THE imminent reopening of Shabanie Mashaba Mines (SMM) will leave Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) with a headache after the institution injected $2 million into renovating the dormant mine’s premises in Mashava where it has a 20-year lease.
GZU renovated several houses for students’ accommodation and offices at its Mashava campus which houses more than a 1 000 students and several staff members in the ghost town, about 40km west of Masvingo city, last year. But barely two years into the 20-year lease, Mines deputy minister Fred Moyo said the mines were likely to commence production before the end of the year.
Moyo, who is also the Zvishavane-Runde MP, told our sister paper Southern Eye last week that his ministry was now awaiting a Cabinet resolution that would see the two mines reopening after years of non-production.
The GZU resorted to the multi-campus system as it was being accommodated by Masvingo Teachers’ College and had resorted to Mashava as well as other buildings in the city centre.
If the lease agreement is reversed, this would leave the university in a quandary.
GZU vice-chancellor Rungano Zvobgo said they were not in panic mode.
“We got a lease after the buildings were lying idle for more than 10 years. We are using the Gaths Mine premises while the mine was left operating the King Mine premises. We will not be affected.
If production resumes, they will use King Mine. Gaths Mine will not be affected,” Zvobgo said yesterday.
SMM stopped production in 2008 due to financial constraints after the government took over the mine from South Africa-based businessman Mutumwa Mawere who was accused of externalising foreign currency.
The mines were placed under the curatorship of Afaras Gwaradzimba and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.