By ZBC Reporter
THE mining sector has been identified as key in the country’s quest to attain an upper middle-income society by 2030 with a focus on increasing production and establishing new mines.
Production at Blanket Mine is expected to increase following the commissioning of the central shaft by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Thursday last week.
The coming on board of new mines and expansion of old ones is propelling the sector towards achieving the set targets.
As the grinding mills turn and the gold extraction processes are in full swing at the gold mine, the entity is edging closer to achieving the anticipated production of between 73 000 to 80 000 ounces of gold by the end of the year.
Last year the mine produced an average of 67 000 years and the sinking of the new central shaft has paved way for increased production, according to the mine management.
“The government requested that we increase production so that we can achieve the government’s objective of a US$12 billion industry by 2023. We decided to sink a new shaft to enable us to increase our production,” said Caxton Mangezi, Caledonia mining, vice president.
To operate without any disturbances power is a key factor in mining a solar plant which will be commissioned in a few days will generate 25% of the required power at the mine.
On the other hand, the commissioning of the Hwange thermal power project will also give the country an additional 600 megawatts boosting supply on the national grid. This will solve some of the power challenges in the mining sector.
“Blanket Mine receives 18 megawatts per day from ZESA so we have since invested in a huge solar project to ensure we have an extra power supply,” said Mangezi.
The community of Gwanda owns 10% of the mine and given the extreme heat that often compromises yields, the mine is an oasis of hope for villagers.
The lives of surrounding communities are hinged on the mine which now employs 2000 people, a sharp increase from the 500 employees in 2006.
Young Peter Moyo who recently completed secondary education is on the mine’s waiting list and hopes to secure a job shortly.
He has seen the lives of his friends transformed after they were employed at the mine and he believes that his chance will come.
“The lives of my friends who work at the mine are different now. They drive cars and have built beautiful homes and I too wish to do the same should I get employed at the mine,” he said.
With Vision 2030 centred on improving the livelihoods of the country’s citizenry, the mining sector is playing its part.
Apart from Blanket Mine, entities like Sabi Star Mine in Buhera and the Manhize steel project are expected to make a significant contribution to the fiscus and job creation.