Rio’s nickel output up by 300t

Staff Writer

RIO Tinto Zimbabwe Ltd (Rio) says their nickel production for the fourth quarter to December grew by more than 300 tonnes.



rif”>In a fourth quarter update released last week the mining company said nickel produced grew by 324 tonnes from last year.


Nickel tonnage at Empress Refinery in the period under review increased to 1 803 tonnes, up from 1 479 tonnes.


The rise could be attributed to the smooth flow of operation at the refinery. The company also announced gold production had decreased.


Renco Mine, their only remaining gold mine, saw its gold output sliding 317 ounces on last year.


During the fourth quarter Renco produced 6 347 ounces, down on 6 664 oz achieved during the comparative period last year.


Total ore processed at the mine was 3 760 tonnes lower than the same period last year, at 60 931 tonnes. However the average ore grade decreased by 10 grammes a tonne.


In the just ended quarter ore grade firmed significantly to 356 g/t, up on last year’s 346 g/t.


Total gold produced by the listed company was also down on last year but firm on the third quarter this year.


A total of 6 347oz was produced, significantly lower than 7 418 oz last year.

The figure was however slightly firm on the second quarter.


The disposal of Patchway Mine last year also had a bearing on the gold output.


Rio disposed of Patchway Mine last year to concentrate on its major gold operation.


The group said the mine situated in Kadoma was too small to fit into the group’s strategy.


In 2002 Patchway Mine contributed 7 312 oz to the group’s total gold production of 38 017 oz.


Last year the mine had an average ore grade of 2,09 g/t.

Rio has leased out its Gokwe-based coal mine, Sengwa Mine, to Beta Holdings Ltd.