RioZim commends US$ retention reviews, pushes for improved power supply

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By Alois Vinga

LISTED mining group RioZim has commended authorities for the upward review of US$ retention thresholds for the mining sector amid calls for improved power supplies to enable industry to maximise production potential.

In a Monetary Policy Statement (MPS) presented by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) early this year, the mining sector was allowed to retain 75% of their foreign currency with the remainder 25% being paid in local currency at the prevailing official exchange rate.

Prior to this, miners were only allowed to retain 60% foreign currency and 40% local currency, a situation which left the sector crying foul.

Presenting details on the group’s performance for the year ended December 31 2022, RioZim chairman Saleem Rashid Beebeejaun said despite current power challenges, the bold step by authorities on the retention side ought to be welcome.

“The Group, however, welcomes the efforts by the Government to address these challenges as shown by the upward revision of the United States dollar retention ratio from 60% to 75% subsequent to the period end in February 2023,” he said.

However, the company bemoaned the impact of power outages on productivity saying at Renco Mine, there was a significant cut back which saw gold production dropping by 28% from prior year’s production of 561kg to 402kg in the year under review.

At Cam and Motor Mine, output at 527kg for the year being a 50% growth compared to 351kg produced from One-Step mining operations in the prior year was well below its capacity due to power supply challenges as with our other operations.

“Power supply remains a major threat to the Group’s operations. The Group is focusing on back-up power generators across the mines albeit this will be at a significantly high operating cost.

“In the medium to long term, the Group continues to pursue its pipeline power projects, with particular focus on solar energy, which will be a lasting solution to the power challenges for the mines,” said Beebeejaun.

Overall, gold production recorded a 17% decline to 929 kg from 1 122kg produced in the prior year.

Subsequent to the commissioning of the BIOX plant at Cam and Motor mine, the group focused on optimising the plant to bring it to nameplate capacity and eliminating teething challenges hence production was subdued.