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Rio nickel output firms

Staff Writer

RIO Tinto Zimbabwe Ltd says its nickel output has slightly firmed during the period to September.

Rio Tinto also mines

gold and helps earn millions in foreign currency for Zimbabwe.

For the three months nickel produced at Empress Nickel Refinery improved to 1 836 tonnes, up from 1 761 tonnes during the comparative period last year.

Nickel production in third quarter also improved on the previous quarter, increasing by 355 tonnes from 1481 tonnes.

Total ore treated at Renco Mine increased to 64 029 tonnes, up from 62 593 tonnes achieved during the same period last year.

Average ore grade however, remained subdued slipping by 25 grammes a tonne to 370gt up from a 395g/t recorded last year.

The ore grade, however, improved over the second quarter from 3,56 g/t to 3,70 g/t in the current period representing 14g/t increase in the period under review.

Total gold production at Renco plummeted during the period under review to ease at 6 208 ounces, down from 7 414 ounces during the same period last year.

The company said gold production in the just ended quarter had improved by 90 ounces over the second quarter this year.

Total gold produced during the period under review slumped to 6 208 ounces, down from 9 112 ounces during the same period last year.

The figure was also 967 ounces than the previous quarter.

The slump in the total gold produced has been caused by the absence of Patchway Mine in Kadoma, which was disposed from the mining group last year.

Rio Tinto divested from Patchway to concentrate on larger mining projects.

The country earns more than US$100 million from gold exports and this boosts the fiscus annually.

However the mining industry is currently going through a bad patch caused by uneconomic prices to miners.

The continued pegging of the Zimbabwe dollar at $824 against the greenback has also seriously affected mineral production.

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