Ex-Kamativi Tin Mine workers lay down demands

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Ex Kamativi Tin Mine workers have vowed to continue pressing for the establishment of a small-scale mining syndicate to operate as a tributary once the defunct mine resumes operations.

In 2015, the Government announced that it had secured a new investor, China Beijing Pinchang, who have since released $100 million of the $102 million required for the resuscitation of Zimbabwe’s only tin mine.

As Kamativi gears for re-opening under a joint venture partnership between the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) and China Beijing Pinchang, it is envisaged that seven minerals including tin, tantalite, bellarium and indium would be mined.

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Presently, a team of eight geologists from China and their local counterparts are on the ground exploring and undertaking the geophysics surveys to identify and establish the mineral quantities at Kamativi.

The tin mine, which was wholly-owned by ZMDC, ceased operations in 1994 after the price of tin on the international market plummeted overnight from $18 000 per tonne to less than $3 000.

Kamativi Early Settlers Development Organisation (Kesedo) chairman Mr Freeman Banda told Business Chronicle recently that they were still engaged with the shareholders of the mine to seek permission to set up a small-mining syndicate.

We have the desire to see the mine being re-opened so that as former workers, we can also be economically empowered through small-scale mining syndicates. We have in the past engaged the ZMDC over the matter and we will not tire. If we can form a small-scale mining syndicate that we will operate as a tributary it guarantees us of the ability to sustain our livelihoods even if the mine shuts down like what has happened in the past,” he said.

Mr Banda said since January this year they have heard that a team of geologists was on the ground taking samples.

He said not all former workers would be able to be re-employed by the mine but a smallscale mining syndicate would allow them to be economically empowered.

“We don’t think the proposal for the mining syndicate will be rejected taking into cognisance that smallscale mining activities on precious minerals such as gold have been permitted by the Government,” he said.

Mr Banda said they looked forward to the imminent re-opening of Kamativi as the Government through ZMDC had secured an investor to partner with.

He said Kesedo has also engaged ZMDC over the home ownership scheme where their members can be allowed to own the houses they have been occupying since the closure of the mine.

When the mine closed, he said, the former workers were not given home ownership despite ZMDC deducting 25 percent from the former workers’ retrenchment packages as house security key deposit.

In the recent past, the ex-workers have been at loggerheads with the Hwange Rural District Council for failing to pay monthly rentals to the council that ZMDC appointed to administer the houses at the mine.

At present, the ex-workers are required to pay rent ranging between $10 and $20. There are over 600 houses at the mine.

Kamativi Mine was opened in 1936 and the mine has close to 40 million tonnes of open cast tin reserves considered among the biggest in the world.

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