RioZim diamond arm misses target

Roadwin Chirara

MUROWA Diamond mine has missed its production projections for 2004 due to problems associated with commissioning of the project, RioZim has said.



Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>The diamond mine, which was commissioned in August last year, managed to produce 46 000 carats of the precious stone despite initial technical hitches.


One of the country’s major mining investments, Murowa managed to post an attributable profit of $1 billion in its first five months of operation, according to the holding company, RioZim’s annual results for the year to December.


“Teething problems encountered during the commissioning of the plant hampered achievement of a higher output,” the company said.


The holding company has a 22% shareholding in the mine while its international partners, Rio Tinto Plc, controls the remaining 78%.


RioZim said it was also looking at reviewing its current arrangement with Beta Coal over the Sengwa coal fields when the current deal expires at the end of August.


The company said it was still holding discussions with potential investors in a bid to develop a power station on the coal fields.


“The desire to develop a power station on the Sengwa coal fields remains paramount and discussions with interested parties in this regard continue,” said the company.


RioZim said its Renco gold mine operations continued to face production challenges due to a decline in ore grades.


“Renco mine continued to experience grade problems as reported in 2003 and consequently gold production declined further from 769 kg in 2003 to 651 kg in 2004,” RioZim said.


RioZim’s Empress Nickel Refinery also recorded a decline in output which it attributed to a shutdown during the refurbishment of the BCL Smelter.


The refinery saw its copper output declining to 5 993 tonnes compared to 6 830 tonnes in 2003, while its nickel output also took a dive from 7 159 tonnes in 2003 to 5 660 tonnes.


“A breakdown of a nickel rectifier transformer in November unfortunately reduced production capacity by 9% for two months,” RioZim said.


RioZim Ltd recorded a net attributable profit of $18,9 billion for 2004 compared to $5,8 billion in 2003.


The company said $15,5 billion was unrealised gain on conversion of shareholding as a result of a restructuring transaction carried out during the year under review.

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