Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Business Reporter
ONE of the biggest gold mines in the Midlands Province, Sabi Gold Mine has set targets to produce an average of 25 kilogrammes of gold per month with effect from September with management expecting to have taken full control of operations which are sometimes being disturbed by rampant illegal gold panning.
The mine, which is owned by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation was reopened in March after injection of fresh capital by a private investor but has remained under judicial management to facilitate the payment of creditors.
Sabi Mine judicial manager Dr Wesley Sibanda said money that will be raised from the expected ramped up production will be re-invested to improve production.
“We anticipate producing an average of 25 kgs of gold per month from September onwards. The initial production will be used partly to fix equipment of the mine and to increase production to full capacity in 2018. The proceeds of gold sales are being used to revamp the plant and underground development in anticipation of the 2018 projections,” said Dr Sibanda
He said since March, the mine has produced about 80 kilogrammes of gold.
“On 1 March, the judicial management resolved to proceed with the commissioning of the mine in terms of the Court Order, both the underground and the plant. During the commissioning stage, the judicial management produced 2,8 kilogrammes of gold which was delivered to a local bank in Zvishavane and 8,3 kilogrammes of gold which was delivered to Fidelity Printers (and Refineries) in Harare. Since the commission of the mine from March to June, we have produced around 79,6 kilogrammes of gold sold to Fidelity,” said Dr Sibanda.
ZMDC’s Kimberworth Investments trading as Sabi Gold Mine entered into a joint venture with Chandiwana Mines in 2015 for the purpose of rehabilitating and operating the mine as well as payment of all its approved creditors.
“The investor is currently the managing consultant and is working under the judicial management. The judicial management will be in charge of the mine until all creditors have been paid after which judicial management will hand over the mine back to the shareholders, ZMDC. All the employees were given certificates to demarcate the amount due to them before the company went under judicial management and those who were on care and maintenance post judicial management period were given the certificate for the amount due to them . . . ,” said Dr Sibanda.
Apart from rehabilitating the mine the company has also acquired a bus for ferrying employees as well as an ambulance.
“The judicial manager acquired a bus which is being used to ferry employees to the mine and an ambulance which is being used by the mine clinic. The ambulance is resident at the mine and will be used by the community at large, where necessary,” said Dr Sibanda.
Mberengwa-Zvishavane Mining Association chairperson Mr Thembinkosi Sibanda said the mining owners needed to deal with illegal mining that is taking place at the mine.
“We are very excited about the re-opening of Sabi Mine because we are looking forward to the number of employees growing but we are bothered by rampant gold panning activities taking place there and as such we are appealing to the management to consider tributing some of their claims to the people.
“As miners we are very worried by the ever increasing number of mine claims disputes. These wrangles aren’t benefiting us at all especially at a time we are looking at improving gold production. People are maiming and killing each other on daily basis and therefore we are calling on the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to champion settling these disputes,” said Mr Sibanda.@DNsingo