Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
BULAWAYO businessman Mr Jim Ross Goddard says his company will deliver the best service and render investment value after it won an earth-moving contract running into millions of dollars from Prospect Resources’ Arcadia Lithium Project.
Prospect Resources is an Australia-based company focused on lithium and gold mining and exploration in Southern African countries including Zimbabwe where it has invested in the Arcadia Lithium Project situated some 38 kilometres east of Harare.
In an interview at the company’s offices in Bulawayo, Mr Goddard said his construction and civil engineering firm was recently awarded the Arcadia Lithium Project under an initial one-year contract.
“We are serious and we will put highest level management on site and as a company we will do whatever we have to ensure that at the end of this first year they (Prospect Resources) renew our contract for another five years,” he said.
Mr Goddard said the Arcadia Lithium Project was a developmental programme ranging between 15 and 20 years.
“The fact the Prospect Resources is a First World company, it demands and expects highest standards, which JRG would strive to match with the requirements.
“Clearly Arcadia Lithium wants us to get established on site and open up everything, wants to do initial mining and I am sure they would want to evaluate how we will have performed, how the yields are from the mine and then they will determine whether to extend it (contract) into the second quarter of 2019,” he said.
The Arcadia Lithium project is the largest lithium deposit in Africa comprising 808 000 tonnes of lithium oxide. Prospect Resources also operates Sally Gold Mine and Prestwood Gold Mine, located in Gwanda.
Mr Goddard said their first contract at Arcadia begins this month and requires a total investment of between $10 million $12 million.
In April, Prospect announced that it had set aside at least $25 million to fund the construction of a mine and plant at Arcadia.
“At the end of the first year, there will be an assessment and a determination on whether they will carry on with the mine or carry on with us.
“They are a very progressive company, Australia-based and we have been very impressed with the way they do business. They are very forward thinking,” said Mr Goddard, whose firm employs 1 500 people and has a wage bill of $1,2 million per month.
For the Arcadia Lithium Project, he said they would deploy between 120 and 140 workers on site and earthmoving machinery such as excavators, dump trucks, front-end loaders and bulldozers and the first batch of human resources and machinery were already on site.
Mr Goddard said his organisation continues to employ additional people whenever the need arises, adding that they have in recent years been investing in new capital equipment.
“We are also committed to the advancement of indigenous colleagues within the company, and I am very happy to say that with every year that goes by if you look at the management, it is becoming fully integrated despite gender, race, and tribe from the highest to the lowest levels,” he said.
“The Arcadia Lithium project is very encouraging and we need more and more of this investment in Zimbabwe to fully support the President’s call for investment and to demonstrate that Zimbabwe is truly open for business.
“We are a company that originates from Matabeleland and the fact that we have gone up and got this project from a first world company, highly regarded with excellent credentials is a huge achievement on our part,” said Mr Goddard.
JRG has been in existence for 37 years and has among others worked on a four-year mine re-development project for Zimbabwe’s leading platinum producer, Zimplats.
The firm has also done projects for companies such as Pickstone Peerless Gold Mine in Kadoma, Niarchosos Chrome Mining Company of South Africa with operations along the Great Dyke, Zambezi Gas, Murowa Diamonds, and Old Mutual for its Pumula-Nkulumane housing development projects in Bulawayo.