Sabi Gold Mine to reopen after $13mln deal

Commissioning of Sabi Gold Mine in Zvishavane has been set for the end of March after a $6 million investment by a private company and government arranged a $7 million deal for the supply of equipment, mines minister Walter Chidhakwa has said.

The mine was placed under judicial management in September 2014 after it ceased operations in 2011 due to working capital constraints.

In an interview after touring the mine recently, Minister Chidhakwa said the government secured $7 million worth of mining equipment for the mine while Chandawana Minerals Company invested $5,9 million.

The mine has started operating although at a lower scale as commissioning has been set for the end of the month.

“Sabi Mine was closed some time ago. Some work has been taking place at the mine under the judicial manager and we have had difficulties about the structure that was under design – firstly there was a loan agreement signed between judicial manager and Chandawana. They started talking about a joint venture and we were not sure what the joint venture was all about because this is a government asset and we can’t have a situation where a government asset is parcelled out in that manner. So we have taken a position that there be a structure for them to operate a government asset which must remain under government control and ownership,” he said.

Minister Chidhakwa said government had secured mining equipment for the mine to ensure that its target gold mine output of about 25 kilogrammes a month would be achieved.

“We must find a way of resuscitating them (government mines), making them work for the economy. What I understand from them is that they have invested $5, 9 million into the operations and the target as of now is to (achieve output of) 20-25 kg of gold per month. But I said I need to see it for myself so that we find a way of supporting them. But from a government perspective we are securing equipment worth $7 million for them.”

Previously the mine, a subsidiary of the state-owned mining investment vehicle, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) sold off its dumps to raise $10 million to pay off creditors.

Sabi would be the third largest mine to operate in Zvishavane after Mimosa and Murowa Diamond Mine. At its peak, it produced 50kg of gold per month with a total workforce of 420.–source