via Kwekwe roasting plant to reawaken | The Herald September 16, 2015
Government has received 19 bids for its wholly owned Kwekwe gold refractory plant as efforts to revive the asset, which has been idle since 2000, gathers pace. Mines and Mining Development permanent secretary Professor Francis Gudyanga yesterday said investors that expressed interest in the refractory plant are expected to make presentations in the next two weeks.
“Nineteen investors have made submissions on the Kwekwe roasting plant and they will be making presentations in the next two weeks.
There have been viability concerns surrounding the resuscitation of the plant and a lot of investors have been unwilling to commit their funds on the project.
However, following the takeover of the plant by Government this year, investors have started showing commitment in injecting fresh capital on the project.
The refractory plant ceased operations in 2000.
Government transferred ownership of the assets to Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe on condition that the corporation would pay all the liabilities that the roasting plant had.
Government through Mines and Mining Development Ministry this year assumed responsibility of resuscitating the plant with a view to realise $140 million from extracting gold trapped in dumps at the plant.
The roasting plant was established in 1937 by the then Government of Rhodesia to assist small and medium scale miners around Kwekwe in the processing of dumps or refractory gold ore.
These dumps have an estimated 350 000 metric tonnes of ore and according to Peacocke and Simpsons Mineral Processors, they contain 97 220 ounces of gold worth $140 million at current prices.
Government is planning to replace roasters with new technology to improve recovery of gold and reduce the environmental impact of the plant.
“We want to find technology that can efficiently and effectively extract the refractory gold from the dumps. The treatment of this ore requires new technology because we want to migrate from the past roasting method.
“Government wants to establish a facility to treat the ore as it comes from other mines that have refractory gold because all is now under the jurisdiction of the ministry,” said Professor Gudyanga.