Alaska Mine

Alaska Mine

Alaska Mine is large open pit copper mine 13 miles (20 km) NNW of Sinoia. It is believed it named after the rich goldfields which had been discovered about the same time in Alaska, North America. In pre-colonial times, miners were believed to have mined about a million tonnes of ore at the mine and it was regarded as the largest of ancient workings in Zimbabwe. It is the centre of smelting and refining operations for all the Lomagundi copper mines.

Messina (Transvaal) Development Company (MTD), associated with Mangula Mines Ltd but separately incorporated in Rhodesia as Lomagundi Smelting and Mining Ltd, started producing copper in 1959. MTD built a smelter nearby in 1966 and a refinery in 1980 but the mine closed in 1977. Other mines in the district also produced copper flotation concentrate which was brought to Alaska for smelting and refining. These Mines included Mhangura copper mine in Mhangura and Shackleton mine near Lions Den.

The smelter and refinery closed in late 2000 by which time most of the mines feeding it had to close, devastating the local economy and plunging the town’s inhabitants into poverty. Periodic reports of Chinese investment reopening the mine and smelter have not come to fruition.

Reconstruction of the Alaska Smelting Plant has started nearly two decades after the facility owned by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation, stopped operations. Alaska was shut down at the turn of the millennium following the closure of Mhangura Copper Mines-also owned by the ZMDC, which provided concentrate for the smelter.

Postal Services

The Postal Agency operated from the Alaska Trading Store.