Story by Josephine Mugiyo
TWENTY-NINE years after the closure of Kamativi Tin Mine in 1994, there is finally hope in the mining community as work to re-open the mine as a lithium multi-element ore body mine has commenced.
In 1994, the once-thriving Kamativi Tin Mine shut down, with employees losing their jobs and the effects of the closure being felt throughout the nearby communities whose lifeline was hinged on the entity.
Almost three decades later, the mine is re-awakening under the joint venture, Kamativi Mining Company.
This time around it will not be tin being mined, but lithium.
A few kilometres from the mine lies a homestead of one of the mine’s former employees.
They have been seeing the activity happening at the mine site and this has brought hope for better days.
Mr Collin Sibanda, who joined the Kamativi Tin Mine in 1971, went down memory lane as he spoke about life before and after the mine was closed.
“I started work in 1971 at Scottyard Bricks, which built houses for the mine, then in 1980 I started working for the mine directly. Life changed when the mine closed. Others left Kamativi to look for jobs elsewhere.
“Let the mine open so that our children can work, perhaps older men like me can also get light jobs, but what we want is for our children to get employment,” he said.
Mr Sibanda, who narrates his duties when the mine was still open, is hopeful that their lives will certainly improve.
“I used to drive the forklift at the mine and also did many other jobs.”
The downstream benefits of having the mine re-opening are articulated by Mr Sibanda’s wife, who is eager to see the mine operate at full capacity so that she and her fellow women can sell different wares to the mine workers.
“If the mine reopens, our children will get jobs. We will live better and if I try to sell my chickens, no one can afford to buy them here,” she said.
If things could go her way, she would have the mine running by next week.
At the mining site, work is ongoing with workers busy to ensure that phase one of the mining venture is up and running by June.
The Chief Operations Officer for the Kamativi Mining Company, Mr Dexi Turkey Liang says the opening of the mine will be structured in two phases with the first phase set to be fully operational by mid-year.
“Phase one will produce 600 000 tonnes of raw ore per year and that will be 100 000 tonnes of concentrate. Phase two will kick off in March and by February next year, it will be fully operational.
“Under phase two, we will produce 2 million tonnes per year and that’s concentrate of more than 300 000 tonnes per year,” he said.
Under the first phase, 300 people have been employed and as phase two becomes fully operational, expectations are that 900 more employees will be brought on board.
Road rehabilitation, among other activities, has given the villagers in Kamativi hope and expectations that the small mining town will once again thrive and positively impact livelihoods.