6 July 2012

Zimbabwe: Two Investors Eye Shabanie, Mashava Mines

The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation on Wednesday said it is engaging two foreign partners willing to inject fresh capital to revive the defunct Shabanie-Mashava Mines (SMM).

SMM, which has been at the centre of a protracted ownership wrangle between former owner Mr Mutumwa Mawere and the Government, is now owned by the ZMDC.

Before it was transferred to ZMDC, SMM was under judicial management for two years.

The company closed in 2008, leaving an estimated 3 000 workers jobless. ZMDC general manager Mr Jerry Ndlovu said the investors were assessing the viability of the project.

"We are working very hard on SMM. We have two suitors on it who are doing their own analysis on the mines," he said.

"By the end of July they should be giving us their report and we will move on from there."

Mr Ndlovu, however, could not divulge the names of the investors who had shown interest in the asbestos mines.

"We hope to reach a conclusion soon as this is a viable project that will transform the fortunes of the mining town," he said.

Before suspending operations, SMM produced an estimated 200 000 tonnes of fibre every year.

SMM, once one of Africa's largest asbestos producers, had access to markets in the U.S., UK, Angola, Nigeria, Zambia, Mozambique, India, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, China and Indonesia.

SMM's mines are near the towns of Zvishavane and Mashava, which degenerated into ghost towns when the miner halted operations.

The miner is reportedly sitting on reserves that can be exploited for the next 20 years.

By assuming ownership over SMM, ZMDC took the responsibility to pay workers who had gone for years without receiving salaries.

The ZMDC is on record saying that at least U.S.$20 million is required to resume operations at the mines.

New Ziana

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