The country’s largest gold producer Metallon Gold Corporation plans to produce 500 000 ounces of bullion per year in the next five years buoyed by expansion projects.
By Fidelity Mhlanga
The group’s technical director Isadore Matunhire said Mazowe mine was sitting on 8,3 million ounces of gold which would need 83 years to exhaust at current extraction rate. Should the company embark on ambitious expansion programmes, Matunhire said it would take 20 years to exhaust the resource.
“We are sitting on 8,3 million ounces in the ground such that if we mine 100 000 ounces per year, it will take us 83 years to exhaust the minerals. But our plan is to produce 500 000 ounces in the next five years. If we do that the 8,3 million ounces can be mined in 20 years,” Matunhire told journalists on Wednesday during a tour of Metallon’s Mazowe mine.
Last year, the group produced 97 000 ounces and expects to realise 120 000 ounces by end of this year.
Mazowe mine manager Oswald Makonese said Metallon targets to be the top three gold producer once the expansion programmes are complete.
“Exciting things are happening. We are undertaking an expansion project. Mazowe is going to be the centre of gold mining in Zimbabwe not in the distant time from now,” he said.
The gold producer is construction on the new processing plant in Mazowe is currently now 95% complete and has so far spent US$12 million.
The plant is expected to be commissioned by end of October. Upon completion, group projects manager Ellson Chabaya said, the plant will process at least 65 000 tonnes a month, producing 2 000 ounces a month.
The company projects to recover 1,10 grammes of gold per tonne from the 65 000 tonnes. 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. In the second quarter of 2016 (Q2), the gold producer’s bullion output jumped 9% to 22,565 ounces.
Gold is currently Zimbabwe’s largest foreign currency earner with exports valued at US$503 million by end of October last year.
Metallon owns five mines in Zimbabwe, namely How Mine, Mazowe, Shamva , Redwing and Arcturus, which is under care and maintenance.