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    Saturday, 17 December 2016

    Bikita Minerals investing $8.7m





    NKULUMANI MLAMBO

    BIKITA - Zimbabwe's only petalite and tantalite producer, Bikita Minerals is investing $8.7million into capital projects and this programme started in March last year, the company's chief executive officer Grant Hudson has said.
    The capital injections will be spread over a three-year period.
    He said the purpose of the investments was to increase production and so far output has jumped from 46 000 to 49 000 tonnes.
    "We have since March last year injected $3.5million in capital projects that include procuring equipment from Austria ie; an optical sorter used to separate petalite from the rock. This machine is 94% accurate," said Hudson when he spoke at the company's long service awards held on Friday last week.
    He also added that the company which has a 240 workforce also bought a dense media separator (DMS) worth $750 000 and some of the money has been used to upgrade the mine.
    The capital projects have resulted in a big increase in output from 46 000 tons last year to 49 000 tonnes this year. The company hopes to export 80 000 tonnes of the minerals every year, added Hudson.
    The company has during the course of the year purchased a generator worth $212 000 with a capacity of 1400kva; the same amount of electricity they draw from ZESA and this is to mitigate against power outages which are quite frequent in the country.
    Bikita Minerals was established in the early twenties and was originally meant to produce tin but later started producing tantalite in the 1960s.
    It changed management in the last three years after the previous owners concluded that there is no longer enough mineral to justify their presence.
    The new management has embarked on a massive acquisition of equipment and although Hudson could not reveal the amount of tantalite and petalite available he said there is enough to justify the investments being undertaken.
    "All the minerals we produce here are exported and they are used for technical application like making ceramic, glassware and on very rare occasions for chemical application," said Hudson.
    He also said Bikitia Minerals is involved in quite a number of community projects like provision of maheu to pupils at Domboshawa, Rusunguko, Mandindi, Beardmore and Bikita Minerals Primary schools, provision of food to the vulnerable in the community every month and repairing of boreholes.business news

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