The country’s largest gold producer Metallon Corporation’s bullion output in the second quarter of 2016 (Q2) jumped 9% to 22,565 ounces compared to 20,673 ounces in the previous quarter.
By Fidelity Mhlanga
This was despite losing 1 700 ounces in 112 hours of lost production due to power shortages in the same period.
Production for the year to date is now pegged at 43,238 ounces.
Metallon CE Ken Mekani said the company delivered a positive performance in Q2 2016 as production increased almost 10% and all-in-sustaining costs (AISC) reduced by 16% quarter on quarter with operations at How Mine achieving strong results.
Mekani said the new processing plant at Mazowe was 80% constructed with all key equipment on site, adding the plant will be commissioned in Q4 2016.
“The appointment of contract miners at Shamva Mine and ramp up at Redwing Mine will also provide increased production in the second half of the year. We look forward to the continued expansion across the group and reaffirm our production target of 120 000 ounces in 201,” he said.
Gold is currently Zimbanwe’s largest foreign currency earner with exports valued at US$503 million by end of October last year.
The increase in gold production in Q2 2016 was mostly due to an outstanding performance at How Mine.
The Q2 2016 group costs were US$764 per ounce and all-in-sustaining costs were US$971 per ounce. This is an improvement of 14% and 16% compared to Q1 2016 (Q1 2016: C1 cost US$884 and US$1 156).
This improvement, Metallon said was the result of increased production and cost savings from overtime control and central procurement.
The company said new tailing storage facilities (TSF) at Shamva Mine will be commissioned in Q4 2016.
“Plans are scheduled to refurbish the Processing Plant at Shamva Mine to 70 000 tonnes per month capacity, which would increase production in 2017. In Q2 2016 Management appointed contract miners at Shamva Mine. Contract miners commenced on 1st August 2016 and management are confident that positive results will be generated in Q3 2016.
Dependant on performance, management may consider use of contract miners across the Group,” said the company.
It further said construction on the new Processing Plant and Tsf at Mazowe is currently at 80% and commissioning is anticipated in Q4 2016. The new Mazowe processing plant will increase capacity at the mine to 70 000 tonnes per month.
At Redwing Mine, the company expects to increase to 22 000 tonnes per month by Q4 2016 following the resumption of operations in November 2015 with plans underway to increase production to 50 000 tonnes per month in 2017.
This year, Metallon will be focused on upgrading the inferred section of its resource into the measured and indicated category.
This exploration programme across Metallon’s mines is positioning the company for increased production over the next five years.
Mekani said despite the biting liquidity crisis the company was encouraged by the prioritising of payments within the mining sector.
“Although the initial on-set of liquidity challenges impacted mining activities due to delays in paying for imported products, we are encouraged that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is prioritising payments within the mining sector. Metallon continues to work closely with the Chamber of Mines and we are engaging regularly with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development,” Mekani said.