Fairness Moyana, Hwange Correspondent
THE Government says up to seven minerals would be extracted at Kamativi Tin Mine in Hwange District after geologists confirmed a rich mix of deposits ahead of the mine’s re-opening.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa, who insists the disused mine would be opened soon but has not given the exact date, said the new operations will have a bias on lithium extraction.
Lithium is one of the metals on demand the world over as it supports the motor vehicle manufacturing sector.
Minister Chidhakwa said recently that geological work had revealed that Kamativi had higher lithium deposits and a mix of minerals that could be economically exploited outside of tin. These include tantalite, lithium, beryl, copper, beryllium and limestone.
“We want to take advantage of the mix of minerals at Kamativi, which was never considered long back. We can economically mine seven minerals at Kamativi according to data gathered by geologists,” said Chidhakwa. “They will now design a metallurgical process that will be able to separate tantalite from tin from lithium and so forth. We are probably going to be more of a lithium mine than a tin mine because lithium is going to be bigger than anything you have ever seen in this world.
“It’s (lithium) now turned into an energy mineral and the sales production of sales in motor vehicles we are moving very rapidly into vehicles that are power driven and so lithium is becoming very strategic.”
The mine ceased operations in 1993 after global tin prices took a knock to record levels.
However, the international prices of tin are on rebound hovering between $15 000 and $22 000 per tonne.
Apart from Kamativi Mine, lithium deposits have also been found around Harare and Bikita.
The minister said Government, which had a 51 percent stake in Kamativi, was working with a Chinese company, Beijing Ping Chang, which had since injected $1 million towards the geological work required to determine the mineral deposits and their positions before actual production begins.
The cost of bringing the mine to life has been pegged at around $100 million.
“What has been happening is that there are six geologists, three from our side and the other from the company working on site. They went through all the data that came from the 800 wells that had been drilled and then they said they wanted to drill another 23 to confirm the position of the minerals.
“I don’t want at the moment to say the unconfirmed position of the minerals as they stand until the process of drilling is concluded, which should take a month. From there we will start looking at design of equipment based on the mix of minerals sitting there because Kamativi is a poly mineral body with more than just one mineral,” said Minister Chidhakwa.
He said the Government was committed to the revival of Kamativi as it has the potential to contribute to the economy. The re-opening of the mine has had several false starts and requires about $100 million to resume operations
The closure of the mine resulted in the loss of many jobs and opportunities for surrounding communities.