24 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Freda Rebecca Sets New Record

MWANA Africa Plc's local gold mining unit Freda Rebecca achieved record output of 18 350 ounces in the third quarter to September 30, 2012, but output fell 10 percent to 16 506oz in the fourth quarter to December 31,2012, the company said.

Gold production rose 43 percent in the quarter to December 31, 2012 compared to the same period the prior year while the recoveries rate fell to 80 percent compared to the 83 percent achieved in the third quarter to September 30, 2012.

Giving an update on operations and exploration activity for the quarter ending December 31, 2012 Mwana Africa chief executive Mr Kalaa Mpinga said that total production for the 12 months to December 2012 came in at 47 770oz.

Average gold prices during the quarter to December 2012 stood at US$1 706 compared to US$1 677 realised in the third quarter to September 2012 while production cost in the last quarter US971/oz from US860/oz the previous quarter.

"Mwana's Freda Rebecca Gold Mine in Zimbabwe, having restarted operations in 2009, produced 47 770oz of gold in the 12 months to March 2012. Record quarterly gold production of 18 350oz was achieved in the third quarter of 2012," he said.

A total of 16 506oz of gold was produced during the quarter ending December 31, 2012. Average monthly production for the quarter was 5 502oz. Quarterly output represents a 43 percent increase over the comparable quarter last year.

The 52 840oz produced for the nine months to date represents a 58 percent increase on the comparable period last year. The current rate of production reflects an annualised rate of over 70 000oz per annum, Mwana Africa said.

Gold production for the fourth quarter declined slightly from the production levels in the previous quarter, but remained above plan. Internal dilution associated with a known waste dyke within one of the main production areas contributed to a reduction in gold head grade that the Midlands-based mining company had achieved the previous quarter.

Reduced metallurgical recovery for the quarter was attributable partly to a lower feed grade, but also to a breakdown during December on the mine's compressors feeding air to the leach circuit, adversely affecting leach kinetics within the circuit.

Meanwhile, the Bindura Nickel Corporation restart programme is well underway, said Mwana Africa, with the first sale of concentrate targeted for the second quarter of 2013. Mining preparation has covered 1 337m of underground development for the recommissioning of underground rock handling systems, shafts and surface crushing facilities.

"The pace of the mine preparation and processing plant refurbishment work that is currently being conducted at the Trojan Mine has been exceptional. I am pleased to reiterate that the company remains on track to sell first concentrate to our offtake partner, Glencore International, in the second quarter of 2013.

"The exploration team at Zani Kodo (DRC) has been working hard and I look forward to reporting a resource update to the market later this quarter," he said.

In February 2012, Mwana announced a gold mineral resource of 2,01 million ounces at its Zani Kodo project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mwana Africa Plc is a pan-African, multi-commodity mining and development company. Mwana"s principal operations and exploration activities cover gold, nickel, copper and diamonds in Zimbabwe, the DRC and South Africa.

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