Diversified resources group, RioZim Limited, says gold production is forecast to improve as Cam and Motor, the group’s high grade ore flagship gold mine is set to resume production.
For the past two years, there was no production at Cam and Motor to facilitate construction of its US$17 million BIOX Plant, whose commissioning completed on April 14, 2022.
The closure of the mine saw the group’s gold production for 2021 declining by seven percent to 1 122 kg from 1 205 kg in the prior year.
“Production is forecast to improve as Cam and Motor returns to producing from its high grade pits,” Saleem Rashid Beebeejaun, the group’s chairman, said in a statement of 2021 financials.
He said during the year, the lifespan of the stopgap One-Step mining operation was extended and continued to supply ore to the Cam and Motor plant, however, the grades were low which resulted in low production.
The group’s other operations, Dalny and Renco, recorded almost consistent production from the prior year.
According to Beebeejaun, the completion of the BIOX Plant, which was scheduled for the second half of 2021, was delayed due to inadequate foreign currency and Covid -19 pandemic induced challenges.
Therefore, earlier commissioning of the BIOX Plant Project, would have enabled resumption of mining operations at the Cam and Motor high grade ore pits.
“The BIOX Plant commissioning remained a priority for the Group. Subsequent to year end, testing of the plant components commenced in earnest with no major challenges being encountered. The commissioning of the BIOX Plant was completed on April 14, 2022,” he said.
The Biox plant has the capacity of improving the processing of pure oxide ores to make good grades and high recoveries.
Cam and Motor resumed operations in 2014 following the group’s successful US$10 million capital call and had a projected production of 4 000 ounces per month.
The mine had been closed in 1968, with the gold price at US$35 per ounce and the mine operating at depths of 1,800 metres when operations were no longer viable.
At that stage, the mine cut- off grade was 8 grams/tonne and so it was considered likely that there could be significant resources adjacent to the old workings that would now be economic to mine.
According to Beebeejaun, despite a seven percent decline in gold production, the Group’s revenue for 2021 increased by 84 percent to $5,8 billion compared to the prior period’s $3,1 billion primarily due to the depreciation of the local currency against the United States dollar.
In terms of individual gold business performance, Renco Mine operated at almost the same level of production as the prior year, achieving 561kg of gold, three percent lower than 580kg produced in the prior year.
The chairman said the slight shortfall in gold output from the prior year was attributed to reduced plant throughput as a result of increased power cuts during the year.
At Dalny Mine, there was a six percent growth in gold production achieving 209kg of gold from 198kg produced in the prior year.
Beebeejaun said the growth in gold production was due to increased plant throughput as plant improvements carried out during the year successfully stabilised the plant.
Gold production at One-Step mine fell by 18 percent from the prior year’s production of 427kg to 351kg.
“The low gold output was attributable to lower grades which dropped from the prior year.
“The life of mine was extended during the year despite the grades deteriorating and mining operations continued for the full year,” said Beebeejaun.
He added that the One-Step ore was processed at the plant in Cam and Motor as had been happening in the previous year.