Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter—
The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) is seeking partners to invest in the revamping of operations of some of its mines that produce gold, graphite and emerald, including a joint venture for the production of coal-bed methane gas in the north-west of the country.Government has prioritised the revival of ZMDC operations to boost its contribution to the revival of the economy through employment creation and foreign currency generation. Most ZMDC mines are operating way below capacity, while others have ceased operations altogether.
Mines where the parastatal is seeking partners include Jena and Elvington Gold Mines in Silobela and Chegutu, Lynx Graphite Mine in Karoi, Sandawana Emerald, Tantalite and Lithium project near Zvishavane and development of a coal-bed methane joint venture at its two special grants that straddle Lupane, Gokwe and Binga.
ZMDC yesterday invited companies to submit bids to enter into partnership in the projects and set February 19 as the deadline for the submission. At its peak, Elvington Mine used to produce 45kg of gold per month, while Jena Mine produced around 25kg.
“Interested parties are invited to express interest in partnering ZMDC in exploration, development, mining and processing of gold from one or both of these undercapitalised mines,” said the firm. For coal-bed methane, ZMDC said it would want organisations that could assist in value addition.
“ZMDC would like to engage reputable companies to partner it in exploration, development, mining, processing and beneficiation of coal-bed methane in one or both of these special grants,” it said. Zimbabwe has vast reserves of coal and methane in the north west that if exploited can drastically reduce the country’s energy deficit. At its Sandawana Mine, ZMDC said there was potential to mine several minerals.
“Sandawana hosts part of the Mweza Greenstone Belt,” it said. “The Sandawana Mine Lease has great potential covering emeralds, gold, tantalite, iron ore, silver, niobium, lithium, chrome, tine and slate.”
ZMDC said geological and feasibility reports were available for the perusal of potential partners at its Lynx Graphite Project. “The ZMDC owns the Lynx Graphite Mine on 570ha claims, 55km north west of Karoi in Mashonaland West province and is currently on care and maintenance. Geological reports, feasibility reports and business plans are available,” it said.
ZMDC has been facing viability problems that have resulted in it failing to make any significant contributions to the economy. It has stakes in 15 mines whose interests range from gold, platinum, tin, copper, asbestos, uranium, among others.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando could not be reached for comment, while Permanent Secretary Munesu Munodawafa referred questions to ZMDC acting general manager Mr Luke Akino whose phone went unanswered.