The Sunday News
Chrispen Gumunyu, Business Reporter
ONE of the country’s biggest suppliers of mining explosives and industrial chemicals, Intrachem Private Limited will this month start construction of its more than US$5 million state-of-the-art explosives manufacturing plant in Kwekwe.
Intrachem managing director Mr Langton Nyandoro said the company had made delivery of building material and machinery to be used for manufacturing bulk explosives emulsion with construction work expected to be completed next year.
Bulk explosives emulsion offers the advantage of a perfect combination of the rock and explosives enabling superior performance of the product and therefore optimisation of the drilling, blasting and downstream operations in mining.
“The initial investment to construct the manufacturing plant is in excess of US$5 million. Plant components have been delivered and construction will begin this month with the commissioning set for early 2020,” he said.
Mr Nyandoro said the growth of the country’s small-scale mining sector over the years prompted the company to consider setting up the explosive manufacturing plant.
“Prior to the service depots set up by Intrachem, bulk explosive emulsion had largely been used at large mines due to the fairly high establishment costs, which made it difficult for small-scale miners to use this type of modern and efficient type of explosive. Therefore Intrachem came up with a model of the bulk explosives emulsion depots or service centres within the key chrome mining areas,” he said.
Mr Nyandoro said production of the bulk explosives emulsion would play a part in reducing the country’s import bill.
“We believe that this will reduce the import bill although raw materials will still need to be imported but the new plant will also draw raw materials from Sable Chemicals further benefiting local industrialisation,” he said.
The company, at the moment, imports bulk explosives emulsion from South Africa and distributes through its three depots.
“We maintain and supply stocks of emulsion we import from South Africa through our storage facilities in Darwendale, Ngezi and Lalapanzi. The emulsion is already accessible to small-scale chrome miners at a relatively cheaper cost compared to the traditional anfex and cartridge blasting products,” said Mr Nyandoro.
Intrachem is the sole distributor of Sasol explosives and accessories in Zimbabwe. Sasol manufacturers a wide range of explosives and accessories in Africa for use in surface and underground mining operations as well as in specialised civil engineering applications.
Intrachem also arranges specialist consultation services on all aspects of blasting and explosives.
Last year it signed an agreement with its United States of America technical partner, Austin Powder to help in the setting up of the plant, technology and training.