Conrad Mupesa Mashonaland West Bureau
THE investment of at least US$16 million by a Chinese firm into part of the once flourishing Golden Kopje gold mine in Makonde constituency to revive it has been commended by government.
Makonde legislator who is also the Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister, Cde Kindness Paradza yesterday toured Bubugao Mine which is currently employing 160 locals and producing a maximum gold output of 18 kilograms a month to appreciate the investment.
The mine is located some 15 kilometres south of Chinhoyi town along Golden Kopje Mine road.
Despite load shedding challenges exceeding 10 hours a day, officials at the mine say they have now reached the seventh level totalling at least 240 metres underground to extract the gold ore.
Mine’s finance director, Mr Edward Xu said the mine had a life span of at least 20 years adding they would continue to play its part in social corporate responsibilities that included employing locals, drilling boreholes and constructing schools.
“Right now production is still low because of a number of factors including load shedding. Continuous load shedding is affecting our production and we are currently engaging ZESA so that they install prepaid electricity metres,” he said.
He said the four-year-old mine along the Golden Kopje Mine block could not run on generator owing to its massive machinery on site, adding that a dedicated power line was needed for maximum production as the mine adds to the Second Republic’s US$12 billion mining industry target.
“The good thing about this investment is that they are resuscitating an old mine, Golden Kopje Mine. It is a good investment for the Government, economy and the constituency. This was an abandoned mine but they have resuscitated it and this will have a positive impact on the community through drilling of boreholes and learning facilities.
“Unfortunately, there have been challenges mainly with power supplies and they can go for 12 hours without electricity and that impacts on their production.”
Deputy Minister Paradza said while the company waits for Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company to provide electricity metres, he also encouraged them to import the units so that production is not affected. He said its revival was going to breathe life into the provincial capital currently being sustained by farming and buying and selling activities.
He also toured Huka Mining Company’s Union Jack Mine which is in partnership with Bubugao mine. The mine is currently using heap leaching mining method with the company’s lead mining engineer, Mr Panashe Muguza hinting on underground mining operations expected to start during the first quarter of next year.