ago owing to viability challenges.
“Firstly, I would like to probably recap on what has been happening on Shabanie Mine in the sense that the reopening of Shabanie Mine has largely been hampered by lack of capital,” said Minister Chitando.
“There is some activity happening in the area, which is two-fold. Firstly, Mr Speaker Sir, there is, in progress now, de-watering of the mine in Mashaba, which I am sure honourable members would know has been flooded for a while.
“That de-watering process is under way as we talk now, and we expect that the mine will be de-watered by December.
“At the same time, Mr Speaker Sir, we have recognised that to partly address issues relating to funding of the mine, we have identified reprocessing of one of the dumps as a low-hanging fruit.
“As we talk now, we do have about 50 people at the dump, mobilising to start the reprocessing of the dump, which should commence by May this year, wherein we expect to have 150 people, peaking at 350, to reprocess that dump.
“The whole game plan being that the funds that will be raised from the reprocessing of that dump will then be used to reopen Mashaba Mine.”
Minister Chitando noted that Government had not yet found an investor for SMM.
“The mine falls under ZMDC at the moment, so what is happening is Government is working together with the administrator and ZMDC on plans to ensure that the mine or some of the operations get back to generating employment and revenue for the country,” he said.
Masvingo Central MP Dr Daniel Shumba (Zanu-PF) asked if issues of ownership had been addressed before dealing with the resuscitation, considering that businessman Mr Mutumwa Mawere used to run SMM before Government took over after it felt that the firm was exposed.
Dr Shumba asked if the firm would be returned to Mr Mawere whose African Resources Limited used to run the mine.
“Mr Speaker Sir, there is an administrator who is taking charge of the day-to-day operations of the company; and in line with trying to revive the economy, the plans have been put in place to get back some of the operations into a generative stage so as to generate employment and revenue for the country,” said Minister Chitando.