Abel Zhakata in Mutare
Gold and diamond mining company, DTZ-OZGEO has appealed to Government to facilitate the re-opening of its alluvial gold mining plant in Penhalonga which was closed in 2013due to environmental concerns.
The company, which recently installed a state-of-the-art diamond mining plant in Chimanimani, bared its challenges to Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko yesterday who had visited the Penhalonga alluvial gold mining plant to familiarise himself with the operations.
DTZ-OZGEO (Private) Limited is a joint-venture mining company established in 1994 jointly owned by the Development Trust of Zimbabwe and a Russian company, Econedra Limited.
The companyâs chairman, Mr Alexander Derkach, told VP Mphoko that they were facing financial challenges as a result of the October 2013 closure of the plant.
âThe suspension of alluvial gold mining in the country has greatly affected our operations,â he said.
âFollowing the closure of alluvial mining we faced liquidity challenges which subsequently affected the rehabilitation process of reclaiming bad lands caused by our mining operations.
âWe were also forced to lay off more than 400 workers drawn from the Mutasa community.â
The company also cut its Russian expatriate workers from about 90 to 13, said Mr Derkach.
âWe had targeted to mine about 400 kilogrammes of gold this year which amounts to about $21 million using current gold prices, but there is nothing we can do because of the suspension of alluvial gold mining,â he said.
âOf that money, close to $3 million was going to Government as taxes and various royalties.â
VP Mphoko said it was critical to look into DTZ-OZGEOâs concerns since the company was employing more than 400 people as well as generating revenue for the country.
âItâs a very important thing (to assist DTZ-OZGEO) because it employs more than 400 people. Apart from that itâs making a profit of more than $21 million. A thing of that nature is critical,â he said.
Minister of State for Manicaland Cde Mandi Chimene said she was disturbed by the suspension of alluvial gold mining in Penhalonga as this greatly affected the local community due to the job cuts.
âI urge Government to assist in the resumption of operations at the mine because the suspension has brought misery to the Mutasa community as more than 400 villagers lost their jobs,â she said.
In 2011, the company produced 453kgs of gold, 487kgs in 2012 and 282kgs in 2013 before the suspension was effected in October that year.