- September 28, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
Zimbabwe has the potential to revival the million-dollar mica mining sub-sector which was prematurely abandoned in the early 1970s.
By Rudairo Dickson Mapuranga
The country’s Mica during the late 1920s was on-demand on the international market, the mineral which is worldly sort after in the electrical and construction industry has the potential to be revived again provided large-scale exploration and extraction is promoted.
According to experts, the country can become one of the leading producers of Mica in the world if large scale extraction of the mineral is sponsored.
Mica in Zimbabwe is found in Hurungwe, Rushinga, Kariba and Hwange.
The biggest Mica mine in Zimbabwe during the 1920s, Grand Parade employed more than 360 workers and was valued at £200,000 which when converted amounts to over USD120 million today, yet the mine had only reached a depth of 70 metres which indicates it was operating at small-scale.
The country received revenue of £304,907 through Mica sales between 1919 and 1929, the value of the revenue the country amassed is nearly USD400 million today.
According to John Wiles former military cross who geologically mapped the Mwami area in Hurungwe, many mica mines were abandoned prematurely, without the full extent of their potential being evaluated. He included the Grand Parade, which had reached an underground depth of 130m, and singled out the Gil Gil, which had been reported on under option by Max Mehlis of Goldfields.
Indigenous mica miners have been encouraged since 1961, and renewal of small-worker interest could be fostered given the advent of the new Mining Promotion Corporation initiative by the Government, which seeks to provide professional advice in support of small-scale miners.
The promotion of mica mining could also help the country achieve the president’s USD12 billion mining sector by 2023 because the mineral could be on-demand due to the increase in construction and electric applicants like motor vehicles.
Mica is a shiny silicate mineral structured with a layer of granite and other rocks or crystals. Highly translucent, tough, stable, durable, and electrical resistant are the advanced properties of mica, which makes it widely used in several applications across various industries.
The global mica market is projected to witness the highest growth over the forecast timeline, owing to the surging mica applications in the electronics industry. Mica is an important compound for the electronics industry due to its chemical, physical, and electrical properties, perfect cleavage, flexibility, elasticity, low electrical and thermal conductivity, and high dielectric strength.
Additionally, mica is widely used in electronic consumer goods, such as hairdryers, toasters, LED lights, other lighting equipment, smoke detectors, and acoustic guitars. Moreover, rapid industrialization in emerging countries of China, India, and Brazil are likely to propel the mica applications in the construction industry. However, due to the stringent environmental regulations and fluctuating mica prices may hamper the global mica market in the future.
This article first appeared in the September 2020 issue of Mining Zimbabwe magazine