Conrad Mupesa–Mashonaland West Bureau
MHANGURA which became moribund more than two decades ago after the mine closed down, could rise from its ashes and breathe new life after a Chinese company decided to invest in it.
A new deal penned by the Government and a Chinese investor, Zhi Jui Mining Resource (Pvt) Ltd to treat millions of tonnes of copper dumps from former mining giant Mhangura Copper Mines is certainly a game changer.
Commissioning of the project is scheduled for the next six months and once running, the project is expected to create direct employment to 300 people from the mining settlement while contributing US$34 million towards the $12 billion mining industry economy.
Mhangura mine shut down operations at the turn of the millennium following huge operating costs and fall in the world price market thereby forcing thousands of families that directly and indirectly benefited from the operations in a quandary.
In its 2018 election campaign message, the Second Republic assured the Mhangura community of a new era.
Hearing the news, the former workers who have now reached their twilight ages and now hope the new deal will financially sustain their youthful off-springs, applauded President Mnangagwa and the Second Republic for the deal.
Speaking to The Herald, Mr Misheck Paradzanwa, a former mine worker and now a businessman and Zanu-PF Mhangura-1 district chairperson, said the move was going to change the lives of many citizens in the area.
“We envisage an improved life in a community which has gone dormant for long. Most families are living below poverty datum line due as there is no meaningful industry,” he said.
While exit packages were availed to the workers when the mine shut down which saw some benefiting from five-acre pieces of land, it was only through climate-proofed Pfumvudza input scheme introduced by the Second Republic that has improved yield output of most farmers.
“We have been surviving through selling and as our clients are mostly farmers who surround the town, cash flow is usually seasonal. The reopening of the mine is going to support most farmers.
“It is also going to reduce crime rates that have been rife due to high employment rate,” said another Mhangura local.
There has also been a number of artisanal miners flocking into the town boosting cash circulation, but this has presented a number of challenges to poor families surviving under shoestring budgets.
The coming in of the artisanal miners has been blamed for rising HIV/AIDS prevalence rate particularly in young girls while cases of house breaks and robbery have also been rife.
Mhangura legislator, Precious Chinhamo-Masango said while the coming in of the new investor was a welcome move, there was need to tap into infrastructure and utilities for the public adding the five-year-period was short for meaningful development.
Briefing the media on Tuesday after the Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) procured Zhi Jiu Mining Resources for purposes of entering into a 5-year contract mining agreement for the treatment of a total of 26 million metric tonnes of mining dump at Mhangura Mine.
“Zhi Jui will inject the US$10 million required as capital for the processing of the dump, while ZMDC provides mineral resources, the mining title and existing mine infrastructure in a product-sharing ratio of 65:35 between Zhi Jui and ZMDC, respectively.
“The project presents a win-win scenario, in which ZMDC will get substantial returns on their idle dump site,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister, Polite Kambamura said site establishment was scheduled within the next three mines while commissioning of the plant will be held by end of this year.