At least $38 million is required to boost asbestos mining at King Mine in Mashava, which has been operating at below 50 percent capacity for the past 11 years. King Mine — owned by Shabanie Mashava Mines — used to produce 75 000 tonnes of high grade asbestos per annum before Government put the asbestos miner under reconstruction in 2004 owing to huge debts.
The Government took over SMM from businessman Mr Mutumwa Mawere and placed them under the management of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, which has been struggling to secure funding to recapitalise the mines.
SMM Chief Executive, Mr Chirandu Ndhlembeu, recently said the company could return to profitability if recapitalised. He said King Mine produced high-grade asbestos which was in demand globally.
“We need an initial capital injection of $20 million to revive asbestos mining operations at King Mine, and then more funds thereafter until we reach the $38 million mark, which is the total capital required to raise production to pre-2004 levels,” he said.
“Our mines in Mashava and Zvishavane used to supply about 10 percent of the world asbestos and we can reach that level if adequate funding is injected into mining operations.”
Mr Ndhlembeu blamed erratic power supplies for hampering operations at the firm’s mines that are currently operating at 40 percent of capacity. “The two mines used to employ 3 000 workers directly, but at the moment we have a skeletal staff because we are not operating at full capacity. “The power cuts have made the situation worse as our shafts are flooded because we need power to regularly de-water them,” he said.