A black granite mining concern, Yangshen Mining Company, has committed to set up a granite cutting and polishing factory in Mashonaland East province.
The setting up of the factory is in line with Government strategy to maximise on mineral value addition before exports.
The Chinese company has been mining the black granite in Mutawatawa area for the past two years and has been hugely impressed by the quality of rock being recovered.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando, toured the mine yesterday in the company of Mashonaland East Provincial Affairs Minister Apolonia Munzverengwi on a familiarisation visit.
Speaking after the tour, Minister Chitando said local beneficiation will see black granite exports surging from less than US$100 million currently to over US$500 million annually.
“The whole black granite industry in Zimbabwe, we have provided that it should generate in excess of US$500 million by the year 2023,” said Minister Chitando.
“As directed by His Excellency, the President, we would like to see investment into cutting and polishing and in a decentralised manner, we don’t want the factory to be set up in Harare.
“What we have seen here is a very good black granite rock, very good ore body and also the technology to extract it from the ground is very good and modern,” he said.
Yangshen Mine manager Simbarashe Makozi, said the miner stands to benefit more if it beneficiates locally.
He said the mining concern expects the factory to be up and running in six months.
“We are aware of Government’s drive to beneficiate locally and we are ready to set up the factory,” said Mr Makozi.
“We are looking forward to have the factory up and running in about six months. In terms of profits it will also save us well because it will severely reduce our transport costs and we stand to get more money from selling finished products,” he said.
Meanwhile, the miner has suspended operations so that it can comply with its own Environmental Impact Assessment in consultation with the Environmental Management Agency (EMA).
Operations are, however, expected to resume next week.
Many granite mining companies have been transporting the rock to Harare and shipped to overseas market in its raw state.
Besides suffering financial prejudice there has been serious infrastructure decay as the huge overloaded trucks damaged the country’s roads given that there is no railway line linking Harare and Mutoko.