By Lovemore Zigara
Government has started exploration of limestone deposits in Zvishavane which have the potential to generate millions of dollars for the country.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Winston Chitando said there was requisite infrastructure in the area to support the exploitation of the mineral at a lower the cost. "There are limestone deposits in the Mhundurure area just outside Zvishavane. You will realise that we have a comparative advantage as there is infrastructure like road network. There is a railway line, electricity and water," said Minister Chitando.
"So the capital cost of putting that asset there is low. When you look at your cost per tonne it will be lower because of the variables that I have mentioned. We are looking at how we can move in and exploit the deposits." Minister Chitando said Government was in the process of evaluating the deposits to ascertain the quality and quantity of the mineral. He also spoke on lithium saying his ministry was embarking on various projects.
"Due to increased demand for lithium on the international market, Zimbabwe is going to experience a huge boom in production to meet this demand with the coming on board of new mining projects which include the Arcadia Lithium Project and one or two other projects," he said.
In April, Australian company Prospect Resources pledged to inject at least $25 million to fund the construction of a mine and plant at its Arcadia lithium project near Arcturus Gold Mine.
Government through the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation last week signed a deal with a foreign investor to exploit lithium deposits worth $1,4 billion in Matabeleland North.
Zimbabwe is the fifth largest producer of lithium in the world after Australia, Chile, Argentina and China.
Bikita Minerals is one of the largest lithium mines in Zimbabwe.