Interview: James Beare Pickstone and Eureka gold MD
On the 21st of October this year, Dallaglio owned Eureka Gold mine was officially commissioned by President Mnangagwa.
By Keith Sungiso
It was amazing to see a brand new State-of-the-art-plant which was a clear indicator that mine owners meant serious business. Eureka had been trending online and the commissioning was an event that was highly anticipated not just locally but globally. The event was attended by high-level delegates from across the Mining sector with many coming from as far as South Africa. I interviewed Eureka gold mine’s youthful Managing Director Mr James Beare about this most promising new mine of 2021 and this is how the interaction went.
KS: Who is James Beare?
JB: I am a finance professional with a diverse 16 years of experience in a range of different industries. In Australia I worked with Deloitte in their management consulting arm, I moved into Oil and Gas as a cost engineer and then started businesses in food manufacturing, hospitality and telecommunications. I joined Dallaglio in 2019 to lead the team constructing Eureka mine and have since taken the position of Managing Director of Delta Gold Zimbabwe (Eureka mine) and Breckridge Investments (Pickstone Peerless mine). Both these companies are solely owned by Dallaglio Investments which is a subsidiary of Padenga Holdings Limited which is listed on the Victoria Falls stock exchange.
KS: Dallaglio Investments is considered by the Minister of Mines and Mining Development Winston Chitando as crucial in the attainment of 100 tonnes gold target by 2023. How much gold are you projecting to produce as a company by 2023?
JB: Eureka mine is projected to produce an average of 140kg of gold per month during its 9-year open pit life. The average grade of the mine increases at depth meaning higher production volumes towards the end of the pit life. At our Pickstone Peerless operation, we are planning to re-commission the underground mining operations in Q2 2023 which is another exciting project in our pipeline.
KS: Now that Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs) are being approved unlike during the previous dispensation, does your company have any EPOs applied to increase its mining portfolio?
JB: Dallaglio has not positioned itself as an exploration company and does not hold any EPOs. Our focus is to develop established resources and build processing plants that do them justice.
KS: Currently, Eureka Mine is mining very low grades of 1.3 grams per tonne, is there hope that ore grades will increase?
JB: As mentioned earlier our grade does increase with depth and our average open pit grade is 1.6g/t.
KS: Eureka Mine is using the open cast method, in terms of environment and air pollution what are you currently doing to reduce dust in the neighbouring communities?
JB: Dust suppression in our mining operations is currently done by tractor-drawn water bowsers on a daily basis. In our plant, we use a number of water and wind mitigating methods. We regularly consult our neighbouring communities to understand and reduce our impact to their environment and livelihoods.
KS: Are you planning on purchasing any other mining assets?
JB: Dallaglio is working on developing its existing resources which include Giant and Blue Rock claims near Chegutu. In addition to these developments, we shall certainly be identifying acquisitions that align to the group’s strategy of becoming Zimbabwe’s leading gold miner.
KS: What benefits are you hoping to get from Victoria Falls Stock Exchange?
JB: By listing on the Vic Falls exchange Padenga is looking to improve USD retention on its gold sales on incremental gold in line with RBZ Circular Number 4 of 2021.
KS: In terms of social corporate responsibility, what are you planning to do for the Guruve community so that everyone benefits?
JB: To date, Eureka mine has targeted its recruitment strategy to uplift the local community and employ from the surrounding community. A brick-making operation on-site employs women from the surrounding community as well as the mine making donations to schools, the Guruve hospital and the Rural district council. Going forward a targeted CSIR program focusing on education, health and clean drinking water shall be in place.
KS: You have one of the state of the art plants in the country tell us more about it
JB: I can’t comment on how we compare to other Zimbabwean plants but I can say that the 93-95% gold recoveries we achieve at Eureka are testament to the team that designed and built the plant. The plant incorporates a Knelson concentrator circuit which collects our gravity
gold, a 12MW diesel Genset backup power plant, a wet laboratory for fast assay results and numerous instrumentation feeding back to our integrated SCADA system giving live control of the plant to the operating team in the control room.
KS: What five challenges would say are faced by large scale miners in Zimbabwe
JB: Gold retention, utility power quality and availability, importation challenges for inputs, in-country skills and experience and access to capital markets.
KS: We have many students from Universities and technical institutions looking for work or attachment. How do they get in touch with Eureka or Dallaglio??
JB: By using the Contact us form at www.dallaglio.co.zw or by emailing [email protected] where their enquiry shall be passed onto the relevant department.
KS: Some mining companies in Zimbabwe have been decrying power challenges. Are you also facing similar challenges? If so, could you tell us how you have been affected?
JB: The major challenge faced by poor power availability is the impact it has on production. A short power cut or a trip related to a surge or dip in power from the local grid can lead to a plant-wide shutdown. It can then take the team anywhere between 45mins to 1.5 hours to restart operations. Should these events become numerous the financial impact can be significant, not to mention the damage such events can have on the electrical equipment.