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Incessant rains disrupt Pickstone mining operations

Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
AIM-listed Vast Resources plc says production at its Pickstone-Peerless Gold Mine in Chegutu declined by 11 percent to 4 356 ounces (oz) in the fourth quarter ended December 2016 due to continued rains.

In a quarterly production update released this week, Vast Resources indicated that increased rains that were experienced during the period under review disrupted mining and milling operations.

“Gold production at Pickstone-Peerless Mine decreased by 11 percent to 4 356oz in the fourth quarter ended December 2016 from 4 910oz achieved in the quarter ended September 2016. The decline in production was due to high rainfall that restricted mining and milling in December,” it said.

The resources mining concern also indicated that ore milled during the period under review decreased by six percent to 61 355 tonnes compared to the previous quarter’s figures of 65 573 tonnes.

Vast Resources chief executive officer Mr Roy Pitchford was quoted as saying despite the operational challenges experienced during the period, Pickstone Peerless Mine still delivered production of 4 356oz of gold at an impressively low cost of $619 per oz versus an average sales price of $1 231 per oz.

“The period also saw severe weather impact our operations in Zimbabwe, where unusually high rainfall in December and January resulted in lower milling and production at the Pickstone-Peerless Gold Mine.

“The Pickstone-Peerless mine has now returned to normal production levels and we remain optimistic about future production, which is being conducted in conjunction with the construction of the sulphide processing plant. This will enable production from the high-grade sulphide pit in addition to the oxide pit,” he said.

Vast Resources, which controls 50 percent shareholding in Pickstone, has announced an intention to dispose of about 25,01 percent of its ownership in the Chegutu-based mine when SSCG Africa Holdings Ltd financing conditions precedent are fulfilled.

Last month, the resources group announced its intention to partially dispose of a non-controlling interest in Pickstone-Peerless and Giant gold mines for about $8 million.

Vast Resources has said it was exiting the Zimbabwe operations to focus on core mining activities in Romania.

– @okazunga.

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