The Zimbabwean government has announced it has accidentally discovered fresh platinum and gold deposits.
Authorities say they stumbled upon the deposits while “accidentally” examining sand that had gold particles in the resort town of Kariba. Government has swiftly moved in to conduct large-scale mining.
we have not yet established the size of the deposit
Mines minister, Walter Chidakwa told local media at the weekend that the quantum of the deposits is yet to be verified. “Gold deposits have been discovered at Gache Gache and during sampling it was later discovered that there are also platinum group metals,” he said.
“While we have done geological work on certain specific areas, we have not yet established the size of the deposit. So they are still working on a planned drilling programme, which will give us a volumetric understanding of how big the deposit is.”
Zimbabwe currently has the second largest known platinum reserves after South Africa.
Experts say underfunding and limited exploration has over the years stifled growth of the mining sector, now the mainstay of the economy after overtaking agriculture.
Chidakwa ruled out embarking on a joint venture to explore the deposits. He said only the government has the capacity and responsibility to embark on the complex process of extracting minerals from rivers.
“I want people to know those who might have interests in mining on the riverbeds that it is the responsibility of government and not the private sector,” Chidakwa said.
The southern African nation recently kicked out all private players from the Marange diamond fields after several years of extraction of the precious mineral with proceeds shrouded in mystery.
Both mineral deposits were discovered with help from a Chinese firm, which is upgrading a power station.
Sand abstracted from the river bed was suspected to have gold particles resulting in samples being taken for examination.