Kuvimba Mining House’s Freda Rebecca produced 73 000 ounces (2 300kgs) of gold in the year ending March 2023 down from 103 000 ounces of the yellow metal in the previous year as power cuts blight production, a company executive has said.
Freda Rebecca managing director Patrick Museva Shayawabaya also attributed the decline to a dip in ore head grade.
The mine, like others during the first quarter was not spared from crippling power outages that the country experienced last year.
“The decline was mostly due to unscheduled power outages. We lost 6 800 ounces of production to power outages .
“The balance was due to a dip in the ore head grade in the quarter to December 2022,”he said.
Shayawabaya told The NewsReportLive on the sidelines of a media tour last Friday that the mine was confident it will surpass the current production in the coming year.
“In the year to March 2023 as Freda Rebecca Gold Mine we produced 73 000 ounces of gold. We expect that the production for the year that we are in, that is the year to March 2024, will be a marginal increase to about 80 000 ounces of gold,”he said.
During the last quarter alone , Freda Rebecca the country’s largest mining company produced 602 kgs of gold.
“The quarter that we have just ended in which we produced 19 300 ounces of gold was a good quarter under the circumstances where we had power outages on account of load-shedding, on account of ZETDC infrastructure breakdowns. So we are very pleased with what we achieved that quarter.
“The power situation has improved significantly in the past three weeks and indications from ZESA are that unit 7 and 8 are now fully commissioned and therefore the supply of power should not be as much a problem as it was in the previous quarter so that basis we expect to be able to mill at the very least the same volume of ore that we mill in quarter one if not more,”he said.
Shayawabaya said the mine has line up several projects aimed at ramping up production.
The projects require a capital investment of US$25 million, with the company, now under Kuvimba Mining House having already secured US$10 million.
“We have got a budget of US $10 million dollars for projects that will be funded from the company’s resources. But we also got a project which is as yet unfunded which would cost US$15 million. So in total the project that we got on our board would cost US$25 million but at this point in time, US$15 million funding has not been secured.
“In this quarter we are going to commission our thickener project…we are going to continue with the exploration program.
“We did the initial exploration programme from October to March 2022 which yielded very satisfactory results. Now we need to do what we call infill drilling to confirm what the results of the initial exploration were .
“We are also going to start a project to stabilise the supply of power to our operations.”
When Kuvimba Mining House took over the mine in 2020 , Freda Rebecca was producing 150kgs of gold per month.
During the last quarter the mine milled 547 000 tonnes of ore at a grade of 1, 5 which translates to 19 300 ounces (602 kgs) of gold.