HARARE – Chegutu-based gold producer, Pickstone-Peerless Gold Mine’s first quarter output was significantly affected by the extensive rains that hit the country, as production was stabilised by low-grade stockpiles.
Ore milled was down almost 6 percent to 51 102 tonnes compared to 54 237 tonnes milled in the prior comparable period. The disparity was even bigger compared to the 61 356 tonnes milled in the previous quarter.
“High rainfall hampered open pit mining operations, and wet, sticky ore restricted the crusher feed facilities,” said Vast Resources in a trading update.
The mine (as well as the adjacent Giant Gold Mine), which is 49 percent owned by mining group Vast Resources, is currently in the process of being sold to Mauritian firm SSCG Africa Holdings Ltd (SSA) for a total $8 million.
Gold produced during the quarter however increased to 2 974 ounces from 2 808 ounces in the prior parallel period as lower grade areas in the open-pit were mined as they remained accessible and low-grade stockpiles were used to supplement volumes.
A milled grade of 2, 06 grams per tonne was achieved compared to 1, 71 grams per tonne same period last year. The group also said construction of the sulphide processing plant is well underway, with initial sulphide production expected in the third quarter of this year.
Vast said evaluation of the nearby Giant Gold Mine, which has a current JORC-compliant inferred resource of 500 000 ounces of gold, is ongoing. And construction of the toll treatment plant to process ore from nearby artisanal mining operations commenced during the quarter and was commissioned during the current quarter.
Said Vast CEO Mr Roy Pitchford: “In Zimbabwe, we were presented with a different set of challenges due to the unusually high rainfall.”
He however said production at the gold producer was now returning to “normal levels.”“Production at Pickstone-Peerless is returning to normal levels and additional gold production is expected from the artisanal gold processing facility that has recently been commissioned.
“Continued good progress on the sulphide processing facility promises further increased gold production at Pickstone-Peerless in Q3 2017, and longer-term, the development of the Giant Gold Mine provides the Company with the ability to be a growing gold producer. We remain confident of the future opportunities ahead.”
In terms of the sale of the Zimbabwean properties, the group said “final approval of the Assignment by RBZ (Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) remains outstanding, but correspondence from and discussions with Canape’s bankers in connection with the application for approval indicate that the necessary approval for the Assignment will be forthcoming shortly, and all efforts continue to achieve this as soon as possible.”