Vast Resources ramps up gold production

HARARE - London-listed mining firm Vast Resources says gold production at its Zimbabwean unit went up by 36 percent to 4 037 ounces in the second quarter to June 2017.

Vast Resources owns Pickstone-Peerless gold mine in Zimbabwe and the company has plans to ramp up production.

“ . . . mining, processing and production levels at Pickstone-Peerless have recovered and additional gold production, albeit modest, is being realised from the artisanal gold processing facility that was commissioned in the first quarter of 2017,” Vast Resources chief executive, Roy Pitchford said.

He added that first sulphide production is scheduled during the current quarter and is anticipated to increase total gold production capacity by approximately 75 percent from the current 20 000 tonnes of ore per month to 35 000 tonnes.

“Further exploration drilling will be evaluated in addition to consultations with representatives of artisanal miners on site,” he said.

The junior miner has also just been selected for the right to mine at the polymetallic Baita Plai mine — its second project in Romania.

Pitchford said getting a licence for Baita Plai has been a drawn-out process for Vast Resources, but with this recommendation, from State-owned mining company Baita, the major hurdle has been overcoming believes.

A final association licence is required to allow mining to begin. This requires a Ministerial Agreement, regulatory approvals from Romania’s National Agency for Mineral Resources and the final negotiations of the terms and conditions of the association licence.

But the green light from Baita means there is a clear path to get the licence issued.

A change of mood in Romania is also helping the government to work with the mining sector keen on opening new mines.

As a result, Pitchford hopes a licence can be agreed on within 45 days.

Baita Plai was originally a molybdenum play, but Vast Resources will mine it for copper, lead and zinc with good credits for silver and gold.

Its other mine in Romania, at Manaila, already produces copper and zinc, but the cost of production is lower and ease of access better at Baita, says Pitchford.

The cost of bringing the mine on stream is forecast to be $1,2 million.

Meanwhile, work is also set to start on proving the value of Giant, Vast Resources second mine in Zimbabwe.

“We remain confident that the underlying quality and value prospects of our mines in both Zimbabwe and Romania are excellent and expect production rates to be further enhanced going forward,” Pitchford added.

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