ANOTHER mine with a capacity to produce a tonne of gold per month from 2024, has been revived in Mashonaland Central as the Second Republic continues to breathe life into comatose companies.
Government has identified mining as one of the key anchors of economic growth over the short to medium term towards upper middle class income status by 2030 and has lined up policies to grow the sector from a US$2,3 billion industry to a US$12 billion sector by 2023.
The revival of Ran Mines in Mashonaland Central falls within the National Development Strategy 1 document which seeks to value add the country mining sector that has been hitherto exported in raw form.
In Bindura, Ran Mines is resuscitating operations after 22 years following a US$6, 5 million investment to set up a 50 000 tonne crushing circuit and 4 000 tonne processing plant.
The mine is expected to be in full production in October this year with a targeted output of five kilograms of gold per month in the first phase and gradually increasing to 20 kilograms and eventually a tonne per month by 2024.
Ran Mines becomes one of the three big mines to reopen in the province following that of Eureka Mine and Shamva Gold Mine in another show of confidence in the Second Republic and the investment climate.
Already the mine’s site infrastructure construction, including civil works, are complete, while the installation of the crushing plant is
Ran Mines executive director Mr Derek Cockroft said although progress was stalled due to heavy rains, exploration and construction work for the first phase is almost complete.
The plant will be commissioned this month at a date to be announced.
“The crusher circuit which weighs 15 tonnes will be standing six and a half metres above ground. The crusher has a capacity of processing 50 000 tonnes of ore per month.
“We decided to install a long-term capacity because of the complexity of the circuit. We will construct a 4 000 tonne processing plant whose components are from China. We anticipate commissioning this month.”
A 1 MVA power system has been installed to run the circuit and plant while the mine is working towards establishing an electricity power line.
Mr Cockroft said a 3,8 million litre water storage dam has been constructed on-site.
The investment is expected to employ about 130 people by the end of this year and 250 people by the end of 2022 with production expected to increase threefold by the end of this year.
Corporate affairs manager Mr Jack Murehwa said illegal miners are the major challenge.
“Illegal compounds are another challenge to project development. When Ran Mines closed in 1999, all the employees were retrenched and paid their dues including relocation allowance. Unfortunately, they were not asked to leave immediately,” said Mr Murehwa.
“We will be doing open pit mining which will be extended towards the compound. The issue is before the court. Shafts are being mined directly outside houses and this is another disaster waiting to happen.”
Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution Senator Monica Mavhunga said the resuscitation of Ran Mines will grow the provincial Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“The mine will create employment for the youths. We will do our best to assist and attend to some of the challenges this mine is facing.
“We will identify places that are not yet pegged and organise proper mining for our people,” she said.
Sitting on 324 hectares, Ran Mines was established in 1910 and has changed ownership since its closure in 1999.