SMM scouts for partners

Minister Winston Chitando

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


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