Metallon loses 6 000 ounces gold to power cuts

HARARE - Zimbabwe's largest gold producer Metallon Corporation (Metallon) says it is working on solutions to supplement power supply after losing nearly 6 000 ounces of gold to power interruptions in six months.

The miner’s chief executive, Ken Mekani, yesterday said Metallon lost 112 hours of production in the second quarter of 2016 which equates to approximately 1 700 ounces compared to 4 275 ounces lost in the first quarter.

This comes as the country is grappling with acute power shortages due to lack of investment in the sector.

At best, Zimbabwe produces 1 345 megawatts, half its peak demand, forcing local industries to use costly diesel generators to keep operations running.

Electricity shortages have been blamed for keeping away potential investors.

To minimise production disruptions caused by frequent power outages, other miners such as Zimplats are directly importing electricity from Mozambique.

Meanwhile, Mekani noted that the group’s gold production in the second quarter at 22 565 ounces was nine percent higher than prior quarter, putting production for the year to date at 43 238 ounces.

“The increase in gold production in the second quarter was mostly due to an outstanding performance at How Mine,” he said.

Metallon is currently investing significantly in Zimbabwe with the deepening of the shaft at How Mine, refurbishment of the processing plant at Shamva Mine, expansion at Redwing Mine and a targeted exploration programme across the group.

Mekani said this large capital

expenditure programme over the next few years will considerably increase the miner’s production and generate future revenue.

He  added that the new processing plant at Mazowe was nearing completion with all key equipment on site, adding the plant was expected to be commissioned in the fourth quarter.

The new Mazowe processing plant is set to increase capacity at the mine to 70 000 tonnes per month.

“The appointment of contract miners at Shamva Mine and ramp up at Redwing Mine will also provide increased production in the second half of the year. We look forward to continued expansion across the group and reaffirm our production target of 120 000 ounces in 2016,” he said.

How Mine has commenced the deepening of the 16N7 Shaft in order to increase ore supply, with commissioning of the deepened shaft expected in 2018.

The gold miner has plans of refurbishing the processing plant at Shamva Mine to 70 000 tonnes per month capacity, increasing production in 2017.

Following the resumption of operations in November 2015, Redwing Mine continues to increase production with output expected to increase to 22 000 tonnes per month by fourth quarter as plans are also underway to increase production to 50 000 tonnes per month in 2017.

Metallon has also commenced exploration drilling at Mazowe Mine with drill results set to be published in the third quarter.

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