Mabwe Minerals, together with a number of key partners, is busy developing a world-class deposit of barite (BaSO4) in Zimbabwe in southern Africa. The company's Dodge Mine project in northeast Zimbabwe is the current focus, where ASCON validation studies of just one part of the property indicate 411,000 tons of barite and 531,000 tons of limestone, representing a current market value of approximately $79 million, just for a start. Baker Hughes, Inc., one of the world's top-tier oilfield service companies, has already lined up as a major buyer, looking for roughly 3 million metric tons at 220,000 tons annually for 13.5 years, totaling out to $450 million at current prices.
Barite's most common application is as a weighting agent for use during drilling in the oil and gas industry, which means a global market. As production takes off, the company considers itself well positioned to support the barite demands of oil operations throughout the Middle East and Europe, as well as from large scale oil discoveries off the coast of Mozambique, which borders Zimbabwe on the east.
To facilitate production, the company is forging strategic partnerships with Steinbock Minerals, Ltd. and Yasheya, Ltd. Steinbock Minerals, a Swiss based supplier of industrial minerals, has extensive experience with barite and similar minerals, and is considered a key link to the global barite market. Based in Hong Kong, Yasheya is established worldwide as a leader in the transport of industrial minerals and specializes in ocean shipping, as well as containers, coasters, barging, railing, trucking, and warehousing.
All operations of the Dodge project are being managed by WGB Kinsey & Company, a well-equipped and long-standing construction company in Zimbabwe, with both open pit and open cast mining experience in various minerals.
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