ZIMBABWE will by the end of the century be producing about 10 percent of the world's annual platinum production, the Australian conglomerate Delta Gold, said yesterday.
The chairman Mr Peter Vanderspuy, in a statement to shareholders, said Zimbabwe had vast platinum resources which should result in the establishment of a platinum production industry in the country.
Delta Gold is currently investing in the $1,8 billion joint venture project with another Australian company, BHP Minerals, in the Hartley Platinum Mine near Harare, which Mr Vanderspuy said would be the single largest mine in the world outside South Africa.
The mine, which will create employment for 2 500 people, is expected to be commissioned in 1997.
Mr Vanderspuy said his company had confidence in the Hartley mine and was already considering investing in another platinum project adjacent to Hartley, in which Zimbabwean company, Rio Tinto Zimbabwe, owns 76 percent shareholding.
"With Hartley platinum now in construction and with the vast platinum resources available, I forecast the establishment of a platinum-production industry in Zimbabwe by the end of the century that should see Delta shareholders participating in the production of 10 percent or more of total world annual platinum production, with Delta's share in excess of 300 000 ounces of platinum a year, or the equivalent if we take account of the other metals to be won," he said.
- The newly-established Mimosa Platinum Mine, about 30km west of Zvishavane, is negotiating for the establishment of a home-ownership scheme for its estimated 1 600 employees.
Project consultant for Mimosa mine, Mr Keith Griffiths, said in an interview yesterday that the mine, which was currently doing trial mining, needed 150 high-density plots and 50 medium-density plots within the next six months.
They want them in the town.
"We are thinking of starting developing a home-ownership scheme for our workers now so that when the mine is fully operational, our workers will have a decent place to stay," he said.
A feasibility study which had been carried out early in 1994 indicated that the mine had potential to produce three million tonnes of ore a year. The Mimosa mine venture -- which was expected to produce platinum, palladium, modium, nickel, copper and gold -- was expected to earn $300 million a year in foreign currency.
Mimosa Mine, which operated in the early 1960s, closed down in 1978 and is likely to start operating fully in early January 1995. -- Ziana.
LESSONS FOR TODAY
- The inception of the multi-billion-dollar project has seen Zimbabwe being ranked among the top five platinum producing countries in the world, that include South Africa, USA, Russia and Canada. This is over and above the other rich minerals resources the country is endowed with.
- Mining and agriculture are major pillars of the Zimbabwean economy, which need huge capital injection from well-meaning local and foreign investors. Prudent policies that ensure everyone benefits from such investments will result in the attainment of Vision 2030.
- Project development is not an event, but a process. Critics of the mega deals signed in the past few years can learn from the development of the platinum projects.
- A motivated human resource component is ideal in achieving set goals. The first critical thing the platinum giant put in place was staff housing.
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