MWANA Africa on Monday reported that gold production at its Freda Rebecca gold mine declined by 25 percent quarter-on-quarter to 13,072 ounces for the three months ended December.
The slump was attributed to a mill being temporarily unavailable as a result of engineering downtime and shutdowns.
“These were undertaken to make modifications which the company anticipates will lead to an improvement in throughput. Production was also impacted by a drop in head grade due to the temporary cessation of mining at its open pit operations,” the company said in a statement.
“Our priority number one is to continue delivering in cash and production; we want to ramp up our gold production to 70,000 ounces per annum which will have material impact on our cash costs.
“Freda Rebecca, although it is an underground gold mine, is one of the few profitable underground gold mines in the world today, the reason being it is almost like an underground quarry, so in order to push our costs down we need to push up our volumes and this is what we are focusing on.
“We are focusing on increasing our mining rate, our milling rate and also seeking to improve on our recovery rate.”
However, the company’s 75 percent-owned subsidiary Bindura Nickel Corporation saw a 76 percent quarter-on-quarter increase in nickel-in-concentrate sales to 2 651 tonnes from its Trojan operation, in Zimbabwe.
“Operationally, this has been a mixed quarter for the company. We are very pleased with the progress at Trojan and this demonstrates the robustness of the asset. Freda Rebecca, however, had a difficult quarter due to reduced mill availabilities,” Mwana CEO Kalaa Mpinga said.
The company explained that the mill at Freda Rebecca was undergoing modifications that would lead to improved throughput.
Further, at the Trojan mine all-in sustaining costs had increased from US$10 390/t to US$11 819/t as a result of the continued production ramp-up and the start of the shaft re-deepening.
Mwana added that the mine’s quarterly revenue increased by 74 percent, at US$24,5-million, owing to higher sales volumes.
Mpinga said the company was also targeting to increase production at Bindura Nickel Corporation to 8,000 tonnes of concentrate per annum.
Despite operating in an environment that is short of liquidity, the targets were achievable due to other enabling factors including support from the government.
“The country has over 100 years of history in mining so there is legislative framework that works very well, there is an administration that understands the needs and requirements of the mining industry and is in fact very supportive,” he said.
Apart from its two mines in Zimbabwe, Mwana Africa also has operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Africa.Advertisement