The Sunday Mail
Africa Moyo, Businessmen Reporter
METALLON Corporation is exploring alternative energy sources to augment grid electricity after the country’s biggest gold miner by output experienced 428 hours downtime from November 2016 to February 2017 due to power outages.The power challenges were largely caused by faults that were induced by heavy rains in the just-ended summer cropping season.
Metallon public relations official Mr Ranga Mberi told The Sunday Mail Business last week the rains dented production mainly between January and February.
“. . . power supply interruptions have also affected all our operations. Significant work has been undertaken by our teams to minimise these impacts across the group mines.
“During the period from November 2016 to February 2017, Metallon lost a total of 428 hours due to power outages caused by faults mostly attributable to the heavy rainfall.
“Metallon Corporation continues to explore possible future solutions to supplement grid power supply,” said Mr Mberi.
The group — which owns How, Shamva, Mazowe, Arcturus and Redwing Mines — consumes between 25MW and 30MW per month. How Mine is the flagship operation. Last year, it produced 50 191 ounces (approximately 1,4 tonnes), which was 2 123 ounces below the prior year’s output. Shamva Mine was a distant second with just over 21 000 ounces (594kgs).
The overall group output was 94 212 ounces (about 2,7 tonnes), two percent lower than the 96 530 ounces produced in 2015.
Metallon says last year’s output was below targeted as a result of the postponement of the commissioning of the Mazowe Processing Plant; the fall of ground incident at How Mine in December; planned repair work of the loading station at Shamva Mine; and “power supply interruptions affecting all operations, especially at Redwing Mine”.
Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Mr Isaac Kwesu however, recently noted power cuts were no longer widespread.
It is believed Zesa has since approached individual miners to prepay for power to ensure uninterrupted supplies.
Metallon is currently making efforts to dewater Redwing Mine so that submerged resources can be accessed.
Redwing Mine — which is based in Mutare — is prone to flooding and suffered the same fate almost nine years ago after it ceased production at the height of runaway inflation.
The mine resumed operations in 2015 after spending US$1 million in dewatering its pits.
“We are very encouraged by the progress that Redwing Mine has made since resuming production in 2015 after spending eight years under care and maintenance.
“Redwing Mine continues to ramp up production to installed capacity over the coming year,” added Mr Mberi.
Last year, the mine produced 10 106 ounces (286kgs) up from 814 ounces (28kgs) in 2015.