Mwana Africa reports good performance

HARARE - Mwana Africa Plc (Mwana) continues to record impressive results and is set for greater heights despite the recent departure of its founder and former chief executive, Kalaa Mpinga.

The London-listed firm’s results for the quarter ended June 30, 2015 released yesterday revealed that despite operating in Zimbabwe’s challenging environment, the company registered significant production in gold.

In the period under review, Mwana managed to boost gold production by six percent at the flagship Freda Rebecca mine in Zimbabwe while cutting all-in sustaining costs to $1 093 from $1 429 in the previous quarter.

The average gold price received was $1 186 per ounce.

Mwana produced 16 985 ounces (oz) of gold in the quarter to June against 13 443oz in the previous quarter, due to the 11 percent increase in the mill’s average feed grade.

At the company’s other producing asset, the Trojan nickel mine across the road from Freda Rebecca, production of nickel-in-concentrate dropped by 34 percent to 1 349 tonnes, primarily due to a reduction in average head grade and recoveries.

All-in sustaining costs of nickel-in-concentrate per tonne rose to $9 736 per tonne, as against a realised nickel-in-concentrate price of $8 461 per tonne.

“The past quarter has not been without its challenges, but I am pleased to say that they have been addressed progressively and appropriately,” Mwana’s executive chairman Yat Hoi Ning said.

“Our main challenges have been external, particularly those of falling commodity prices. However, I remain confident that we can manage and counter the effects of lower prices by operating effectively and economically,” he added.

Ning noted that work on the restart at Bindura Nickel Corporation was proceeding on schedule and, when completed, will result in the group receiving enhanced prices for the nickel contained in its products.

“During the quarter under review underground operations were affected by temporary poor availability of ore draw points which resulted in lower utilisation of equipment and increases in underground transport equipment. The result was slower mining rates, though these should improve sharply during the current quarter,” he said.

The stellar performance by the Africa-focused resources group came at a time when market experts thought the company would plunge to record lows following the departure of Mpinga.

Mpinga — Mwana’s long-standing chairman — was in June this year booted out of the company he founded in an alleged boardroom coup masterminded by Ning and other shareholders.

Some of Mwana’s assets include one of Zimbabwe’s biggest gold mines and Africa’s only integrated nickel producer, BNC, which runs a mine, smelter and refinery.

BNC said in January it plans to restart its smelter by December after raising $20 million from a five-year bond.

Its smelter and refinery were closed for more than 10 years after nickel prices fell and Zimbabwe’s economy went into recession, making operations unprofitable.

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