NRZ min­ing joint ven­ture takes shape

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business Chronicle - Oliver Kazunga

PAN-AFRICAN Min­er­als De­vel­op­ment Com­pany has is­sued a re­quest for proposals to un­der­take ex­plo­ration work on its 1 700 hectare piece of land in South Africa ahead of planned min­ing next year.

The com­pany, which is jointly owned by the Na­tional Rail­ways of Zim­babwe and the two rail­way en­ti­ties of South Africa and Zam­bia, in­tends to un­der­take min­ing op­er­a­tions on its con­ces­sion.

The con­ces­sion is be­lieved to have di­a­monds, man­ganese and gold de­posits. Should min­ing ac­tiv­i­ties be­gin on the con­ces­sion, it is be­lieved that pro­ceeds from the op­er­a­tions will go a long way in boost­ing NRZ’s work­ing cap­i­tal re­quire­ments.

The gi­ant paras­tatal is sad­dled with a $144 mil­lion legacy debt with work­ers owed about $80 mil­lion.

In an in­ter­view dur­ing the com­mis­sion­ing of 31 new state-of-the-art NRZ wag­ons in Bu­l­awayo by Trans­port and In­fras­truc­tural De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Dr Jo­ram Gumbo last Fri­day, the paras­tatal’s board chair­man Mr Larry Mav­ima said:

“We do have a com­pany in South Africa (Pan African Min­er­als De­vel­op­ment Com­pany), which is a joint ven­ture be­tween South Africa, Zim­babwe and Zam­bia which ac­tu­ally has is­sued a re­quest for proposals to do ex­plo­ration for the as­sets that we own in South Africa.

“Hope­fully, next year we will be able to iden­tify a part­ner or a fi­nancier who will be able to come in and ex­plore those as­sets and min­ing rights in South Africa.”

Mr Mav­ima, who was ap­pointed NRZ board chair­man in March this year, told this pa­per soon after his ap­point­ment that the rail­ways firm was “care­fully” con­sid­er­ing dis­pos­ing of its for­eign as­sets to raise work­ing cap­i­tal but would not be rushed into do­ing so.

Re­spond­ing to ques­tions from the floor dur­ing a Par­lia­men­tary 2017 pre-na­tional bud­get sem­i­nar in Bu­l­awayo on Satur­day, Dr Gumbo said if everything goes as planned, the joint ven­ture en­tity would start op­er­a­tions next year.

“We have now formed a com­pany called the PanAfrican Min­ing De­vel­op­ment Com­pany, which we hope if all goes well by next year we can start op­er­at­ing in South Africa. On that land, it does not mean there are min­eral de­posits but at least we have got to do some­thing about it,” he said.

As part of ini­tia­tives to re­cap­i­talise the NRZ, the firm’s board and man­age­ment has ap­pointed a trans­ac­tion ad­vi­sor and early next month the paras­tatal will be go­ing onto the mar­ket to scout for a po­ten­tial fi­nancier.

Through re­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion, the paras­tatal in­tends to re­ha­bil­i­tate its lo­co­mo­tives and other crit­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture.

The NRZ needs about $1,9 bil­lion in the long-term to be fully re­ju­ve­nated. - @okazunga

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