HARARE – Asbestos miner, Shabanie-Mashava Mines (SMM) Holdings says it is looking for a partner, with technical and financial capacity to construct a plant to re-process dumps at its two mothballed mines.
Before closure in 2004, SMM used to operate Zvishavane and Gaths Mine in Mashava producing in excess of 150 000 tonnes of chrysotile fibre, which is used to make asbestos. At peak, both mines employed up to 6 000 workers.
“Over these active production years, the two mines accumulated over 143 million metric tonnes of tailings in a total of 49 tailings dumps located at both mines,” the company said in a notice inviting bids from interested companies.
“SMM is accordingly seeking a partner with both technical know-how and financial capacity to construct and commission a suitable plant for purposes of extracting the contained economic minerals.”
The company said previous sampling work had shown that the dumps also contained other minerals including magnesium, chrome, gold, copper and nickel.
“The expression of interest may be for some or all of the 49 tailings dumps,” it said.
Early this month, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said the dumps would be re-processed to raise part funding required for re-opening of the asbestos mines. Currently, he said, a de-watering process of flooded shafts in Mashava was being carried out and would be completed by December.
“The whole game plan being that the funds which will be raised from the re-processing of that dump will then be used to re-open Mashava mine when we finish de-watering in December this year,” he said then. – New Ziana