Call to refine copper slime dumps
Mash West Bureau
FORMER Mhangura Copper Mine workers and mining experts have called for the refining of copper slime dumps to boost economic activity and inject life into the defunct mining town.
Reclamation of the dumps has potential to create direct and indirect employment for hundreds of people in Mhangura town who were laid off following the closure of the mine nearly two decades ago.
A former mill superintendent Mr Frazer Nyakachanga said it was economical to refine slime dumps surrounding the western part of the town as a way of getting quick electronic conducting mineral.
“The slime dumps contain large quantities of copper in them,” he said. “Before Government considers underground mining, it can start by establishing a refining plant.
“The plant will be used to refine the copper slimes first, which will help to improve the economic activities and make the town tick in no time.”
Mr Nyakachanga said there was need to assess the slimes and ascertain the level at which high quality of copper content can be found.
Former chief surveyor Mr Musa Timbe said it was economical and easy to get investors to refine the copper slimes before considering extracting what is underground.
“The slimes are low hanging fruits, which are only waiting to be refined,” he said. “What is only needed is a refining plant because when the mine closed at the dawn of the new millennium it was evident that quantities of the mineral were deteriorating.”
Mr Timbe said any consideration of underground mining should factor in the state of the shafts, which he said were potential death traps.
A former carpentry foreman at Mhangura Copper Mine said: “During our days we used to import thick timber beams, which were used as supporting structures underground. So, looking at all the factors, it is costly and dangerous to consider underground mining at the moment.”
Steel beams are not suitable for underground copper mining activities as they are corroded with copper. There are also reports that huge quantities of copper were however, left in the earth supporting structures in the underground shafts.
However, rising water levels are said to be further complicating any intentions of reviving the mine.
The mine in among several other mines being managed by Government through ZMDC.