Dumisani Nsingo, Senior Reporter
CHINESE firm, Ming Chang Sino-Africa Mining Investments has started lime production at its $4 million state-of-the-art plant in Bubi District, Matabeleland North Province.
Ming Chang plant manager Mr Xie Jun said the company started production and marketing its lime last month.
“We started production 20 days ago and we are producing 100 tonnes of quick lime a day which we send to our gold mining operations across the country as lime is essential in gold processing. We decided to embark in lime production to cut on costs of importing the product from South Africa and Zambia. We have even started selling it to other gold mines as well and we are looking forward to marketing it to chrome producers as it is also used in that sector including agriculture to restore the Soil’s pH.
(Soil pH is a measure of the acidity and alkalinity in soils),” Mr Xie said.
Ming Chang Sino-Africa Mining Investments has gold operations in Shamva, Shurugwi, Bindura, Mazowe, Kwekwe, Kadoma as well as a gold processing plant in Bubi. Mr Xie said the company was still working on completing the remaining section of the plant.
“Currently we are producing quick lime as we are still to fully complete the other section of the plant, which will enable us to produce slaked lime as the final stage of production and we expect to complete that section of the plant in the next three weeks,” he said.
Quicklime or burnt lime are common names for calcium oxide (CaO), which is a widely used chemical compound. It is a white, caustic, alkaline, crystalline solid at room temperature. Quicklime is relatively inexpensive. Quicklime and a chemical derivative (calcium hydroxide, of which quick lime is the base anhydride) are important commodity chemicals.
Slaked lime is the traditional name for Calcium hydroxide which is an inorganic compound with the chemical formula Ca (OH)2.
It is a colourless crystal or white powder and is obtained when calcium oxide (called lime or quick lime) is mixed, or slaked with water.
Calcium hydroxide is used in many applications, including food preparation. Lime water is the common name for a saturated solution of calcium hydroxide. Mr Xie said their concession has a mineable resource of more than five years but hinted that limestone deposits are in abundance in the district and in the province as a whole.
“We have two concessions we are mining on and these have a life span of more than five years but we are still exploring for more deposits and it seems limestone is in abundance in this area and in various areas in the province,” he said.
The company has also ventured into quarry stone mining for the production of construction aggregate.
“There is also plenty of quarry stone where we are mining for the limestone and as such we are now in the process of procuring state-of-the-art crushers to crush the stones into small quarry stones for use in housing and road construction,” said Mr Xie.