SMM in bid to recover US$18m

Ndamu Sandu

THE world’s fifth largest producer of chrysotile asbestos, Shabani Mashaba Mines (SMM), has appointed a three-member committee to recover US$18 million owed by its former marketing agent, Souther

n Africa Sales (SAS).

South African-based SAS, which handled more than 100 000 tonnes of asbestos exports yearly, owes SMM the US$108 million.

The team, which comprises Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) chairman Gibson Mandishona and National Parks chairman Buzwani Mothobi, is headed by Harare lawyer, Simplisius Chihambakwe.

SMM chairman, Abner Botsh, said the team was working with regulatory authorities to recover the money.

“The SMM Holdings board will leave no stone unturned in recovering the money owed to our asbestos mining division, AA Mines, so that the viability of the mines is not compromised,” he said.

The Mineral Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) took over the marketing rights of asbestos fibre from Africa Associated Mines (AAM) in April in line with the Minerals Marketing Act.

MMCZ said the corporation had given due and careful consideration to the implications of this marketing arrangement and was confident that present asbestos production, marketing and revenue levels would be sustained, with a view to improving these factors over time.

AAM had been marketing chrysotile asbestos for seven years.

Figures from MMCZ reveal that asbestos exports fetched between US$520 and US$545 per tonne in 1996 when MMCZ last marketed the mineral while last year the figures dropped to an average of US$250 per tonne.

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