MINES deputy minister, Fred Moyo has said efforts to resuscitate Shabanie and Mashaba Mines were at an advanced stage and the two asbestos mines were likely to commence production before the end of the year.
Moyo, who is also the Zvishavane-Runde MP, said his ministry was now awaiting a cabinet resolution that would see the two mines reopening after years of non-production.
“People must not continue to panic over Shabanie and Mashaba Mines’ situation. As a ministry we are working tirelessly to see the asbestos mining resuscitating and by the end of this year, things would have normalised,” said Moyo.
“A resolution to see the mines working has already been passed and we are now waiting for cabinet to give recommendations on proposals lined up for the restructuring exercise of the asbestos mines.”
Shabanie and Mashaba stopped production in 2008 due to financial constraints after the government took over the mine from South African-based businessman Mutumwa Mawere whom they accused of externalising foreign currency.
The mines were placed in the curatorship of Arafat Gwaradzimba and the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) who through their alleged mismanagement led to the total collapse of the two mines.
The mines would need a two-year maintenance service before production commences as they are flooded with water that destroyed a lot of underground equipment.
When quizzed on why the government was leasing the mines’ property to Midlands State University and Great Zimbabwe State University, Moyo said the exercise was meant to raise revenue for the two mines as well as to prevent complete abandonment of buildings.
“The exercise is meant to raise money for the mines. As you know long ago when mining started, supervisors would be always present at the mining site where people would be digging hence we want all managers to work from the mining shafts than to live lavish lives in offices away from production,” Moyo said.
“We used to have AA Mines offices in Bulawayo before shifting to Zvishavane and now we say let’s shift to the mine site while these offices can be used for technical services through the opening of tertiary institutions.
“I would even urge our managers to take advantage of the coming in of universities by taking refresher courses and add more knowledge through study.”
Moyo said it was worrying that over two thousands houses were not being utilised since a large chunk of workers left.
Meanwhile, Shabanie Mine has taken over 500 workers it laid off from work to court in a bid to get them to vacate from the mine’s houses.
The workers are alleged to have vowed not to vacate the mine’s residential houses until they are given their packages and outstanding wages and salaries.
An official from the amenities department said the mine was already charging rentals for the houses and the money would be deducted from their packages.
Some workers’ rentals have already exceeded their packages since the rentals were calculated for the past six to seven years that the mine has not been operational.
“The mine code of conduct stipulates that an employee has to vacate mine premises, including a residential house, three months after he/she resigns or laid off. So all these workers refused to move out hence we charged them rentals and we have been deducting the rent from their outstanding monies,” said an unnamed mine official.