Patrick Chitumba, Midlands Bureau
A high level meeting on the possible re-opening of the Shabani-Mashaba Mines (SMM), which were shut down in 2004, has been set for next week.
In an interview, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Fred Moyo said the re-opening of the mines were at an advanced stage.
He said a high powered meeting involving the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe, Government, mine management and former suppliers had been set for Wednesday next week to map a way for the re-opening of the mine.
“We are working flat out to ensure that the Shabani-Mashaba Mines re-open and as such we are going to have a high powered meeting next week,” he said.
“We have called on both local and international buyers, management, local suppliers and MMCZ as the marketer to map a way forward.”
After the meeting, Deputy Minister Moyo said details on the modalities leading to the re-opening of the mine would be made public.
“We are optimistic that after the meeting we will have specific time frames for the re-opening of the mine,” he said.
Last month, he said the Government had engaged an Indian company that was ready to buy 50 000 tonnes of the mine’s produce per year. SMM and Gaths mines were once the world’s sixth largest asbestos producing entities with an annual output of more than 140 000 tonnes.
The fallen mining giant, which was once under judicial management before being taken over by the State-controlled Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, at its peak employed more than 5 000 workers and supported at least 200 downstream industries.
A few years ago, the Government moved in following accusations that the then owner, Mr Mutumwa Mawere, was externalising funds without State approval.
The mining firm has been under judicial management for the past 12 years.
At one time, ex-workers accused management of stripping mine assets.