24 February 2013

Zimbabwe: ZMDC Outsources to Improve Gold Output

THE Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) has adopted a three-pronged approach to raise US$35 million meant to recapitalise its gold producing subsidiaries.

ZMDC owns Jena, Sabi consolidated and Elvington gold mines.

Jena and Sabi are currently operating while the corporation is looking for a strategic partner for Elvington.

"Funds will be raised through income from internal resources, strategic partnerships as well as borrowings," ZMDC general manager Jerry Ndlovu said.

This means the corporation failed to capitalise on the booming prices that averaged US$1 669,06 per ounce last year.

In the period 2009 up to last year ZMDC injected a total of US$21 million into the gold mines.

Ndlovu said negotiations were at an advanced stage with a joint venture partner for Elvington.

"Meanwhile, some limited exploration work is taking place there to define a potential near surface, low-grade-high-tonnage proposition within the claims," he said.

The recapitalisation is meant to increase capacity and ultimately output at the mines.

According to statistics from the Chamber of Mines, 309 kg of gold were produced at Jena while Sabi Consolidated Mines had an output of 188 kg.

ZMDC has in the past been accused of neglecting its gold mines in favour of the diamond joint ventures in Marange.

This means that the corporation has failed to capitalise on a boom in gold prices.

ZMDC wholly owns Marange Resources and has joint venture agreements with Mbada, Diamond Mining Corporation and Anjin.

The government's mining arm has grown over the years with 16 mines currently under its stable from six at inception 31 years ago.

Of the mines, four are wholly-owned by ZMDC while the remainder are in joint ventures with other companies.

The corporation has also signed six agreements in gold and diamonds exploration and development.

"The joint venture companies formed from these agreements are mobilising human resources and equipment to commence activities in the first and second quarters of 2013," Ndlovu said.

The country's gold production is on the increase after years of decline. Gold production last year was 14 735,12 kg against a target of 15 000 kg.

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