Trojan mine restart boosts Mwana Africa

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THE restart of Bindura Nickel Corporation’s (BNC’s) Trojan mine in April offset lower revenue from the Freda Rebecca mine, Aim-listed Mwana said on Wednesday.
Mwana generated a 7% higher group revenue for the interim period to September, reaching $65-million during the period under review, compared with $60.7-million during the first half of 2012.
Revenue from the Freda Rebecca gold mine fell from $59.7-million, generated by the sale of 36,335 oz of gold in the first half of 2012, to $43.6-million from the sale of 32,252 oz during the six months to September 2013.
BNC generated $21.4-million in revenue from the sale of 2,191 t of nickel in concentrate during the half-year to September, a jump from the $1-million reported in the prior corresponding period.
“The group is thus already enjoying the benefit of having BNC back in production and having two producing mines in its portfolio,” said Mwana Africa CEO Kalaa Mpinga.
However, the average gold price achieved by Freda Rebecca for the six-month period under review was $1 352/oz – a cut from the $1 642/oz achieved in the prior corresponding period.
Nickel prices also fell with BNC achieving an average nickel price of $14 268/t for the six months to September 2013, compared with the high of $18 000/t in January 2013, said Mpinga.
“The fall in gold and nickel prices earlier in the year resulted in a difficult period for Mwana,” he noted, pointing out that the company moved to cut costs while suspending exploration in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“We reacted swiftly to the challenge, starting a corporate cost-cutting exercise and raising about $6-million to resolve the immediate working capital shortfall. Mwana is now stable and we are focused on delivering value from all of our projects,” Mpinga said.
The London-listed group posted 88% higher profit after tax during the six months to September, reaching $7.5-million, compared with the $4-million achieved in the prior period.
However, basic earnings a share during the interim period fell to 0.45c from 0.75c during the six months to September last year.
Operating costs rose from $49.6-million in the first half of last year to $55.9-million during the six-month period under review, owing to the BNC restart.
Mwana ended the interim period with a cash balance of $9.2-million.
“Despite the difficulties brought on by lower commodity prices, the company has achieved considerable progress on all of its main projects,” Mpinga said.Advertisement

“Significantly, in Freda Rebecca and Trojan, we now have two mines in production and our resource base in gold and nickel, together with the copper potential under our joint venture (JV) with Hailiang, underpins a promising future for Mwana.”