Lovemore Zigara, Midlands Correspondent
The Government has moved full throttle to ensure the revival of Shabanie Mashava Mines (SMM) before the end of the year, a Cabinet minister has said.
At least $17 million is needed to revive SMM.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said there was not much work needed to be done towards the revival of SMM.
He said the Government will soon start working on refurbishing the processing plant as well as bringing earth moving equipment to kick start operations.
“The revival of SMM is something to do with the refurbishment of the processing plant as well as acquiring earth moving equipment and then operations will resume.
“I have given projections before and they have not come out the way we expected and so I don’t want to give projections now but I want you to know that before the end of the year SMM should be up and running,” he said.
The revival of SMM has stalled since 2015 due to a myriad of challenges.
Then Government had sought to recapitalise SMM by channelling part of equipment secured under the $100 million loan facility by XCMG to the asbestos miner as well as courting a Belarus mining equipment manufacturer and supplier.
However, modalities on the disbursement of the $100 million facility are yet to be finalised resulting in the dragging of the revival plans of the asbestos mine.
Earlier that year negotiations between Government and unnamed South African and Russian banks for a financial bailout to resuscitate SMM had collapsed.
At one time, Shabanie Mine in Zvishavane and Gaths’ Mine in Mashava were the world’s sixth largest asbestos-producing entities, with annual output exceeding 140 000 tonnes.
At its peak, the asbestos producing giant employed 5 000 workers. It is estimated that close to 200 downstream and upstream industries benefited from the full-scale operations of the mines, then.