SHAMVA Gold Mine in Mashonaland Central province is upbeat that its security systems are water tight and that no losses are encountered during transit of ore to the processing plant in Bindura.
The gold mine is one of the entities owned by Kuvimba Mining House (KMH) and is located about 30 kilometres from Bindura.
It transports its ore to a sister company, Freda Rebecca Gold Mine for the recovery of the yellow metal.
During a briefing on the sidelines of a media tour of the mine recently, the firm’s general manager, Engineer Gift Mapakame, said they were transporting the ore to Freda Rebecca for processing because the mine does not have its own facility.
He said plans were in the pipeline to install a processing plant at the mine.
In an interview with Business Weekly after the tour, Eng Mapakame noted: “Our vehicles they move in convoys and we have got three convoys of three trucks per team and each team has got security escort that manages the laden haulage and over and above that, all of those trucks are under a fleet management system.
“They are under 24-hour surveylance and tracking so we know where truck X is, what speed it is doing, how much fuel it has and what tonnage its carrying. We have got all that information under a proprietary fleet management system.”
He said their fleet management system was two-tier which means that its monitored internally and externally.
“The fleet management system is monitored in several places; its monitored from our internal security control room and from the software provider as well as by the contractor themselves (the trucks’ contractor). So we are confident that our security systems are tight to curb leakages during transportation of ore,” said Eng Mapakame.
During the media briefing, he said Shamva which is presently undertaking underground operations, has since 2020 been able to mine and process slightly above half a million tonnes (520 000) of ore.
“That 520 000 tonnes on average on annual basis mined at a grade 1,70 grammes per tonne, has allowed us to average a steady gold production of slightly below 700 kilogrammes per year.
“In terms of operating costs, have settled down at about US$1,450 per ounce and that’s slightly a bit high for a typical gold mining operation like ours . . . we still have to endure the transportation cost to Freda but if we were processing at our own facility that cost would have gone down to between US$1,200 and US$1,250 thereabout.”
In the financial year that commenced in April 2023, the gold producer targets to increase annual gold production to 770kg and this would be enabled by an improved average grade.
“We want to be mining at 1,83g/tonne so far we achieved above 1,8g which is close and I think the optimism in the increase in production is now coming in because of those capital activities (Exploration, drilling evaluating) to create more options with the ore body.
Prior to the takeover by KMH in 2020, Shamva was owned by Metallon Gold that placed it under care and maintenance having acquired the asset in 2002 from Independence Gold that were the owners of the mine since 1968.
One of Zimbabwe’s oldest gold operations, Shamva was discovered in the pre-colonial era around 1865 before exploitation started in 1893 by a company that was called Goldfields of Rhodesia and because of the mine’s extensive history, it has gone through several ownerships over the years.
At the hands of Metallon, which is owned by a South Africa business magnate, Mzi Khumalo, Shamva was underfunded and underdeveloped.
In 2019, Metallon put the mine under care and maintenance before the acquisition by KMH that immediately placed the operation under business rescue to protect the mine’s assets from seizure by creditors as well as resolve legacy issues that arose before the takeover.
In 2020, KMH recapitalised the mine to the tune of US$15 million with the funding largely allocated towards refurbishment of infrastructure, shafts, haulages, offices and also procurement of new equipment for drilling, and materials handling, among others.
Since 2021, the mining concern has been having an annualised stay in business capital of US$4 million per annum.
At present, the asset is producing 45 000 tonnes of ore per month, something that was last achieved in 1910.