Zimbabwe to take mining to next level

This follows the sinking of a US$40 million investment by state-run Zimbabwe Mining Development Company (ZMDC) into the development of mineral claims that were acquired by the corporation. ZMDC acquired an unspecified number of claims along Zimbabwe’s mineral rich Great Dyke and minerals expected to be mined along the mineral-laden mountain range will be gold, chrome, nickel and copper ores. ZMDC chief executive officer, Dominic Mubayiwa revealed the company had entered into numerous joint ventures and strategic partnerships with foreign mining companies from Russia, China, India and Iran. A Russian company, the Centre for Business Development, is in the process of finalising a joint venture with ZMDC to fully explore chrome claims, while Chinese based NORINCO is interested in a joint venture to extract nickel claims. Indian and Iranian investors have made bids for copper projects as the country intensifies its bids to lure foreign capital and expertise to improve productive efficiency in the sector. In addition, ZMDC is currently finalising negotiations to take acquire four Kwekwe-based gold mines which had been shutdown a couple of years back after the withdrawal of former operator, Homestake. Said Mubayiwa: “The objective is to expand the ZMDC portfolio and we continue pursuing other opportunities.” ZMDC is joined by Metallon Gold Zimbabwe (MGZ), which announced plans to increase mining output in Zimbabwe by embarking on a multi-billion dollar expansion project. MGZ is owned by Metallon South Africa, which is in turn owned by South African business mogul, Mzi Khumalo. Platinum mining giant, Impala Platinum (Implats) last year announced that it had plans for its subsidiary, Zimbabwe Platinum (Zimplats) to embark on a US$1 billion expansion project that will see its production increase from 85 000 ounces per year to 150 000 in the short term. Implats plans for Zimplats’ output to peak at 500 000 in the next 12-years, owing to the billion dollar US dollar investment. The South African based Implats owns 86.9-percent of Zimplats. Implats is in the same boat as Anglo Platinum (Angloplats), which has made it abundantly clear that it intends to develop its Ungi Platinum mining project in Zimbabwe. The Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) last week announced that it was seeking to enter into joint ventures with small scale miners to improve mining output in the country. MMCZ announced plans to acquire shareholding in strategic small-scale mining companies ‘ especially those in emerald, nickel, copper, tin and other precious stones with the exception of platinum and gold, which are the preserve of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).

March 2006
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