GOLD production at Cam & Motor Mine — one of RioZim Limited’s flagship operations — increased 92% in the first quarter of this year on the back of the Biological Oxidation (BIOX) plant that came into operation last year.
RioZim’s mining operations include Renco Gold Mine, Cam & Motor Gold Mine, and Empress Nickel Refinery. It also has interests in Sengwa Colliery, Murowa Diamonds, and Maranatha ferrochrome refinery.
In a trading update for the first quarter ended March 31, 2023 RioZim said the operating environment continued to be challenging throughout the quarter as inflation and exchange rates soared.
Power supply challenges also worsened as the country experienced acute load shedding, which negatively impacted productive industries as alternative power sources come at a high cost of production, putting pressure on profitability and business sustenance.
“Production increased by 92% from the comparative prior year’s first quarter. This was on the back of the Biological Oxidation plant that came into operation in Q2 2022 (second quarter of 2022), which has enabled the mine to upscale production volumes,” the company said.
“Despite the notable improvement in production from the prior year, the BIOX plant is currently operating below name plate plant capacity and the focus in the current year is to continue upscaling production to the full capacity of the plant.”
Dalny Mine operated under full care and maintenance throughout the quarter. The mine embarked on small-scale mining operations to reduce the cash flow impact of the fixed care and maintenance costs and production is expected from the second quarter of this year.
Production at Renco Mine fell by 2% from the same period in the prior year.
“Power supply challenges worsened during the quarter due to load shedding and unstable power infrastructure,” it said.
“The mine is focused on stabilising power supply to the mine to achieve stable production and various initiatives are being pursued including, among other efforts, investment in additional generators to increase capacity and coverage of the key activities in the mine’s production critical path.”
The group’s associate, RZM Murowa recorded a 20% increase in production compared to the same period in the prior year due to increased throughput and plant capacity after commissioning the 500 tonnes per hour plant in the third quarter of last year. The mine continues to process material from its low grade stockpiles. The mine is also expanding its exploration activities which are mainly centred on extending the life of its pits with a view to resuscitate mining operations in the current pits.
The Empress Nickel Refinery remained under care and maintenance throughout the quarter.
The group’s focus during the year, the company said, was to stabilise power supply across all its operations to ensure consistent plant throughput.
“The group continues to invest in alternative power supply albeit coming at a higher cost of production,” it said.
Exploration remains at the centre of the group’s expansion drive, hence the focus on expanding its exploration activities across its resource portfolios and upgrading the resources of the producing mines to increase the confidence levels.