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RioZim Limited gold production surges 13pc

DIVERSIFIED mining group RioZim Limited recorded a 13 percent jump in gold production to 307 kilogrammes in the third quarter to September 30, 2023 spurred by improved power supply in the quarter under review.

During the same period last year, the mining group delivered 272 kg of the precious metal from two of its operational gold mines, Cam & Motor, and Renco.

Dalny Mine remained under full care and maintenance throughout the period under review.

RioZim placed Dalny Mine under recuperative care and maintenance last year after the gold unit suffered a loss of nearly US$8 million and produced only 3kg of yellow metal in the first quarter of 2022.

In the six months to June last year, about 8kg of gold was produced at the mine against 105kg produced during the same period in 2021 when the mine was fully operational.

In a trading update for the third quarter under review, RioZim said: “The quarter saw a marked improvement in power supply following the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution’s commissioning of additional capacity at Hwange.

“The significant improvement in power supply subsequently improved gold production for the quarter by 13 percent to 307kg from 272kg achieved in the comparative period last year.”

Cam & Motor produced 166kg of gold, which was a 14 percent increase from 146kg recorded in the same period last year, mainly driven by an increased milling throughput.

“The significant capital expenditure interventions on the crushing plant positively impacted plant performance resulting in the recorded improved milling throughput,” said the mining group.

A refurbishment project on one of the ball mills at Cam & Motor Mine commenced towards the end of the quarter.

It is hoped that this refurbishment initiative will reduce the processing capacity of the plant, as the gold asset will be running on one mill until the exercise is completed during the fourth quarter of the year.

RioZim said it has also embarked on an optimisation and improvement of processes drive that should enhance plant recoveries that were subdued throughout the third quarter. In the period under review, Renco produced 141kg of gold; a 12 percent increase in gold production from 126kg achieved in the same period last year.

This was due to improved power supply to the mine, which enabled upscaling of milling throughput as well as plant availability at near optimal levels.

The mining group reported that diamond production at RZM Murowa, during the quarter under review nosedived 12 percent to 100 000 carats due to plant breakdowns.

In the corresponding period last year, the business unit produced 130 000 carats.

RioZim said RZM Murowa experienced plant breakdowns mainly on the heavy mobile equipment, which negatively impacted plant throughput causing a slump in diamond output.

“A total of 100 000 carats were produced in Q3, 2023; a 12 percent reduction from 130 000 carats produced in Q3, 2022.

“The mine’s key focus remains to stabilise its support equipment to enable consistent processing of high volumes as per the new 500 TPH (tonnes per hour) plant design,” it said.

Last year, production at Murowa improved by three percent to 426 000 carats compared to the same period in 2021.spurred by operational efficiencies.

Since 2020, RZM Murowa has invested in modernising its operations, which has increased production of its diamonds produced and improved efficiency in the mining process.

RZM Murowa is a 24-hour open pit mining operation based in Zvishavane, Midlands Province with current name-plate capacity of about 1,2 million carats per annum of predominantly white, gem-quality diamonds.

In April this year, RioZim announced that a German-based technology company specialising in optimising haulage operational efficiency in mining, had partnered Murowa for the deployment, at scale, of its results-focused optimisation solution.

The optimisation solution was developed to address basic pain points in mining that often remain unaddressed, impacting productivity and standardisation.

In the outlook, RioZim said despite improved power supply in the quarter, the unreliable provision of electricity remains a significant risk to its operations.

“It is anticipated that power challenges will be exacerbated by the onset of the rainy season expected in the last quarter of the year.

“In order to mitigate the impact of power outages, the company invested in back-up generators across its mines.

“However, these come with high production costs due to excessively high levels of fuel consumption,” said the diversified mining concern. The group’s base metal unit, Empress Nickel Refinery in Kadoma also remained under care and maintenance during the third quarter of this year.

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