Premier eyes first profit from Zim operations

HARARE - London-listed resources company, Premier African Minerals (Premier), is expecting to register profit at its RHA Tungsten Mine in Zimbabwe in the first quarter of 2016 having opened the mine in “trying times”.

The miner recently told shareholders in a corporate update about some of the difficulties at the Zimbabwean project in Matebeleland North — where open pit operations have been temporarily suspended to reduce cash outflow.

First ore from underground was generated on October 27 this year and is on track to meet full plant capacity in the first quarter of 2016.

“The combination of a falling Tungsten price, difficulties in achieving the planned Run of Mine feed grade from the open pit and some residual issues in attaining steady state in plant operations, have not made for the start to production Premier had anticipated,” the group’s chief executive George Roach said.

“Despite this, we have opened a new mine in very trying times. Our experience to date has provided a solid platform from which we expect to see a move to profit during the first quarter of 2016.

“Acceleration of the underground mining and the potential to upgrade through XRT sorting of the open pit material has real promise for the future of RHA,” he said.

Significantly, Roach added that the group’s exploration in Benin and at Zulu in Zimbabwe continued to show promise for early production at low capital cost and will be pursued provided that the objective remains realistic.

“At the same time, Premier is viewing other opportunities in niche minerals that offer the same opportunity and it is hopeful that transactions can be concluded in the near future,” he said

Its investment in Circum Minerals has the potential to be realised during 2016, the firm noted.

“The apparent value in this investment provides comfort to the necessary debt and equity-based funding that Premier may need as we develop our company,” said Roach.

Premier African has a two percent stake in Circum after it sold the Danakil potash project to it in 2013 for $5 million cash and a further two million shares.

In August this year, a $2,1 billion value was attributed to the project in the definitive feasibility study published by Circum.

The United Kingdom-based company is currently developing a portfolio of strategic metals and agri mineral projects located across Africa.

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