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GOLD output at Freda Rebecca fell year-on-year, but increased over the previous quarter, the mine’s holding company, Mwana Africa announced this week.

Year-on-year, gold production was weighed down by the failure of a leach tank in the first quarter, which affected mill throughput and recovery, with total gold production falling 10.5% to 58 704 oz.

However, a combination of improved milled tonnes and feed grade resulted in gold production rising by 2% during the quarter under review to 13,380 oz, compared with the 13,072 oz reported during the previous quarter.

While the hike led to a decrease in cash operating costs from $1 066oz during the quarter to December to $1 053oz in the March quarter, all-in sustaining costs increased 3% from $1 291oz in the previous quarter to $1 325oz in the quarter under review.

This was the result of a 10% hike in the asset amortisation charge owing to the continuing commissioning of the tailings retreatment project pilot plant.

Production of nickel in concentrate at subsidiary Bindura Nickel Corporation’s (BNC’s) Trojan mine rose 9.5% quarter-on-quarter to 2,207 t.

The higher tonnage mined during the March quarter marked continued progress towards a steady state of 195 000 t a quarter, while the increase in tonnes milled indicated more consistent, efficient operation of the mills.

The company reported an increase in all-in sustaining cash costs from $11,819t to $12,220t during the three months to March, as a result of continued production ramp-up and the shaft re-deepening.

Nickel sales for the quarter reached 2 250.2 t, achieving a 1.5% increase in the average nickel price to $14 075t.

“We anticipate that at Freda Rebecca, the current focus on mining and processing efficiencies, and at BNC, continued progress by [the] Trojan mine towards steady-state and ger mill performance, will deliver further operational improvements for the group in the year ahead,” Mwana Africa CEO Kalaa Mpinga said.

Source : New Zimbabwe

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