Alaska Mine is a large open pit copper mine which is 20 km from Chinhoyi town.
In pre-colonial times, miners were believed to have mined about a million tonnes of ore at the mine and it was regarded as the largest of ancient workings in Zimbabwe.
It was the centre of smelting and refining operations for all the Lomagundi copper mines.
The first smelting was undertaken in 1956. The company used to employ 1500+ miners, although now only security personnel are on site.
According to ZELA, discussions held with local people indicated plans for resuscitation and technological upgrades to bring in the mining giant into the 2030 mining vision, although these plans may be affected by the unstable macro-economic and political environment obtaining in the country.
Alaska mine is under the management of Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and was closed 20 years ago due to the poor economic and political environment in the country, leaving more than 1500 workers unemployed.
Infrastructure at the mine is rotting and phased out. Most of the equipment is being stolen by people.
However, many artisanal miners are mining in the area and these are mining copper from the mine dumps. Edited extract from a Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) situational report.