by Zambezi Society
(6th July 2012)


Report on meeting with Mr. Paul Chimbodza, C.E.O. of GeoAssociates Private LTD – the Proponent

Cell: 0772325666; email: cpaul@earth.co.zw or geoassociates@earth.co.zw

Date: 6th July 2012

Prepared by the Zambezi Society

1. Background information on the proposed mining project:
Prospecting/exploration licences have been granted (Sept. 2011) to GeoAssociates, a locally owned company to undertake exploration activities for Heavy Mineral Sand Deposits (HMSD) in Ruckomechi and Chewore rivers. The licenses cover an area from the escarpment to the Zambezi River (45km for Ruckomechi and 65km for Chewore).

According to Mr. Chimbodza, the Zambezi valley was chosen due to its richness in HMSD, as well as the fact that there would be no clearing in the river and that the company is aware that the Ministry of Water is in the process of desilting rivers in the country, so the proposed project would be in line with that. He says that this will be the first mining of this kind in Zimbabwe. The company also presently mines gold, industrial minerals etc in different parts of the country. The Zambezi valley is the most abundant area in terms of HMSD and this is where they intend to mine. They are not considering alternative sites for the project.

The local mining company has external partners (investors) who insisted that an EIA be done. The consultation process however is becoming more complex than the company anticipated.

The EIA consultants are Impact Assessment Consultancy (IMPACO), and the focal point is Mr. Itayi, contact details (0772264107; 0775884176; email: itaigc@impaco.org).

2. Uses of the Mineral Sands:
The principal heavy minerals of commercial interest in HMSD are rutile, ilmenite, leucoxene and zircon :
• Rutile (TiO2) is a red to black, naturally occurring titanium dioxide with a theoretical TiO2 content of 100%, but impurities such as Fe2O3 and Cr2O2 reduce this to 93–95%.
• Ilmenite (FeTiO3) is black and opaque when fresh, but has typically undergone some weathering and iron removal, so TiO2 contents are between 45 and 65%.
• Leucoxene is the name given to highly altered ilmenite. Grains are brown or grey with a waxy lustre and TiO2 content of 68%.
• Zircon (ZrSiO4), a colourless to off-white mineral, is the world’s major source of zirconium products.

Mr. Chimbodza said they intended to just mine the ore and sell it. Nonetheless, HMSD are often used:
• as raw materials for paints and dyes
• to enhance colour in plastics, paper and rubber
• in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals
• to produce titanium alloy metals (used in aircraft, spacecraft and medical prostheses)
• in the steel industry for furnace linings and foundry moulds
• in ceramic glazes and specialised ceramics such as electrical porcelain

3. Mining Method to be used:
The mining method is presently under discussion, but the two most likely methods include:
• Dredging or suction – works like a vacuum cleaner sucking up the sand
• Earth moving – actually digging out the sand and trucking it away for processing

4. Processing:
The processing of the mineral sand is likely to be done in Chirundu. This is because the area is close to the mining sites and already has infrastructural developments such as water, electricity, telephone, etc.

5. Anticipated Impacts so far:

Impacts Identified by Mr. Chimbodza

Positive Impact
Capacity building for Parks (equipment for monitoring poaching activities, etc)
Value extracted from the sand resulting in taxes and royalties being paid to the government
Employment creation
Upgrading of access roads for Parks
Improvement of infrastructure in Chirundu

Negative Impacts
Human/wildlife conflict
Possible obstruction of river flowNoise
Introduction of more people to the area (aside from tourists)
Disturbance to existing safari operations

6. Proposed Mitigation Measures by Mr. Chimbodza:
Siting mining activities away from existing tourist/safari operations (Mr. Rod Huck of the Lower Zambezi Tour Operators Association of Zimbabwe has already contacted the mining company about the impact that the mining activities will have on photographic safari activities by the Ruckomechi River).
More mitigation measures to be determined by EIA specialist

Prepared by The Zambezi Society
Website: www.zamsoc.org
E-mail: zambezi@iwayafrica.co.zw or zamsoc@gmail.com
Tel: +263 4 747004


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Jul 26, 2012
Most serious threats to the integrity of Mana Pools NP
by: Dick Pitman

Hi guys - I see you are onto this already. Personal opinion (and I was chair/director of The Zambezi Society for 30 years) is that this is one of the most serious threats to the integrity of Mana Pools NP and the Mid-Zam World Heritage Site that we've yet to see.

The Parks Authority and the Environmental Management Agency (EMA) have their hands tied as powerful interests are involved. A massive public reaction would be useful - I was at Mana last week and it was crammed with SA visitors.

There's an FB site people can sign up to, on facebook and Zambezi Society has some authoritative info on http://www.zamsoc.org/?cat=4.

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