Zimbabwe: Hwange Tungsten Operations Deferred to 2022

Senior Reporter

HWANGE-based RHA Tungsten Mine is set to start operations next year and the Government expects the project to widen opportunities and create more jobs for locals.

Although tungsten is not among the major contributors towards the US12 billion mining milestone by 2023, the Government is committed to making sure the over 60 mineral deposits, including newly discovered coal and gas, contribute to economic development and drive the country to an Upper Middle Income economy by 2030.

The mining industry in a key economic enabler that contributes about 20 percent to the gross domestic product (GDP) and is critical to the growth of other sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing.

The Tungsten venture is a partnership between the Government and Premier African Minerals.

Premier holds 49 percent interest in RHA Tungsten Mine while the Government, through the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund (NIEEF), controls the remaining 51 percent.

The NIEEF has in the past year been re-evaluating its ongoing involvement in the project. The mine is located in Dinde, about 20km outside Hwange and will do both open cast and tunnel mining.

In an interview on the sidelines of the recent Chamber of Mines annual conference in Victoria Falls, Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said shareholder discussions were ongoing and the mine was expected to start operations next year.

"There has been lack of activity but it's coming back. Discussions are taking place with shareholders and we expect that by next year it will be up and running as the investor is already there," said Minister Chitando.

Two years ago, Premier African Minerals announced that it had signed an agreement with NIEEF that would see Government advancing $6 million for production to commence at the RHA Tungsten project.

Tungsten mine is relatively small but has very high-grade tungsten occurrence.

Tungsten mining will add to several other mineral exploration activities particularly coal taking place around Hwange.

There is huge capacity on the coal side particularly in Hwange and President Mnangagwa last year visited a number of mines where production work is at various stages.

Dinson Colliery recently started producing 150 000 tonnes per annum and is working on a second battery, which will produce a similar amount of coke while the company has also started civil works for a 1 million tonne per annum coke battery.

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