SMM in move to pay off debts

14 Feb, 2020 - 00:02 0 Views

eBusiness Weekly

Ishemunyoro Chingwere Business Writer

Troubled asbestos mining concern, SMM Holdings (Pvt) Limited is seeking to dispose an array of mineral rich claims and vast tracts of commercial and residential land in a bid to pay off its debts and kick-start mining operations.

The miner, through its administrator – AMG Global, announced this in a notice published in the local press yesterday, with the disposal targeting the miner’s gold, chrome and limestone claims.

SMM closed its mining operations at Shabanie and Gaths Mine in 2007 due to a myriad of challenges chief among them a ballooning debt with Government among those owed the most.

In 2018, the miner began to reclaim the local asbestos fibre market after commissioning recovery work on at least 308 000 tonnes dumpsites.

Despite having managed to register considerable work in its dewatering exercise meant to preceed underground mining, the miner is still to commence mining operations with a lack of capital amongst the biggest drawbacks.

It is against this backdrop that the miner is now seeking to offload high value immovable property so as to attend its debt and go back to its core business.

A team of town planners commissioned by SMM has already drawn a concept plan for the existing suburbs in Zvishavane.

In Mashava freehold land was created out of SMM mining leases and the subdivision resulted in several properties being registered with the Deeds Registry Office.

SMM’s major asset is land over which it has mining and surface rights in Zvishavane and Mashava,” said the miner in a notice yesterday.

“. . . by way of this notice, SMM invites members of the public interested in purchasing any of the properties on which houses are already built, but not allocated to any employees.

“The company also invites members of the public, if interested in any of the properties listed in the attached document (which are pieces of land now ready for development in Zvishavane), to submit their expressions of interest in the same, and offers to acquire those pieces of land for development.

“The public is also invited to express their interest in, and offer for, the purchase or investment in SMM’s gold, chrome and limestone claims or resources,” advised the miner.

There is a compelling case for the reopening of SMM underground operations, particularly Shabanie Mine whose case is boosted by a 2006 audit by an Australian based internationally acclaimed professional body – the Joint Ore Reserve Committee (JORC).

JORC specialises in codes for public reporting of minerals exploration results, mineral resources and ore reserves.

The audit shows that, in the short term, the mine has a capacity to produce silky ore and brittle ore fibre worthy US$765 million over the next 16 years at an annual capacity rate of 78 000 tonnes per year.

Shabanie has a unique advantage in that its ore body is dominated by the internationally sought after silky ore and this has the potential to rake in US$689 million from the mining out of about 18, 1 million tonnes. Mining is one of the key cornerstones with which Government is seeking to revive the economy with the sector already seeking to attain US$12 billion in annual exports by 2023 up from US$2, 7 billion in 2017.

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