Home News Sandawana Mines: A Journey of Rediscovery and Transformation

Sandawana Mines: A Journey of Rediscovery and Transformation

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Embarking on a captivating journey from Zvishavane, we traversed the enchanting landscapes of Mberengwa District, eagerly heading towards Sandawana Mines.

This expedition held the promise of witnessing the renaissance of a once-forgotten gem, now brought back to life by the discovery of lithium and the efforts of Kuvimba Mining House.

As a journalist granted the unique opportunity to explore and document this remarkable transformation, I embarked on a memorable adventure to share the story of Sandawana Mines.

As the road wound its way through the breathtaking surroundings, anticipation filled the air. Sandawana Mines, with its rich history and abundance of natural resources, had long been a symbol of potential and untapped opportunity.

However, time had cast a veil of neglect upon it. That was until Kuvimba Mining House, a dynamic mining company specialising in mining of precious and base minerals as well as lithium, breathed new life into the mine, igniting a sense of hope and excitement in the hearts of the locals.

Arriving at Sandawana Mines, I was greeted by a vibrant scene of mining activities. The once-desolate landscape had transformed into a hive of activity. Kuvimba Mining House, since its establishment in January of this year, had wasted no time in mobilising resources and expertise to revitalise the mine.

According to the Sandawana Mines General Manager Godwin Gambiza, the company has so far injected USD$56 million towards the first phase of exploration. He eloquently articulated the company’s commitment to the community and unveiled an array of initiatives aimed at fostering sustainable development.

“We are starting with roads, so far we are constructing a road from Sandawana to West Nicholson, and we project that about 70 % of our product will be transported through that road and 30 percent through the Zvishavane road and we are anticipating to cover 115kilometers in two phases.

“During the first phase, we are widening and compacting, (the road) and we will be putting asphalt during the second phase. We also want to improve greater community development here in Mberengwa. We want to revive a lot of local businesses, we want to establish a shopping centre that will benefit the mine and the community. We need to upgrade the current electricity from the current installation which is 3 mva to a minimum of 20 mva so that the community will benefit.

“We also need to work with partners to establish a proper healthcare facility that will work as a referral for surrounding clinics. So far we have been allowed by the Ministry of Health and Child Care to capacitate the current clinic,” he said.

The company’s commitment to the local community was evident in the employment of 1500 individuals, a significant boost to the region’s workforce. Notably, 20% of these positions were filled by women, marking a laudable step towards gender inclusivity and empowerment in the mining sector.

Intrigued by the locals’ sentiments towards the revitalisation of Sandawana Mines, I embarked on a series of interviews. The local voices painted a vivid picture of renewed hope and optimism. Many of them had previously worked at the mine a decade ago when it was forced to close down.

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“Sandawana has done great for us, and our families, l once worked in the 80s, and since the closure of the company ten years ago, we have been struggling to send our children to school because we had no stable source of income, as you can see l’m now old but l am happy that the company has so far employed my two children and their lives have transformed. We say thanks to Sandawana Mines for coming to our rescue,” said Byron Muchuchuti a resident.

“When Sandawana came here, we were hesitant thinking that they would take our homes where we were left when the mine closed years ago, but to our own surprise, they did not move anyone rather they provided employment to the ones who are still able and we are safe here. Also, the other thing is that they are employing the girl child, who knew that women would work in the mine?,” asked Tariro who preferred to give only her first name.

The reopening of Sandawana Mines under Kuvimba Mining’s stewardship not only rekindled memories of the past but also brought forth a promising future. The company’s commitment to community engagement was further underscored by their invitation to sixteen esteemed chiefs from Mberengwa District, seeking their blessings and support yesterday.

During the engagement, the chiefs expressed their gratitude for the invitation and wholeheartedly embraced Kuvimba Mining’s vision. The chiefs’ blessings resonated deeply, symbolising the bridging of traditional wisdom with modern aspirations. Their collective endorsement instilled a sense of confidence in the minds of all those present, reaffirming the positive trajectory of Sandawana Mines’ revival.

“Since you have engaged with all the chiefs in this area, we guarantee you that your production is going to increase, you should know about our tradition here as “vakaranga”, you should keep respecting these 16 chiefs and do not segregate and once you do that, your production will keep increasing.

“We are hoping that you will transform the livelihoods of chiefs, a lot of them do not have access to water so we hope and believe that you will drill boreholes in the community and at each and every chief’s homestead.

“I would want to applaud you Engineer Gambiza and your team for recognising chiefs and leadership in Mberengwa and the community at large. From today we would like to say mine freely but don’t forget to develop the community,” said Chief Ngungumbane, Zama Mkhwananzi, who also sits in the Senate as a representative of the traditional leaders.

As my journey to Sandawana Mines drew to a close, I couldn’t help but marvel at the transformation that had taken place. What was once a forgotten corner of the region had been revitalised into a beacon of hope and progress.

As the stakeholder engagement event drew to a close, a wave of excitement swept through the crowd. The air was charged with anticipation as the stage was set for a special performance by the renowned Zimbabwean musician, Tocky Vibes. The atmosphere was electric, with people eagerly awaiting the opportunity to witness his talent first hand.

As Tocky Vibes took to the stage, a hush fell over the audience, followed by a surge of applause and cheers. For many in attendance, this was a moment they had eagerly anticipated, the chance to see this acclaimed artist perform live for the first time. The rhythmic beats and infectious melodies filled the air, captivating the hearts and souls of everyone present.

Tocky Vibes’ vibrant performance served as the perfect finale to a day filled with hope, inspiration, and celebration.

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