MWANA Africa’s Freda Rebecca has now exceeded its target of an annualised production rate of 50 000 ounces.
However the rest of the gold-mining sector is currently operating at below 50% capacity with only a few mines such as Freda Rebecca, Blanket Mine and Casmyn Mining having reached full capacity. Freda Rebecca production in the quarter to June 30 rose by 25,7% to 17 950 ounces, from the March quarter of 14 280 ounces, which the group said was equivalent to annualised production rate of 71 800 ounces per annum.
Overall, in the five months to May, gold miners produced 7 162kg of bullion worth US$376,04 million.
In a statement, the Mwana Africa group said in spite of ongoing political uncertainty and indigenisation in Zimbabwe, Freda Rebecca Gold Mine had reached and exceeded its target annualised production rate of 50 000 ounces of production per annum.
In May, the group disposed of a 15% interest in Freda Rebecca at a cost of US$405 000 to businessman Kenneth Musanhi.
In 2005, Mwana Africa acquired a 100% stake in Freda from AngloGold Ashanti for a discounted US$2,5 million, with an obligation to sell 15% to a local investor.
Mwana Africa CEO Kalaa Mpinga said the mine remained a significant cash-generating project and demonstrated the group’s ability to revitalise previously-closed operations, rebuild a strong management team in Zimbabwe, access competitive debt finance and restore one of Zimbabwe’s major mines to profitable production.
In the year to March, ramp up in production at Freda Rebecca continued after the installation and commissioning of the second milling circuit in June 2011.
The production rate of 50 000 oz per annum was established in the quarter to September 2011.
For the whole of the financial year, Freda Rebecca produced a total of 47 770 oz of gold, contributing US$17,7 million to group profits and generating US$15,5 million of cash inflows.
“We remain confident that Freda Rebecca will continue to be a robust provider of cash flow and revenue and we are now focused on expanding production further and introducing operating efficiencies.
These will have the effect of further increasing production levels beyond 50 000 oz per annum while simultaneously reducing operating costs,” said the group.
The mine produced 47,770 oz of gold in the year to March 2012, an increase of 75,4% from the March 2011 financial year’s 27,240 oz.
Average quarterly production for the financial period was 11,943 oz, and the highest level of gold production achieved in a single month was in January 2012, when 5,175 oz of the precious metal was produced. First quarter 2012 continued the trend of increased production, with a total of 14,272 ounces the yellow metal produced.
The group said external consultants were hired to assist the operations team with the plant optimisation work at Freda Rebecca.
The process plant is presently processing ore at the rate of 2,700t per day, the group said.