HomeNewsShabani Mashaba Mines set to reopen

Shabani Mashaba Mines set to reopen

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PLANS to re-open the Shabani Mashaba Mines (SMM), which were shut down in 2004, were at an advanced stage after the government engaged an Indian company that is ready to buy 50 000 tonnes of the mine’s produce per year, a government official has revealed.

Mines deputy minister Fred Moyo recently confirmed the development, saying a technical report that is being put together by management details financial and technical requirements for SMM’s revival.

He said SMM has completed a report for Mashava’s Gaths Mine, while Shabani’s report is almost complete.

“Management has submitted their report on what is needed to revive Gaths Mine and it is the same report that we are going to use when scouting for potential investors. We are waiting for the Shabani Mine report that is almost complete,” he said.

The push to revamp the mines was triggered by Mines minister Walter Chidhakwa, who told Senate in May that the government had found an asbestos buyer in India, who would buy about 50 000 tonnes per year, which is almost half of the mines’ annual production when in full swing.

SMM, which owns Shabanie Mine in Zvishavane and Gaths Mine in Mashava, was shut down in 2004 following government’s problems with businessman, Mutumwa Mawere, who ran the company at that time.

Some 3 000 workers in Zvishavane and about 1 500 in Mashava lost their jobs due to the closures.

Workers have, however, expressed scepticism over the plans, dismissing it as a Zanu PF vote-buying gimmick.

“We are sceptical about this development. We think it’s a ploy to win votes in 2018. A similar story was floated again by the government just before the 2013 general elections,” a former SMM employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation, said.

Moyo disclosed that he will soon dispatch a probe team to the Mapanzure area of Zvishavane to investigate reports of large companies that are allegedly pushing out small-scale miners from their chrome mineral claims.

“The ministry will task officials to investigate and solve the dispute if there is any,” he said.

There have also been complaints that small-scale miners are being fleeced by private players, who buy their chrome at low prices.

— Mirror

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