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Zim to resume copper production next year: Chitando

Zimbabwe is set to resume copper production next year more than 20 years after Mhangura Mine closed on falling international copper prices, Mines and Mining Development minister Winston Chitando has said.

The government through its investment arm, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), which controls Mhangura Copper Mines, Sanyati and Lomagundi Smelting and Mining, has been engaging potential investors to revive its copper mining operations.

The development comes at a time when prices of copper at the international market have been increasing, a situation which poses a great opportunity for Zimbabwe to consider reviving copper mines.

“We are strongly considering copper mining and there are plans to resume copper production. We are going to see copper production next year,” Chitando said.

According to studies done so far, Mhangura Mine has the least resource while there are better prospects at Sanyati copper mine.

Mhangura mine was closed in 2000 due to a fall in copper prices and the revival of copper mines requires serious and holistic investors with a long term position on investment.

ZMDC has been hunting for US$500m required to revive its three copper mines together with a new smelter and refinery.

Studies done show that there is significant potential on the copper mines and ZMDC has been engaging different investors to participate either as a joint venture or take up equity in any or all the copper mines.

There are over 70 known deposits in Zimbabwe that have produced copper either as a primary or secondary product. The main producing area has been the Magondi Basin in an area stretching for over 150km.

Similar copper deposits are found in the south-eastern part of the country in the Umkondo Basin. Several copper prospects also occur in greenstone belts.

The revival of copper production comes at a time when a listed cable manufacturer has plans to start re-processing of now defunct copper mines as it seeks to convert the blister copper into anodes and then work with Rio Tinto to convert anodes into cathodes.

CAFCA had announced its intention to purchase scrap copper products, in a move the company regarded as a means to curb illegal exports of copper.

The closure of Mhangura Copper Mine among other copper mines posed a huge challenge to copper product manufacturing companies who have since resorted to imports from Zambia. Business Times

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