METALLON Corporation Limited yesterday announced a $530 million investment pitch towards modernisation of its four local subsidiaries.
The investment would see introduction of mechanisation and commencement of bulk mining across operations. This will also see the London-headquartered gold producer venture into modernisation and re-engineering of its operations, along with labour rationalisation at How Mine (Bulawayo), Redwing, Shamva and Mazowe Mines.
The How Mine expansion project is worth approximately $120 million, Mazowe Mine $110 million while Redwing and Shamva projects are worth $150 million each.
In a press statement released yesterday, Metallon Corporation head of communication, Klara Kaczmarek, said due to recent political changes and renewed confidence in the country, the mining conglomerate was in a position to invest in its gold mining activities.
“These modernisation activities will lead to a significant reduction in costs,” said Kaczmarek.
She said Bulawayo Mining Company (BMC), which operates How Mine has a JORC-compliant resource of one million ounces of gold and there is potential to develop the mine into a greater volume operation.
Kaczmarek said in 2020, a 100 000 tonnes per month sands processing plant will be constructed to process surface ore at How Mine while a comprehensive underground and surface exploration drilling programme will be carried alongside these upgrades.
“Already underway at BMC is the shaft deepening, which will enable mining at depth. Hoisting capacity is to be increased to 75 000 tonnes per month and the current processing plant will be upgraded to match this hoisting capacity by 2020,” said Kaszmarek
Alongside the mine reengineering, Kaczmarek said they will rationalise labour at their four mining operations, which will see a number of positions placed on shifts while reviews of operations are underway. She said as a result of the modernisation programme and subsequent mechanisation of operations, they will reduce the number of employees at the four mines.
According to Kaczmarek, these measures have been implemented in order to reduce costs, increase productivity, and ensure the long-term viability of the subsidiaries for the benefit of all stakeholders.
At Mazowe Mine, the company announced that underground mining will be suspended and accelerated development will be carried out while production takes place from the newly commissioned 60 000 tonnes per month sands plant.
Kaczmarek said next year, a crushing circuit will be installed to convert the sands plant to process hard ore.
“Underground mining will resume in 2020, ramping up capacity to 65 000 tonnes per month by 2021. Alongside these operational changes, a comprehensive surface and underground exploration will be ongoing,” she said.
At Shamva Mine, underground mining will be suspended while redesign and development of underground operations takes place. A 200 000 tonnes per month plant will be constructed for commissioning in first quarter of 2020 at Redwing Mine. In total, the expansion projects are expected to increase annual gold production to 543 ounces.