Tinashe Makichi Business Reporter
Zimbabwe’s largest gold miner, Metallon Corporation will spend $31 million in a bid to achieve an annual production target of 120 000 ounces. The premium bullion producer’s annual gold production for 2015 was 2,4 percent down to 96 530 ounces from 98 863 ounces due to equipment breakdowns at How, Shamva, Mazowe and Arcturus Mines experienced during the year.
Metallon Corp chief executive Ken Mekani told The Herald Business on Thursday that most challenges which affected the group are now a thing of the past after necessary investments were made towards replacing old equipment and setting up new projects.
“This year we have a budget of $31 million which is expected to drive our quest of achieving the gold production target set for this year. As you may recall we have an array of new projects to be commissioned this year and this budget will make sure that we successfully complete those projects.
“Our major focus is to complete new projects so that they come on line for the better of overall group production. Part of the investment will go towards exploration initiatives that have already been put into full throttle by the group,” said Mr Mekani.
He said the group spent $18 million last year against a budget of $24 million. Last year Metallon spent $18 million against a budget of $24 million. He said the gold mining group will be focusing on upgrading and refurbishing mining equipment and processing plants across the group operations this year.
Mr Mekani said this initiative will reduce breakdowns, increase efficiencies and lead to lower costs. Metallon will also be upgrading the Inferred section of the 9,6 million ounce resource into the Measured and Indicated category.
He said exploration has commenced at Mazowe Mine and will continue over the next six months. This exploration and investment across Metallon Corp is positioning the group for increased production over the next five years.
Mr Mekani said Redwing Mine continues to increase production since the resumption of operations in November 2015. In March 2016, gold production at the mine reached over 1 000 ounces, which is a significant achievement.
“On Redwing efforts are now focused on ramping up production to the plant capacity of 22 000 tonnes per month by June 2016. At this capacity, Redwing Mine will employ over 700 employees,” said Mr Mekani.
He said construction on the new Mazowe Processing Plant and the new Tailing Facilities at both Mazowe and Shamva Mine is progressing well. The new Mazowe Processing Plant will increase capacity at the mine to 70 000 tonnes per month meaning that the mine will be producing approximately 22 000 ounces per annum.
The new Mazowe plant will create approximately 100 direct jobs and additional employment opportunities. Exploration work is also ongoing at the gold mining group’s Matabeleland based Motapa Mine to find the most suitable method of processing refractory ores with minimum effects on the environment.
Metallon Gold in October 2003 acquired the Motapa mining lease and 15 additional old claims covering the area from Oleaster Investments. The mining group has been conducting feasibility studies at the gold mine which is situated in Bubi with the intention to revive following its closure in 1990.
Metallon Gold Corporation is a gold mining group with five producing assets in Zimbabwe and exploration assets in Tanzania and DRC.