RioZim takes up US$17m project

DIVERSIFIED mining group, RioZim, has taken delivery of equipment for the proposed US$17 million Biological Oxidation (BIOX) plant at the firm’s Cam and Motor gold mining operation in Kadoma.

When commissioned, it is hoped that the plant will go a long way in ensuring RioZim beneficiates its precious minerals by processing pure oxide ores to make good grades and high recoveries.

This will in turn generate more foreign currency when exported. In its 2020 annual report released this week, RioZim said progress on the BIOX project had been negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic as suppliers were affected by the lockdowns and travel restrictions in the first half of 2020.

However, the project’s activities resumed in the second half of the prior year although at a slow space after lockdown measures were eased and the group managed to bring about the project by taking delivery of the bulk of the equipment for the capital expenditure programme.

“Despite the funding and Covid-19 challenges, the company managed to steam-roll the project to bring civil works to near completion and managed to take delivery of the bulk of the equipment by year end.

“Installations commenced post year end and are progressing well. As at the reporting date, the company was engaged in discussions with potential lenders to secure the remaining funding requirements to complete the projects and the company is hopeful of reaching financial closure,” said RioZim.

In 2019, the group embarked on various capital raising initiatives to fund the completion of the BIOX plant, which holds the future of Cam and Motor Mine.

Such capital raising initiatives included approaching RioZim’s bankers and other financial institutions and financiers both local and foreign for possible US dollar funding.

“The company remains optimistic of concluding and commissioning the BIOX plant within the ensuing reporting year.

“The completion of the BIOX plant remains a key priority for the company as we pursue value creation for all stakeholders.

“The success of this project will be pivotal for the sustenance of the Cam & Motor mine,” it said.

RioZim said it will build on its exploration drive from the prior year in order to upgrade and increase confidence levels on all resources across all its mines in light of the declining grades at Renco, One-Step and Dalny mines.

During the year under review, the group’s gold production declined by 27 percent from 1,66 tonnes achieved in the prior year to 1,21 tonnes.

Throughout 2020, the group’s flagship operation Cam & Motor mine carried out mining activities from the nearby One-Step mine hauling low grade ore to the Cam & Motor plant for processing.

“This resulted in a drastic fall in gold production compared to the prior year when the mine processed higher-grade ore from its Cam pits.

“The gold price maintained a growth trend throughout the year recording a 27 percent growth from the prior year’s average price of US$1 395 per ounce, to an average price of US$1 765/oz in the current year (2020), which counteracted the impact of lower production volumes,” said RioZim.

Revenue generated during the period was ZWL$3,1 billion in comparison to ZWL$577,1 million in the prior year. The exponential increase in revenue was a direct result of the depreciation of the local currency against the US dollar.

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