By Freedom Mupanedemo
Shabanie Mashaba Mine Holdings is set to reopen following the completion of a de-watering exercise, a senior management official said yesterday.
The official said they were waiting for Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando to make an official statement on the reopening.
He said the recruitment and renewing of contracts for the mine’s old employees had since started to pave way for the reopening of the giant asbestos mine which folded more than a decade ago.
“We have now completed the last level of our de-watering exercise and we are now putting in place the proper workmen structure in preparation for the resumption of operations,” said the official who requested anonymity. “The Mines and Mining Development Minister will issue an official announcement.”
Shabanie-Mashaba Mines chief executive Mr Chirandu Dhlembeu declined to comment, but said Minister Chitando will speak soon.
“The minister will make a statement, just like he did two weeks ago on the progress at the mine,” he said.
Minister Chitando was not available for a comment yesterday.
His deputy, Cde Polite Kambamura, told delegates at a breakfast meeting in Gweru recently that de-watering at Shabanie Mine was complete and the mine was preparing to resume asbestos mining.
“There is a very notable move in the reopening of closed mines in the province,” he said. “Dewatering has been completed at Shabanie Mashaba Mines and very soon, the mine will be working at full throttle.”
Zvishavane-Ngezi Member of Parliament Cde Dumezweni Mawite said the reopening of Shabanie-Mashaba Mines was good news for the people of Zvishavane.
He said he has been following developments at the giant asbestos mine with keen interest.
“Shabanie Mine is the backbone of this town and its reopening is good news,” said Cde Mawite. “Imagine all the suburbs like Nill, Kandodo, Maglas to mention but a few, were born out of this mine and its revival is a key milestone by the new Government administration.”
Cde Mawite said he has been frequently visiting the mine to monitor progress on the dewatering exercise.
“The last time they were saying they were on the last level of dewatering and I think soon we will see production at the mine and Zvishavane town will be back to its former self,” he said.
Shabanie Mine, which used to be one of the biggest employers in the Midlands province with over 2 000 workers, was closed in 2004 due to a number of problems, but Government has made revival of the mine one of its key priorities