Kuvimba Mining House, a diversified mining firm owned by the Government and foreign investors, intends to acquire Globe and Phoenix Gold Mine in Kwekwe, officials have said.
The mine, which was founded in 1894 by two prospectors, Edward Thornton Pearson and Joseph Schukala, has four mining sites. It used to be one of the country’s largest gold miner, producing about 4,5 million ounces in its lifetime.
The State-backed offer by Kuvimba is part of a broader strategy to create a mining giant to help Zimbabwe achieve its US$12 billion mining economy by 2023.
Finance Minister and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube said in an interview on Wednesday, the acquisition of the Kwekwe-based mine was in line with the Government’s vision to expand the sector to a US$12 billion industry in the next two years.
“The management has made us aware of the offer and we have supported that,” said Prof Ncube.
“It is part of our thrust of creating the US$12 billion mining industry.”
The mining roadmap, also known as “Strategic Road to the Achievement of US$12 billion by 2023” targets gold revenue at US$4 billion, platinum group metals at US$3 billion, chrome, iron, steel diamonds and at US$1 billion, lithium at US$500 million while other minerals are expected to contribute US$1,5 billion.
The Government has 65 percent shareholding with the remainder owned by Ziwa Investments, a vehicle wholly owned by Mauritius-based company Quorus.
Minister Ncube and Kuvimba chief executive Mr David Brown have denied ownership by businessman and a member of Presidential Advisory Council Kudakwashe Tagwirei.
The group’s portfolio includes gold, chrome, nickel, gemstones, and platinum group metals (PGMs) and chrome.
It owns 100 percent shareholding in gold mines Freda Rebecca and Shamva, 85 percent stake in Jena Gold Mine, 74 percent in ZSE listed Bindura Nickel Corporation and 47,8 percent in multi-billion dollar platinum project, Great Dyke Investments.
Kuvimba is evaluating prospects of buying chrome smelter, ZimAlloys and Sandavanna mine. In addition, it is set to embark on exploration works at Golden Kopje and Elvington gold mines to establish commercial viability of the two mines.
Mr Brown said the acquisition of Globe and Phoenix was part of the group’s broader thrust to revive idle assets.
“Essentially, there are a number of mining assets not being utilised to full capacity; those that have been under funded but have resources, we want to bring them back so that the resource can be extracted for Zimbabweans,” he said.
“As for Globe and Phoenix, yes we have agreed to purchase the mine and we are finalising that.
“We are being driven by desire to raise mining output in Zimbabwe; creating
Mr Brown said Kuvimba was looking at ramping up production at Shamva, which resumed operation in April last year to make it the country’s largest gold mine, producing nearly five tonnes of the bullion per year.
More funds would be invested in Jena Gold Mine, with annual output expected to increase from the current levels of between 250 and 300kg to as much 900kg in the next two years.
Contrary to speculation, Prof Ncube dismissed claims Mr Kuda Tagwirei had a shareholding in Kuvimba.
“Tagwirei is not involved at all,” said Prof Ncube.
“All the groups in our 65 percent are State-owned.
Investment vehicles, which form the 65 percent shareholding of the Government in Kuvimba are the War Veterans Fund, the Sovereign Wealth Fund, the National Venture Fund, which represents the interests on youth and women, the Insurance and Pension Commission, the Government Pension Fund, the Global Compensation Deed Fund (for compensation of former commercial farmers) and another a vehicle for depositors who suffered foreign exchange looses.
Mr Brown weighed in: “There are a number of Government groups that form the 65 percent; the other 35 percent is owned by Ziwa, which is wholly owned by Quorus in Mauritius and Tagwirei is not part of that vehicle. The speculation is unfortunate.”