Regional Focus

A mid the global energy transition and general upswing in commodity demand, there has been a significant increase in the number of new openpit projects coming on line for lithium mining in Zimbabwe, says diversified explosives and chemicals group AECI Mining Explosives MD Alois Kwenda.

As a well-established, reliable supplier of mining chemicals and explosives, AECI Mining Explosives aims to empower local mining companies to take advantage of opportunities that arise, because of increased demand for metals and minerals, by providing technologically advanced products and services to support these ambitions.

The group aims to simplify its supply chain and logistics network by building an in-country bulk explosives manufacturing plant and storage facilities strategically located to supply various mining projects within Zimbabwe.

The project, a partnership with local companies, is at an advanced stage and planned to be commissioned by the second quarter of 2024.

“The plant will go a long way in ensuring local product availability for the growing market. AECI Mining Explosives has long since been established as a supplier of choice for underground bulk emulsion, initiation systems and services to the Zimbabwean underground mining segment,” Kwenda assures.

The demand for AECI Mining Explosives products from platinum group metals industry players is also increasing on the back of higher commodity pricing and demand, he notes.

As part of its contribution to improving mining output and efficiency in Zimbabwe, the company completed a project in February 2023 for a hard-rock openpit gold mine that involved the drafting of technical designs, products and services to enhance rock fragmentation at a site previously serviced by a competitor explosives provider.

The project improved efficiencies and recovery of gold, thereby securing the award of a three-year contract.

In addition to these developments, the company will launch its IntelliShot electronic initiation system for specialised blasting applications in 2024 to the Zimbabwean market to further improve the safety and efficiencies of blast outcomes.

Kwenda describes the sector as a “dynamic environment”, whereby quick adaptation and organisational flexibility are key elements for business success.

“We trust that the environment will stabilise over time and bring about better predictability for us as a business. We have operated in Zimbabwe for over 50 years and I believe that we have become adept at operating in its dynamic environment,” Kwenda concludes. 

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