Metallon explores for new Zim gold reserves

HARARE - Metallon Gold Zimbabwe (Metallon) has embarked on an exploration exercise at its Bulawayo-based How Mine (How) as part of efforts to boost gold production.

The miner – which operates four other gold mines in Zimbabwe; Redwing, Shamva, Mazowe and Acturus, and is owned by South African mining investor Mzi Khumalo – said the exploration is also in line with the group’s expansion plans.

“Any mine survives by exploration… if where you are currently working gets exhausted you would want to continue… hence the need for continuous exploration,” the group’s corporate affairs executive Zenzo Nsimbi told Business Live.

He, however, could not disclose the cost of the exploration exercise. The process will involve geo-chemical soil sampling, trenching, diamond drilling, reverse circulation drilling and percussion drilling.

Metallon used to account for about 55 percent of Zimbabwe’s gold output.

In terms of production, it is expecting a 20 percent gold production increase in 2014 to 100 000 ounces from 81 960 ounces last year after reopening some of the mines that had been mothballed during the hyperinflation era.

On the back of its expansion plans, the mining group hopes to become a mid-tier producer in five years.

The company says production is increasing and they expect to reach capacity of 190 000 ounces by 2017.

Of group’s mines, How, which is the most productive, recorded a 32 percent increase to about 53 200 ounces in the first quarter of 2014, up from 40 281 ounces produced prior year.

How’s production averages five grammes per tonne.

Shamva recorded a 70 percent increase in production to about 34 300 ounces in the period under review from 20 113 ounces recorded in 2013.

Its average mined grade is three grammes per tonne.

Mazowe mine recorded a 100 percent production increase to 20 900 ounces from 10 438 ounces.

Average mined grade was at five grammes per tonne.

A production ramp up process has commenced at Arcturus mine with underground mining operations already under way, with a forecast production of approximately 12 000 ounces in 2014

Average mined grade of is 4,2 grammes per tonne.

Redwing mine is currently being dewatered, with exploration and development in place to bring the mine back to capacity of 30,000 ounces per annum.

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