Category archives for: Mining

Nigeria: #AFCLive – Addressing Illegal Mining in Nigeria ‘Tough, Complicated’ – – Fayemi

Photo: Africa Finance Corporation

Mining Operations

By Samuel Ogundipe

Combating illegal mining activities across Nigeria is a ‘tough’ and ‘complicated’ issue that requires painstaking and long-time measures to be successful, the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, said Tuesday.

“There are illegal activities involving mining without licence, but the reality is that it’s often more complicated,” Mr. Fayemi said.

The minister spoke during a working lunch organised by the Africa Finance Corporation as part of its premier economic summit which opened in Abuja on Monday and closed Tuesday night.

Mr. Fayemi said Nigerian government was aware of illegal mining activities across the country, especially those involving Chinese.

“We’re prosecuting a case of suspected illegal mining involving the Chinese,” Mr. Fayemi said in response to a PREMIUM TIMES’ question what the administration has been doing to combat the menace.

Illegal mining has become a potent threat to Nigeria’s mining sector in recent years. Apart from the untold financial loss it constitutes, experts also warned about its negative effect on the environment.

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In 2012, Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, NEITI, said Chinese and Indian miners were conniving with locals to plunder Nigeria’s natural resources.But Mr. Fayemi said the government had launched a crackdown on the illegal miners.”We’re prosecuting a case involving the Chinese and suspected illegal mining,” the minister said.He, however, noted that the Chinese participating in illegal activities in Nigeria’s mining sector do so for their personal gain and absolved their government of any culpability.”Many of them are not representing their government, they’re prospecting for whatever they can find for their personal gains,” he said.He also acknowledged that there are law-abiding Chinese in the mining industry.”But some Chinese are also working in with local investors and they’re working with government agencies to do legal mining activities,” he said.The minister said a task force established to combat illegal mining had commenced work across the country.”More importantly, we also know that some people don’t know that we have mine surveillance task force, which comprised of the police, NSCDC and the State Security Service, after about forty years.”There haven’t been mining police in the country for about four decades and we just established the task force this year. And they’re working out of our offices.”Combating illegal mining is a tough one that we have to address,” he said.He urged Nigerians and foreign investors with interest in mining to tap into several financing schemes put in place by the Buhari administration to encourage participation and boost investors’ confidence”There are export enhancement schemes in the EXIM Bank.”There’s a $150 million we just got from the World Bank that potential investors could tap into.”The N30 billion mining intervention fund that government just put together can also be accessed,” he said.

Ghana: We Need to Rethink Mining in Ghana

By Matilda Asare

James Kwabena Bomfeh has asked State authorities to “rethink mining” in the country.

According to him, if mining cannot be regularized to ensure the activities of the miners do not lead to environmental degradation and further threatening the lives of residents in the mining communities, then it is prudent for the minerals to remain in the land.

To him, though exploiting the minerals is good if it leads to development and not destruction of the environment and water bodies, it is however not advisable for the miners to continue to extract the minerals when their activities are having adverse effects on the society.

James Kwabena Bomfeh, popularly called Kabila, dreaded the effects of the mining activities and so urged the authorities to clamp down on the illegal miners as well as legal miners who abuse their work permits.

“Even legal mining, people with appropriate concessions and permits and things; they abuse their permits including the big mining companies.”

In his view, it is better for the minerals to remain in the land without any exploitation since the minerals don’t rot until the country has gained knowledge enough to extract them without destroying the water bodies and the mining communities.

Also addressing the issue on Peace FM’s ‘Kokrokoo’, PPP Communicator Nana Ofori Atta upheld the views of Kabila, stating that the “menace of galamsey (illegal mining) is life and death”.

He also commended President Nana Akufo-Addo for assuring the nation that his government is putting comprehensive plans in place to address the menace.

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Zimbabwe: Govt Plans to Establish Gold Reserves to Anchor Local Currency

Photo: Agnico-Eagle – Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited/Wikipedia

Gold(file photo).

By Walter Nyamukondiwa

Chinhoyi — Government is working on a plan to establish a gold reserve set to anchor the introduction of a local currency when the right time comes for the return to the Zimdollar, it has been learnt.

This comes at a time when the country is grappling with cash shortages and economists believe the issuance of a gold backed local currency would help stimulate economic activity.

Modelled around the $200 million Afreximbank facility, which is backing the current bond notes in circulation, economists believe the local currency will ease liquidity challenges and stimulate aggregate demand.

Plans to create a gold reserve involve investing in the efficient operations of Government’s gold mining firms, including Sabi, Elvington and Jena gold mines.

Sabi Gold Mine resumed operations recently with targets to produce about 25kg of gold per month after a five-year hiatus caused by working capital constraints.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa said the gold reserve would complement the Sovereign Wealth Fund, where a set of minerals would be reserved for future generations.

The legal processes that will give effect to the fund are still before Parliament.

“Naturally, in order to support the future introduction of our own currency, you want to have mineral resources that you hold in reserve,” said Cde Chidhakwa.

“We have discussed this matter with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and what we are doing now, because most of the gold that is currently held is in private hands, we need to get our own companies operating.”

Government has full or part control of Sabi, Jena and Elvington gold mines, which have not been operating in recent years due to lack of capital.

Effort has been expended to resuscitate the companies, which are at varying levels of fruition.

Once all the companies owned by Government start operating, Minister Chidhakwa said they would be required to set aside part of their gold output to be kept as reserve by the RBZ.

He said Jena Gold Mine would soon take delivery of mining equipment to bolster its resuscitation, while other options were being looked at to bring on stream Elvington Mine in Chegutu.

This follows delivery of $7 million worth of equipment to the Zvishavane based Sabi Gold Mine.

Confederations of Zimbabwe Industries president Mr Busisa Moyo said a gold backed currency was a sound economic intervention.

“If it is along the lines of the Afreximbank facility, then it will give a lot of credibility to the currency because there is depressed demand for goods and products as people have no cash,” said Mr Moyo.

Demand, he said, should be at its highest owing to activities at the tobacco auction floors, but shortage of cash had dampened economic activity.

There are reports that some foreigners are taking advantage of liquidity constraints to bring in money and buy gold.

Some gold miners, including informal ones have in recent days been reported to be channelling their gold to the parallel market.

Minister Chidhakwa said contingent measures were being put in place to ensure that miners got their money as soon as they delivered to Fidelity Printers and Refiners.

Zimbabwe: Platinum Production to Drop 10%

Photo: Zimplats

Mining underground platinum mining (file photo).

Platinum production from Zimbabwe is estimated to drop 10 percent this year to 440 000 ounces as output normalises at the country’s largest operation, according to the World Platinum Council (WPC).

In its first quarter report for 2017, the WPC said North American supply increased three percent to 405 koz in response to greater yield from the primary platinum group metals mines but this will be partly offset by depletion in the Sudbury region.

Following a period of restructuring in 2016, WPC said output from Russia may grow three percent this year to 735 koz. “Production from Zimbabwe is estimated to drop by 10 percent to 440 koz as output normalises at the largest operation.

“There are unlikely to be significant sales from stock in 2017 as producers have now restored their stocks to their planned steady state levels, which are at least 50 koz lower than in 2015 and 2016,” said the World platinum body.

WPC said a net reduction of 10 koz is forecast for the year while total mining supply is estimated at 5,970 koz for 2017, which is a reduction of 1,5 percent compared to 2016.

Total platinum supply was 1,750 koz in the first quarter, a decline of four percent year-on-year, as a drop in primary supply (-90 koz) more than offset an increase in secondary supply (+25 koz). Global demand was one percent lower compared to first quarter of 2016 at 2,050 koz as weaker investment demand (-75 koz) outweighed gains in the automotive (+20 koz), jewellery (+20 koz) and industrial sectors (+10 koz).

With global supply contracting more than demand year-on-year, the market balance expanded to a deficit of 300 koz in first quarter of 2017. Refined production recovered to 1,390 koz in Q1’17 (+10 percent year-on-year) with processing capacity in full working order following outages in the first, third and fourth quarters of 2016. South African supply totalled 960 koz in the first quarter, an increase of 19 percent year-on-year, while supply from Zimbabwe decreased 19 percent year-on-year, reflecting a return to typical mine production levels.

Total mining supply is estimated at 1,330 koz in the first quarter following a rise in producer inventory, a fall of six percent compared to first quarter 2016 and a reduction of six percent on fourth quarter 2016.

Total platinum supply is projected to decline two percent year-on-year to 7,730 koz in 2017 as both primary and secondary supply are expected to decrease.

Refined production is forecast to fall one percent to 5,960 koz as slight increases in Russia (+20 koz) and North America (+10 koz) are outweighed by reductions in South Africa (-45 koz) and Zimbabwe (-50 koz).

Secondary supply is estimated to six percent to 1,760 koz. Jewellery recycling is projected to decline by 20 percent (-125 koz) to 500 koz this year as it returns to a more normal level in China after excess retail stock was returned to manufacturers last year, while autocatalysts recycling is expected to increase two percent (+20 koz) to 1,255 koz on improving volumes.

Global demand is forecast to drop six percent year-on-year to 7,795 koz, primarily owing to declines in industrial and investment demand. Global refined supply is forecast to fall one percent to 5,960 koz in 2017. South African output is estimated to decrease by one percent to 4,200 koz.

“This dip is attributable to restructuring (lower production targets) at some Western Limb operations, and lower yield from some Eastern Limb mines due to community disruption and depletion of reserves. Ramp-up of new shafts is projected to contribute around 120 koz this year,” said WPC.

Tanzania: Stamigold to Generate 350 Billion/ – in Two Years

Mwanza — State-owned gold mining company, Stamigold, is set to mine record 120,000 ounces of gold worth over 350bn/- in the next two years.

All is set for the job expected to start next month, with the firm’s General Manager, Mr Denis Sebugwao, saying explorations have already indicated the possibility of attaining the historical reserves.

According to Mr Sebugwao, the explorations undertaken in the Western Zone of the mine site have shown deposits amounting to 26,000 ounces and that of the Eastern zone has over 85000 ounces.

“We are glad to announce this historical milestone achieved by our public owned mining firm, with the two areas showing great potential in gold deposits never achieved before and which will be the biggest since the mining commenced in 2014,” he said.

He said the discovery of gold in the areas will require heavy investment of nearly 44 million US dollars (about 90bn/-) with strategies already in place to secure the funds from different sources.

Giving a brief statistics, Mr Sebugwao said up to March this year, the Company had produced over 51,000 ounces and at least 5,000 ounces of different concentrates all worth 127bn/-.

Due to the recorded income, the company has paid different government dues of about 35bn/-, with 515m/- committed to Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) activities in the villages surrounding the mine.

Mr Sebugwao maintained that a series of explorations will be undertaken in future, with one continuing on T 7 area and other nine sites with prospects of attaining over 70,000 ounces that will help to increase the life span of the mine for another two years.

Other master plans in the pipeline include the expansion of the processing plant to at least double the capacity, the investment likely to cost over 15 million US dollars.

“Reduction of production costs is one of our major targets and we plan to purchase the brand new mining machines worth over 12 million dollars, with soft loan from Exim Bank of China,” he said, hinting that the loan will be repaid in five years at a two per cent interest rate.

The purchase of own machines will relieve the company of the 10 million dollars it spends annually on renting equipment from private dealers.

Another achievement, according to Mr Sebugwao, is the agreement on power connection from the national grid before the end of next year if all goes well, again relieving the company of millions of money it pays for running the power generators.

He however pleaded for continued government support for the company to effectively undertake its operations and appreciated the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, which is about to allocate 10bn/- to fund different expenses.

South Africa: Lonmin Buys Remaining Stake in Pandora, Amid Flat Results and Strike

Lonmin [JSE:LON] has agreed to buy 7.5% of Pandora mines for R45.565m from Northam Platinum’s Mvelaphanda Resources to become the 100% owner.

It announced the purchase agreement on Monday, along with its interim results and 2017 second quarter production report. The announcements come as Lonmin continues to engage with strikers at its E2 and E3 shafts.

On 11 November 2016, Lonmin bought Anglo American Platinum’s 42.5% equity interest in the Pandora and is currently in the process of obtaining regulatory approvals for this acquisition which it anticipates to complete during 2017. Completion of the two transactions will result in Lonmin increasing its ownership in the Pandora JV to 100%, it explained.

The acquisition will allow Lonmin to consolidate its position in the shallow and high-grade mineral resource, it said. Pandora relies on Lonmin’s mining and processing infrastructure.

“This is an excellent strategic fit for Lonmin, which increases our exposure to a valuable asset with long-term development potential and allows us to maintain production levels at Saffy while significantly reducing our capital expenditure requirements at this operation over the short- and medium-term,” said Lonmin CEO Ben Magara in a statement on Monday.

Poor performance

Lonmin saw revenue decline 6% in 2017 to $486m, while net cash was down to $75m from $114m in 2016, it announced on Monday.

“The whole Lonmin team working in partnership reversed the weak mining performance seen in the first four months of our financial year,” said Magara in a separate statement.

“That improvement continues to be essential for the sustainability of the business in the prevailing low pricing environment. We are pleased to maintain our full year sales guidance at between 650 000 and 680 000 Platinum ounces.”Although unit cost guidance has increased we remain determined to be at least cash neutral in the current environment. While the improvement in mining performance since March is pleasing, I am not yet satisfied that we have delivered all that I know we can, and all of us at Lonmin recognise that this improvement needs to be sustained.”We are operating in a volatile and challenging environment, but we have the right team in place to manage these challenges.”Further, to enable maximum focus on production, and in line with our hands-on approach, we are moving Lonmin’s South African headquarters from Johannesburg to our operations in Marikana.” Tonnes mined from our Generation 2 shafts were 1.9 million tonnes, a decrease of 2.8% or 55,000 tonnes on theRegarding its second quarter production update from January to March 2017, Lonmin said its generation one shafts produced 0.5 million tonnes, a decrease of 21.8% on the comparative period. It said this was in line with its plan to “close high cost areas, in response to the oversupplied market, as seen from lower prices. Newman shaft was closed during the period.”The poor mining performance from Q1 2017 continued into January 2017, with mining production of 584 000 tonnes for the month,” it said on Monday.”The March production of 978 000 tonnes illustrates the mining improvement from the poor performance in the first four months to 31 January 2017.” Strike continues The results come as Lonmin on Sunday met with representatives of both the Bapo ba Mogale Traditional Council and the Unemployed Youth grouping, who have been protesting outside the company’s E2 and E3 shafts since 2 May 2017.

Lonmin had intended re-opening its E2 and E3 shaft operations on Monday, it said. “However, the company has decided to keep the operations closed until it is satisfied that it is safe for employees to return to work at these two shafts.

“The company has lost approximately 5 830 platinum ounces in production, amounting to approximately R56m, in the past 10 days since the protest began on 2 May,” it said on Sunday.

“Lonmin remains committed to engaging with all stakeholders in the community, and appeals to the traditional council and community members to return to discussions so that practical and achievable solutions to the current impasse may be found. Further, Lonmin appeals to the protestors not to engage in acts of violence or destruction, and to desist from threatening or intimidating employees and others.”

Source: Fin24

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Nigeria: Nigeria Has Been Sleeping On Its Solid Mineral Assets – Kareem

interviewBy Chris Agabi

Malam Tajudeen Kareem is the Chief Consultant at Proedge Limited, the firm behind the First Northern Nigeria Solid Minerals Fair and Workshop holding in Kaduna from tomorrow. He shares his thoughts in this interview.

What is the idea behind this event?

We conceived this platform basically to create awareness and wake all stakeholders from slumber. For too long, Nigeria has been sleeping on its vast endowments in steel and solid minerals. There is no state in this country that cannot survive on agriculture and solid minerals exploitation. It is unfortunate that we are enamoured by petro-dollars. We pay lip service to developing agriculture.

We are snoring as far as solid minerals exploration is concerned. The Indians and the Chinese are proving smarter. They are smiling to the banks with the huge proceeds from solid minerals. It is also worrisome that at the international market, buyers cannot separate our gold, diamond and other minerals from the ones sourced in Ghana or Sierra Leone.

What is the scope of the fair and what are your objectives?

This is the maiden edition of this specialised trade fair. It is a fair and a workshop. As we sensitise stakeholders, we also want to improve the capacity of small scale and artisanal mining operators. We have invited all big time and small scale miners. All the 19 state governments and chambers of commerce are expected at the three-day event. We are also expecting policy makers led by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, leaders in relevant agencies and those in the academia, including captains of relevant financial institutions.

The forum is basically a platform for sensitisation and creation of awareness, especially among governors and local council administrators, by showcasing the products and services in Nigeria’s solid minerals sector. We also intend to deepen the narrative on how and where to explore alternative sources of revenue for the states. We believe that through these strategies we can serve as catalysts in creating job opportunities through value addition and capacity building of prospective miners, processors, investors and sundry stakeholders.

We have invited experts and policy makers to help in creating awareness on best practices, application of technology and inherent environmental hazards. It is worrisome to see our people, young boys and girls, scooping metals and minerals with their bare hands. They are oblivious of the inherent dangers in that. Unfortunately government at the primary level has failed in curbing these harmful practices. Remember the lead poisoning in Zamfara and Niger states; we cannot continue to allow people die due to ignorance and neglect.

What are the prospects for attendance by those who are concerned?

The response has been quite encouraging. We have had pledges from some governors and their relevant officials. Federal Government agencies are also very enthusiastic in being part of this eye-opening forum. Specifically, those who have confirmed participation include the Bank of Industry, the Raw Materials Research and Development Council, Nigerian Investment Promotion Council and Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency. The private sector will also be properly represented through all chambers of commerce and the major mining companies across the North.

How will the small miners and traders benefit from this workshop?

We have made the condition for participation very friendly. This forum combines a trade fair setting with a workshop. At the end of the three-day event, all participants would have learnt best practice methods in harnessing solid mineral deposits and minimising inherent health hazards to individuals and communities; as well as curb environmental degradation and unhealthy practices that characterise illegal mining in many local communities.

The forum also seeks to energise states and local governments to organise and register artisanal miners operating in their domains in the bid to ensure safer mining environment and improve revenue both to individuals and the government.

It will also provide opportunity for miners to learn the benefits of cooperatives, safer mining processes, equipment leasing and financial support from sundry government agencies for improved productivity and profitability.

The Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Fayemi, has been going round the states, propagating the need to sanitise the mining business.

Going forward, this forum will further enable participants to learn, first-hand, the operation of Federal Government’s minerals buying centres across the country. This will ensure that minerals are properly priced and sold in a structured market setting as opposed to underground sales that had robbed both the local miners and the country of the expected financial gains.

Nigeria: Kaduna Nickle – Australian Miners Confirm Quality of Gemstones

By Ahmed Ali

Kafanchan — The initial fear that the exploration of the high grade nickel discovered at Dangoma village, Jema’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State last year may take a long time has been dispelled.

At the height of the crisis in the southern senatorial district of Kaduna some months back, the state government had imposed curfew on three of the local government areas, including Jema’a, and only lifted it on Wednesday when the state Security Council reviewed the situation.

Due to the crisis and other security issues, many investors pulled out of the area, with the fear that the multi-billion naira investments in ginger, potato and the nickel may be jeopardised.

The state governor, Malam Nasir el-Rufai had to caution the people of the area against taking actions that could lead to the loss of jobs and other socio-economic gains expected from such activities.

But last week, Hugh Morgan, the Australian miner who headed the team exploring for gemstones in Kaduna and later discovered the high grade nickel at Dangoma, made good his promise as he returned to the village.

His return brought fresh hopes to the community, that the miners have not abandoned the sites, and that very soon, all the expected benefits would start rolling in.

Morgan, who works in an Australian company, Comet, came with the result of his research into the sample of the nickels the company found last year. He said that after months of study and evaluation with the samples of the mineral deposits, it had been confirmed that the Dangoma nickels was of high grade as indicated by the elementary observation done at the site last year.

He said that based on research, the nickel found at Kagoma was the highest in quality, with 90 per cent high grade, and the first of its kind in the world.

During his visit to the palace of the Tum Nikyob, Mr. Tanko Tete, in Bakin Kogi Kaninkon, and the district head of Dangoma, Mahmuda Sulaiman, Morgan informed the community leaders that the assessment was based on research and several tests. In his reaction, Sulaiman, who informed Daily Trust on Sunday of the visit of the Australian miner, said they were very happy to hear that the nickel found in their land was world class.

“The Comet Mining Industry had spent quite some time doing the survey. They carried the sample with them to Australia, and now, they have come out with the result confirming that the grade of the nickel is more than 90 per cent.

“The government has been battling economic recession and talking about diversification of the economy, especially in the area of solid mineral development. So we thank God for this discovery, which will contribute a lot to the nation’s economy and help in tackling recession,” he said.

Our correspondent also found out that the company agreed on new terms with the landowners. It was gathered that the villagers had, through their leaders, demanded for projects to better the lives of their people.

The district head of Dangoma said, “We have brought our needs before him. We want them to build a hospital and boreholes for us, train our youths in skills, as well as pay compensation to the owners of the land.”

He also revealed that the company had so far provided the community with four boreholes while the Chief of Army Staff built one for them.

Speaking on the progress made so far, the district head said the miners had also committed resources towards expanding the scope of their search since all the preliminary findings turned out to be true.

“The first nickel was found in one farm, but after carrying a very deep survey, they discovered it in so many farms within the area. He told us that they would expand their scope of survey next month,” he said.

The Kaduna State Government also promised to link the community by road to Godogodo-Jagindi and other parts of the state.

The deputy governor of the state, Yusuf Barnabas Bala Bantex had, last month explained that the state government was working hard to create jobs to the people of the state. This action, according to him, will reduce insecurity in the state. He said Governor El-Rufai had directed that Dangoma be flooded with all the necessary facilities.

“We have realised the nexus that exists between unemployment, poverty and deprivation on one hand, and insecurity in the other hand. So we are committed to ensuring the creation of jobs for our youths. We cannot do these by employing people to work in the government, so we are attracting investors to come out with their money. We will assist them with land and give them all the necessary support to establish industries.

“The governor has directed that all the Dangoma area should be flooded with all the necessary roads, health facilities and schools so that we would have an orderly development of the area while mining activities are going on. The miners are also under the directives of the governor, that the youth of the area should be trained as miners who would take over from the white people at the end of the day, so that what is happening in the Niger Delta will not happen here. After 50 years in the Niger Delta we are just thinking about training the youth of the area to be familiar with drilling and other activities in the oil sector. The case has to be different in Kaduna State,” Bantex said.

Also speaking, the district head of Kagoma urged his people to continue to be law-abiding, saying that no developmental projects would succeed without peace.

Zimbabwe: d Gospel Couple ‘Mathias and Mildred’ Turns to Gold Mining

Celebrated gospel couple, Mathias and Mildred Madzvivanzira, of the now defunct but once popular, Mathias and Mildred Ministries, have ventured into gold mining after the mines ministry issued them with a licence to operate a mine in Mudzi.

Records at the Mashonaland East commissioner of mines offices in Marondera show that the couple have been granted a licence to venture into mining in the gold rich Makaha area in Mudzi district.

“The province is blessed with the coming in of new players in gold production such as Mathias and Mildred (M&M) in Mudzi area,” a report by the mines ministry says.

“Equipment installed includes the crushing, screening, milling, CIP sections and elution. The plant can process more than 300 tonnes of ore per day. The construction stage was recently completed and the plant is now on commissioning stage,” the report says.

While the value of the project was not disclosed the ministry said hundreds of locals in the area would be employed at the mine. The M&M mine is part of three other gold mines that have recently been granted licences by the government to operate in Mudzi.

Mathias and his wife were once well-known across Zimbabwe from 2005 to 2009 for performing miracle healings where thousands of people attended their Pentecostal church for “healing and deliverance”.

However, their popularity fell after allegations surfaced that Mathias had shot dead a domestic worker after she saw a snake vomiting money at their Ruwa home. The couple was also accused of engaging in Satanism, allegations which they dismissed, as the work of their opponents.

The couple has also attempted to revive their preaching by rebranding their church as Rock Chapel Assembly based in Ruwa, but very few people have been attending the sermons.

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Zimbabwe: Gospel Couple ‘Mathias and Mildred’ Turns to Gold Mining

Photo: The Patriot

(file photo).

Celebrated gospel couple, Mathias and Mildred Madzvivanzira, of the now defunct but once popular, Mathias and Mildred Ministries, have ventured into gold mining after the mines ministry issued them with a licence to operate a mine in Mudzi.

Records at the Mashonaland East commissioner of mines offices in Marondera show that the couple have been granted a licence to venture into mining in the gold rich Makaha area in Mudzi district.

“The province is blessed with the coming in of new players in gold production such as Mathias and Mildred (M&M) in Mudzi area,” a report by the mines ministry says.

“Equipment installed includes the crushing, screening, milling, CIP sections and elution. The plant can process more than 300 tonnes of ore per day. The construction stage was recently completed and the plant is now on commissioning stage,” the report says.

While the value of the project was not disclosed the ministry said hundreds of locals in the area would be employed at the mine. The M&M mine is part of three other gold mines that have recently been granted licences by the government to operate in Mudzi.

Mathias and his wife were once well-known across Zimbabwe from 2005 to 2009 for performing miracle healings where thousands of people attended their Pentecostal church for “healing and deliverance”.

However, their popularity fell after allegations surfaced that Mathias had shot dead a domestic worker after she saw a snake vomiting money at their Ruwa home. The couple was also accused of engaging in Satanism, allegations which they dismissed, as the work of their opponents.

The couple has also attempted to revive their preaching by rebranding their church as Rock Chapel Assembly based in Ruwa, but very few people have been attending the sermons.

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