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Chitando Caledonia prospects up as ZEGU gets into mining


In a recent interview with TechnoMag, Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando said the ministry has come up with a working frame work with CALEDONIA Mining Corporation Plc to increase mineral production and mining prospects towards the Zim$12 billion economy.Meanwhile Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University (ZEGU) has ventured into mining in Bindura and has established a faculty of mining, Vice chancellor Professor James Chetsanga has said.

He said the centre was working on the development of ZEGU’s mining claims in Bindura both for commercial production and future development of the university’s faculty of mining.CALEDONIA Mining Corporation Plc says mineral reserves and resources have increased following a new study at Gwanda-based Blanket Gold Mine, its flagship operation.

Minister Chitando told Technomag that

”we had a number of closures that took place over a period of time what is important is to say how is government approaching the gold sector that’s what’s most important and in terms of that approach  you are aware government signed  an agreement with Caledonia where Caledonia will become a 50 tons gold producer over a number of years, its unlocking value…”

In light of this in a statement yesterday, Caledonia revealed that total proven and probable mineral reserves increased by 528 000 ounces.

The report validates the company’s medium-term production profile targeting 80 000 ounces per annum from 2022, said Steve Curtis, chief executive officer at the New York-listed resources firm.

He said the development marked a new milestone in the firm’s ambition to grow mineral resources and successfully convert inferred mineral resources into M&I (measured and indicated mineral resources) to keep extending the life of Blanket Mine.

The mine was opened in 1906 and is one of Zimbabwe’s major gold producers.

“A 1% increase in the proven and probable mineral reserves and a 12% increase in M&I after mining depletion of 84 925 ounces is a continuation of securing the long-term future of Blanket,” Curtis said in a market update.

He said a reduction in inferred mineral resources reported during the study was due partly to successful conversion to M&I and lack of deep level exploration over the last 12 months.

The company recently commissioned the flagship Central Shaft, which was completed at a cost of US$67 million and is expected to increase output at the operation.

Curtis said the numbers released yesterday had been independently verified.

“Now that the Central Shaft is completed, we will have the ability to do more deep level exploration and we expect to replace the depleted mineral resources as we continue to go deeper, extending the life of the mine while achieving the 80 000 ounce target from 2022 onwards,” he said.

Caledonia said two weeks ago that output at Blanket was slightly subdued during the first quarter at 13 197 ounces due to heavy rainfall which caused flooding at the mine, resulting in several lost shifts.

The 13 197 ounces were slightly below its target and below the comparable quarter in 2020. The firm said it remained on track to achieve its production guidance of between 61 000 and 67 000 ounces for the full year.

“Production in the first quarter of 2021 was slightly below our target and below the comparable quarter in 2020 albeit at a level which allows us to maintain our 2021 production guidance of 61 000 to 67 000 ounces for the full year,” Curtis said.

“Gold production has often been lower in the first quarter of each year and increases in the following quarters. The rainy season this year saw unprecedented rainfall causing flooding at the mine and resulted in several lost shifts during the period,” he said.

In another related issue Zimbabwe Ezekiel Guti University (ZEGU) has ventured into mining in Bindura and has established a faculty of mining, Vice chancellor Professor James Chetsanga has said.

Speaking at a graduation ceremony last Friday, Prof Chetsanga said the university had opened a research and development centre in Harare to coordinate its projects.

He said the centre was working on the development of ZEGU’s mining claims in Bindura both for commercial production and future development of the university’s faculty of mining.

“The centre is also working on innovation projects in collaboration with industrial firms for the manufacture of products to be used in the fight against Covid-19 and any other future emergencies. This project is ongoing in collaboration with international partners and other universities,” he said.

“We are working on solar development for commercial production and distribution and also engaging in agricultural and agro-business activities in collaboration with ZAOGA Women’s Cooperative and Limbeck Farm.

“The university is in need of additional student hostels to improve the quality of life of students. The completion of a triple-storey male hostel will go a long way in alleviating the shortage of student accommodation.”

Prof Chetsanga said they were experiencing huge demand for scholarship support because of economic hardships.

Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development Minister Dr Amon Murwira who was represented by his deputy mr Raymond Machingura, said an upper middle income economy would be attained through industrialisation and modernisation.

“Human capital development constitutes an integral part of Vision 2030 as a key enabler. Universities are central to the sustained improvement in our economy.

“Our ambition is to transform Zimbabwe’s higher and tertiary education sector into a multi-billion dollar industry,” he said.

“A national critical skills audit revealed a national skills level of 38 percent against a celebrated literacy rate of 94 percent.

“The development of skills to bridge that gap through implementing a robust programme-qualification mix had become the major imperative of the higher and tertiary education system.

“It is encouraging to note that our universities have taken up the responsibility to move forward, the Education 5.0 tenets by producing quality, innovative graduates who will contribute in solving societal challenges.”

Dr Murwira said President Mnangagwa was impressed by ZEGU last year for producing low-cost Covid-19 innovations using local materials.

Minister Chitando in his Technomag interview went on to say

 ” are you aware government is facilitating the reopening of  those mines and that will see the equation tip but also at the same time government will want to see increased production and capacity from the small scale miners and we have a number of pilot interventions which are on the cards to see that happening so we are looking at huge growth at both artisanal and large scale miners so that we utilize our resources for the development of the country.”
Ross Moyo

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