STATE-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation is likely to kick-start a series of mine disposals with the sale of Kamativi Tin Mines to a prospective Chinese investor.
An official told this newspaper that four investors were interested in Kamativi although sources say a Chinese investor is now tipped to snap up major shareholding in the tin mine.
The official said the investment required would depend on the business plan to be drawn after a detailed feasibility study by the investor and the level of mineral beneficiation but indications are that the mine requires around $60 million.
Kamativi, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the ZMDC, closed in 1994 after 58 years of operation.
Closure of the mine was caused by the fall in tin prices in 1985.
“There have been more than four investors who expressed interest in Kamativi,” said an official who requested not to be identified.
“They have made presentations to the board.”
Mines and Mining Development secretary Professor Francis Gudyanga said Kamativi was more than just tin as there was a host of rare earth minerals.
“If it was left to me we would not sell the mine to anyone, we would find the money to resuscitate it. There is a host of minerals such as mica tantalite, lithium and beryl. For us it’s a low hanging fruit,” said Professor Gudyanga.
Sources say while the evaluations are ongoing, indications are that a Chinese investor (name supplied) is well on course to outbid others.
Kamativi, which produced tin and by-products including tantalite niobium and lithium minerals, is among several closed mines under the ZMDC, which require new investment.
“There has been interest in other areas of investment in particular gold, platinum, copper and the diamond sector,” the official said.
Tin prices have been declining since last year and are now close to a five-year low, according to Mining Feed, an online news service.
It says while tin prices have shown some recovery from the lowest point reached last month, the London Metal Exchange cash price at the beginning of May was just above $16 000 per tonne, a decline of about 30 percent in the same period last year and 20 percent down since the beginning of the year.
In May last year, the tin price was relatively stable between $21 000 and $24 000 per tonne for about 8 months.
According to Mineweb, Indonesia, the world’s top exporter of refined tin, will introduce strict new rules for shipments in a renewed effort to stamp out illegal mining and support prices of the solder material. Under the new rules, exporters will need to present proof that the metal comes from Government-certified mines before shipment.
The new rules, first announced last week, would take effect on August 1 and could hinder the supply of tin from Indonesia and help support benchmark prices, Mineweb reported.