Conrad Mupesa Mashonaland West Bureau
A NEW mining technique to address Muriel Mine’s receding gold levels through extracting the metal from slime dumps has the potential to boost the company revenue and contribute towards the attainment of a US$12 billion economy by 2023.
The Zvimba-based Pan African Mining’s (PAM) Pvt Ltd operating mine is expected to boost its monthly production quadruple fold to 75 kilogrammes for four-and-a-half years by extracting gold from slime dumps accumulated from close to a century of mining.
The Muriel Dump Retreatment Project, sitting on a 50-hectare area, is expected to pump life into one of the country’s oldest mines thereby increasing employment prospects for hundreds of youths from the area in line with the country’s Vision 2030.
Speaking at the mine on Friday where he toured the highly rewarding project, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando was upbeat about the project.
“The mine started operating in the 1930s and produced for a long period of time where they accumulated huge tailing dumps. They are currently processing ore coming from open cast area where they are producing 10kg a month, but what is most important is that they are installing a dump re-treatment plant which will be producing 60kg a month for four-and-a-half years.
“Their current workforce at the new plant is at 150 and an additional of 500 is also expected. We hope by the end of the four years, they would have development areas where they are doing explorations,” he said.
“It is this additional 60kg and 500 employment opportunities created that is very good for our economy.”
The investment by the mine to establish a dump re-treatment plant and related infrastructure is being developed by a Chinese contractor and is expected to be commissioned by the end of this year.
Mine manager, Engineer Thompson Muteza, and project manager, Mr Lewis Munyoro gave insight into the project during a high-level appreciation tour of the project by mines and a ministerial team.
“We have put up a system which will enable us to rely more on dump re-treatment including four bow mills that will be processing 3 000 tonnes of ore per day,” said Engineer Muteza.
Mr Munyoro said 10 leach tanks will have the capacity to handle of 9 000m3 of gold leach.
PAM’s chief operating officer, Mr Robert Zindona hinted that with the current workmanship displayed by the contractor and local workforce, commissioning of the environmentally friendly plant is expected to be done on December 24 this year.
Minister of State for Mashonaland West Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka and Zvimba North legislator, Marian Chombo who accompanied Minister Chitando commented on the positive development, saying the projected monthly targets must see the company ploughing back into the community.
“The 60kg monthly investment will do a lot for the province. It will play a significant role in achieving our goals. The mine should go back to the community to develop social services infrastructure,” said Minister Mliswa-Chikoka.
Cde Chombo said while the mine had been playing its corporate social responsibility roles including drilling boreholes and maintaining roads other mines should also follow suit.