|Summary / Abstract
The Republic of Zimbabwe is situated in south central Africa and north of the Tropic of Capricorn. The country is land-locked, bounded on the north by Zambia, on the south by the Republic of South Africa, on the east by Mozambique and on the southwest by Botswana.
Nearly 400,000 sq km in area, Zimbabwe is bigger than both France and Spain and nearly three times the size of England. The outstanding physical feature is the central plateau, known as the highveld, which is about 650 km long and 80 km wide at an elevation of +1,200 m, and on which the Jena Mines is located.
Because of its elevation and inland position, Zimbabwe's climate is temperate, generally drier and cooler than is normally expected in the tropics.
Zimbabwe's population is in excess of 10 million. English is the official language, with Ndebele and Shona being the main ethnic languages. About one million people live in Greater Harare, the capital city.
The basic unit of currency is the Zimbabwe dollar, which has depreciated substantially over the past few years. Currently (November, 1995), the exchange rate is $US 1.00 = $Zim 9.00, compared with $US 1 .OO = $Zim 2.50 in 1991.
The Jena Mines Complex is situated in central Zimbabwe (Figure 1), in the Silobela area of the lower Gweru River valley. The mine site is 270 km from Harare by paved and gravel road. The Jena Mines property consists of a single rectangular (8 km by 5 km) shaped mining lease with an area of approximately 40 sq km (Figure 2).
Annual average precipitation is 720 mm falling in the summer months between October and April. Mean daily maximum temperature is 24°C in October and mean minimum is 14°C in July. The southern parts of Zimbabwe have experienced drought conditions over the past four years which has affected water and power supplies.
The countryside in the Jena area is generally low relief with a gentle slope to the northwest. The mine site topography is flat with an average elevation of 1,210 m.
Zimbabwe Mining Industry
Zimbabwe has a long mining tradition, particularly for gold. In the 1,200 years preceding European colonization, it is estimated that about 4,000 ancient mines produced between 600 and 800 tonnes of gold. Since the turn of the century more than 1,700 tonnes of gold have been produced.
An excellent infrastructure has developed to support the mining industry. This includes a well- maintained system of paved roads, railway links to major mining areas, an electricity grid covering most of the country, and numerous industries manufacturing a wide range of mining supplies.
The claims in the Jena Mines area are among the earliest registered in Zimbabwe. The gold potential was easily recognized because of extensive ancient (pre-European) workings. European trading beads from the 14th Century have been recovered from anthills in the mine area. Development of the Jena Mines commenced in 1898 and several mines have operated intermittently over the past 90 years. The recorded cumulative historical production from the significant producers of Jena is tabulated in the following: