Senior Business Reporter
PAN African and multi-commodity resources firm, Mwana Africa, foresees a brighter outlook for the mining industry despite weakening mineral prices on the international market. The conglomerate has interest in diamonds, nickel and gold in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Locally, the company owns Freda Rebecca Gold Mine and Bindura Nickel Corporation in Mashonaland Central.
In an update of the firm’s operations and exploration activities for the quarter ending June 30, 2015, Mwana Africa executive chairman Yat Hoi Ning said, “The past quarter hasn’t been without its challenges, but I’m pleased to say that they’ve been addressed progressively and appropriately”.
He said the company’s main challenges have been external, particularly those of falling commodity prices.
“However, I remain confident that we can manage and counter the effects of lower prices by operating effectively and economically,” said Hoi Ning.
He said at Freda Rebecca the average gold price received was $1,186 per ounce, its lowest in several quarters.
“But we countered the adverse effect by producing more gold which, in turn, contributed to a significantly lower cash cost of $930/oz and an all-in sustaining cost of $1,093/oz. This means the mine remains operationally profitable and will be maintained in that state,” Hoi Ning added.
At BNC, he said operations continued to be hampered by the continued upgrading of equipment to ensure there are fewer interruptions in future.
The mine’s underground development work has proceeded more slowly than had been planned.
Hoi Ning said BNC’s redeep project — scheduled for completion in October 2015 — and the current financial year’s second half, should see considerable operating improvements that will be followed by the benefits of the smelter restart.
“Work on the restart is proceeding on schedule and, when completed, will result in our receiving enhanced prices for the nickel contained in our products.
“During the quarter under review underground operations were affected by temporary poor availability of ore draw points, which resulted in lower utilisation of equipment and increases in underground transport equipment.
“The result was slower mining rates, though these should improve sharply during the current quarter,” he said.