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Mnangagwa to commission two small mines

by Staff reporter
10 Apr 2024 at 05:59hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa will commission two new mines this week - Pickstone Peerless' underground gold mine project in Chegutu today, and Kamativi Lithium Mine near Hwange in Matabeleland North on Friday.

Pickstone Peerless Mine invested about US$27 million into the second phase of the underground mine, having already commissioned the first phase for US$22 million earlier this year.

The huge underground mine at Pickstone replaces the open pit mine, which is coming to the end of its lifespan, but with an expanded workforce and increased production.

On Friday, President Mnangagwa heads to Kamativi near Hwange to commission the reopening of the mine, which was reduced to a ghost town following the closure of its tin mining operations in 1994, resulting in the loss of jobs for about 3 000 people.

It is reopening as a lithium mine, processing the mine dumps as well as opening new operations, but using much of the infrastructure abandoned when the tin mine closed.

Capitalising on renewed investor interest under the Second Republic and targeted lithium exploration spurred by the fast-growing lithium battery industry, Kamativi has emerged as a major lithium mine.

In an interview yesterday, Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister Polite Kambamura said commissioning of Pickstone Peerless underground mine was consistent with the Government's thrust to pursue expansion of existing mines, while the Kamativi mine dovetailed with the Second Republic's objective of re-opening closed mines.

"The commissioning of Pickstone mine by His Excellency tomorrow (today) is testimony to his vision to expand existing mines. It was operating and the resource was almost depleted. They had to go back underground where they did exploration work and all the preparatory work and they are now ready for commissioning. They did not lay off employees, but instead have actually taken up more workers," said Deputy Minister Kambamura.

With regards to Kamativi, Deputy Minister Kambamura said its resuscitation was in line with a directive that President Mnangagwa gave in 2018 to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to ensure that closed mines were reopened.

"In 2018 we were given a directive by His Excellency, the President, to move with pillars of the Transitional Stabilisation Programme to open new mines, expand existing mines as well as resuscitate those that had been closed. With Kamativi, which had been closed, we found a new investor and after he got title, he did exploration works and they are now ready to go, they have employed locals," he said.

Commissioning of the two mines is a show of confidence in the Government's investment policy, particularly the ease of doing business.

Pickstone mine is 120km southwest of Harare and 20km south-southeast of the town of Chegutu.

Kamativi mining town had become a ghost town after the closure of the tin mine in 1994 and its reopening is expected to revolutionise economic life in the area and its surroundings.

The disused mine's tailings dump has also been found to contain significant lithium ores, prompting renewed business interest and activity related to lithium that the new owners are exploring.

Geological surveys suggest that Kamativi has higher lithium deposits and a mix of minerals such as tantalite, beryl, copper, beryllium, value spodumene, pearlite, and limestone that could be economically exploited outside of tin.

Source - The Herald