By Daniel Chigundu
LACK of de-watering pumps has reportedly affected efforts to resuscitate Gatsi Mine in Mashava, the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy has heard.
Gatsi Mine is one of the two mines operated by AA mines a subsidiary of SMM Holdings and the other one is Shabanie Mine.
Briefing the Committee, AA Mines managing director Steven Nyagura said both Shabanie Mine and Gatsi are full of water and require de-watering but there is no de-watering equipment at the moment hence stalling resuscitation progress.
“We have the plan to start dewatering the mine and then go under underground and start operations underground and that would then be geared into export but having said that we are at Shabanie Mine, we are running two mines we have Gatsi Mine in Mashava.
“And based on our assessment in terms of which was a lower hanging fruit of the two options we found that Mashava has got less water in terms of de-watering and we have already started the dewatering campaign there with the aim of getting Mashava coming on stream.
“Our original plan was that Mashava should be producing from January 2019, but however, we have had one or two hitches in terms of forex to get de-watering pumps that is very critical what we had there had been worn out over the years and by the time we stopped we really didn’t have much capacity in terms of pumping.
“So we have right now in the queues at RBZ I think about $900k worth of equipment which we need to import for purposes of de-watering Mashava. If that was on the schedule we should have been able to start in January 2019 and that was really geared for export,” he said.
Currently, Shabanie is working on the material from its dump sites which are estimated to be about 300 000 tones as it awaits on progress on the Gatsi Mine which has the potential to produce a wider range of grades that can be geared for the export market.
Meanwhile, Nyagura has told the Mines and Energy Committee that India is ready to accept product from the company as soon as it starts producing for exports, adding that currently, they have a guaranteed 200 000 worth of orders confirmed.
“When we closed these mines, when we shut down in 2008 there was 200 000 worth of orders in the order-book and that has since been confirmed by MMCZ who went to India last year and they came back with a confirmation that they are anxious to get our product into that market.
“This is because of the quality of the fibre here by nature the way its situated the only competition was from Canada which is now closed down and Brazil could produce those grades, Russia grades are actually not to the standards in terms of length of the fibre.
“Russian grade is much shorter so the market itself need short and long fibres and so that where Shabanie would come in and even Gatsi would come in and fill that gap,” he said.