PAN-AFRICAN mining group Mwana Africa (Mwana) forecasts improved operating efficiencies at two of its Zimbabwean operations, Freda Rebecca and Trojan Nickel, in the second quarter of 2015.
In its quarterly operations and exploration update for the first quarter in the company’s 2015 financial year, Mwana said modifications were undertaken at Freda Rebecca to improve the efficiency of mills, in the period ended June 2014 whilst mobile equipment was taken out of commission for refurbishing impacting production at Trojan Nickel.
“This quarter was mixed as various modifications intended to improve efficiency at Freda Rebecca and Trojan Nickel has been undertaken and the result of these changes will not be reflected until our Q2 update,” Mwana CEO Kalla Mpinga said in a statement.
Mpinga said work undertaken was part of an equipment rebuilding exercise to pave the way for ramping up in the second quarter at Trojan Nickel and improved mill efficiency at Freda Rebecca, putting both mines in a stronger position for the coming quarter.
“Overall I am pleased to report that there was a 8% increase in head grade at Freda Rebecca which we believe will be sustained, commissioning continues at the Freda Rebecca’s tailings retreatment and Klipspringer continues to make progress.”
In the quarter under review, Mwana reported a 1% increase in production to 13,503oz at Freda Rebbecca compared to 13,380oz in the fourth quarter of 2015, reflecting an 8% rise in head grade to 2,07g/t as a result of improvements in main production block feed grade.
The group said recovery was 6, 2% lower compared to the previous quarter at 76,8% due to temporary power supply failures at two absorption tanks.
“Gold recovery was down 7%, reflecting the impact of a month-long temporary power supply failure to two absorption tanks due to faulty cables,” said Mwana.
Tones mined stood at 370 755, up from 282 078 the previous quarter while the tones milled stood at 263 531, down from 279 879 prior period.
Cash costs up 2% to US$1,078/oz.
At Trojan Nickel, nickel in concentrate production was 14% lower than the previous quarter at 1,902t as underground mobile equipment was taken out of commission for refurbishment and due to mining of lower grade areas.
“This refurbishment forms part of underground equipment rebuild programme to be completed by December 2014 which will facilitate the development and production ramp-up planned for the second half of the calendar year.”
Head grade slid by 6% to 1,5% while recovery also went down 4,7% to 84,1% .
Cash costs at Trojan Nickel went up 21% to US$13,750/t while all-in-sustaining costs-reflecting cash costs per ounce sold plus depreciation and amortisation- also grew 29% to US$15 750/t as a result of lower production and refurbishment of equipment.
In the company’s latest audited annual report for the year to 31 March 2014, Mwana said gold sales at Freda Rebecca slid to 58,704 ounces for the year (from 65,350 ounces in 2013.
Mwana said group net profit for the year was US$50, 6 million after a US$28 million reversal of impairment on Bindura Nickel Corporation and a 30, 5% revenue growth to US$142, 5 million.