HomeBusinessGovt set to resuscitate Gaths Mine

Govt set to resuscitate Gaths Mine

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Government is negotiating for a $50 million deal to resuscitate Gaths Mine, Mines and Mining Development minister, Walter Chidakwa, has said.

BY VENERANDA LANGA

Mines minister Walter Chidakwa
Mines minister Walter Chidakwa

Gaths Mine is a unit of Shabani Mashaba Mine, which was wrested from businessman Mutumwa Mawere on the basis that it was indebted to the State.

Responding to a question in the Senate on government’s plans to resuscitate SMM, Chidakwa said the move to bring back to life includes resuscitation of earth moving equipment and the plant at Gaths Mine, which had a capacity to produce 80 000 tonnes of asbestos fibre at its peak.

“On equipment we included a Bill for earthmoving equipment and so there will be some money for that small-scale facility, and we are negotiating for $50 million and I will be finalising the details with the ministry of Finance next (this) week,” he said.

Chidakwa was responding to a question by Midlands senator, Lillian Timveous, who had asked the minister to explain government’s plans of resuscitating Gaths Mine.

“It has not been a good road because of the anti-asbestos lobby, but we have reached a stage where we want to resuscitate it,” Chidakwa said.

He told Senate that Cabinet had rejected a number of proposals submitted by SMM judicial manager, Afaras Gwaradzimba, for the resuscitation of the company.

“We have received various proposals from the judicial manager as to how he saw resuscitation of the mine, but we said no to a lot of proposals. However, we did agree to a situation where SMM will reduce some of its structures into revival of Gaths Mine. There are several things that we need to happen. The plant needs to be refurbished and equipment,” he said.

Chidakwa said the mine was letting some of its buildings to the Midlands State University in order to provide liquidity to the mine.

On asbestos, he said there had been a strong lobby against it, but it had recently softened, with a meeting in Geneva recently offering a reprieve to the ban of asbestos.

“We will be able to establish a market of 50 000 tonnes per year in India and another 10 000 tonnes which goes to Turnall. From a marketing point of view, when SMM closed it was at 80 000 tonnes, but we will be able to start at 60 000 tonnes,” Chidakwa said.

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