|Kamativi Tin Mine to reopen|
|Saturday, 09 June 2012 19:57|
Senior Business Reporter
FORMER tin mining giant, Kamativi Tin Mine, will resume operations next month almost two decades after its closure following the conclusion of a deal between the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and a South African company, Burnstone.
Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister, Gift Chimanikire, said the South African mining concern which also has mining interests in the neighbouring country, was expected to get the nod to resume operations within the next six months.Minister Chimanikire held a meeting with the company’s officials last Friday.
Burnstone entered into a joint venture with indigenous Zimbabweans to revive mining operations in Kamativi.
“The company to mine tin at Kamativi made a presentation to the ZMDC and the two organisations’ officials from are going for a diligence tour of the mines in South Africa on 25 to 29 June to ascertain operations there. In three months the company is looking at working on the dumps and in about five to six months they will have produced ore.
“The company said it will be mining five different minerals which include tin, tantalite, mica and lithium in the area and their first employment will start off with 100 to 200 people and will increase to two times that figure within the next six months. They will set a processing plant at the site but in the interim they will be using a lithium processing plant from Botswana and thereafter will increase the size of the plant four times,’’ Minister Chimanikire said.
Kamativi, rich in tin and tantalite deposits, was closed in 1994 following a decline in tin prices. This was, however, after numerous operational problems dating back to the 1990s. Its total collapse was averted in the 1980s through a number of Government bailouts.
“They have also applied for a joint venture which will go towards mining a Special Grant which is held by ZMDC and has estimated reserves of over 100 million tonnes of ore with an estimated lifespan of 50 years.
“The company has also promised to be engaged in a number of substantial programmes for the estimated 2 000 people that are leaving in poverty in the area as well as rehabilitating the mining compound. The company has also promised to forward proceeds from their alluvial mining towards community development,’’ Minister Chimanikire said.
During its days of operation, Kamativi was the biggest underground tin mine in Africa producing some of the best grades of the mineral in the world. From the late 1960s, the mine began facing serious viability problems due to a decline in tin demand on the world market.
However, the mine was closed in 1994 after mining activities became unprofitable owing to falling prices of tin on the world market.
The Government could no longer afford to bail the mine out during the height of the implementation of the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme, which emphasised fiscal discipline.
In August 2001, the administration of Kamativi Mine was handed over to the Hwange Rural District Council by the ZMDC but the local authority struggled to pay millions of Zimbabwean dollars owed to the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority and some contractors, leading to the closure of the mine in 2002.
Tin is used to make solder, ball bearings, mirrors are “silvered’’ with amalgam of tin and mercury, the artificial oxide of tin is used as polishing powder and stannic chloride is used as a mordant in dyeing.