US$130m Chinese mine takes off in Buhera

FARAI MATEBVU

BUHERA – Areas of Buhera are abuzz with development from the refurbishment of roads to the construction of new houses as Max Mind Zimbabwe, a Chinese company prepares to establish a new mine that is expected to exploit lithium deposits in the area for the next 20 years.

Max Mind Zim is investing US$130 million into the project, and so far, deposits lasting six years have been established, the company’s project manager Elfas Mugova has told Chipinge Times.

The mine is located in Chief Chitsunge’s area some 40 km East of Murambinda Growth Point  and 23 houses have been constructed at Murambinda Growth Point and 17 other houses in villages near the mine for the 40 families that will be displaced.

The total investment injected into the project so far including for infrastructure development, exploration and feasibility studies is US$22 million.

Max Mind Zim is expected to employ 300 local workers when it becomes fully operational. It has more than 50 claims on land covering 3 800 hectares. 

Mugova who is upbeat about the project, said that the mine would rake in more than US$200 million per year at full capacity and boost the arid district’s Gross Domestic Product.

“Upon the complete installation of the lithium plant, the project will rake in more than USD 200 million and will employ at least 300 locals,” said Mugova.

“We should spend USD$130 million by the time we start producing lithium concentrate. We have set the second quarter of 2023 as our target for this development,” Mugova added.

Mugova said that 40 families were affected by the mining operation and will be relocated to Murambinda town and other nearby villages.

“We constructed at least 23 housing units in Murambinda for the affected families. Other 17 housing units have been constructed in adjacent villages. We invested US$1,2 million in constructing these houses,” Mugova further said.

Buhera Residents Network Trust Executive Coordinator Leonard Mabasa said that the local villagers are excited over the discovery of lithium resources and said that the local people will be given preference to work at the mine.

“We are excited, and the company has agreed that they will employ our local people first before employing from other districts,” said Mabasa.

Buhera District Development Coordinator Freeman Mavhiza told The Mirror that they want the company to set up a lithium value addition plant, so the district realizes maximum benefits.

“Plans are there to have the company set a value addition and beneficiation plant to help upgrade the district whose growth point was recently accorded a town status,” said Mavhiza. 

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