BY ARNOLD FANDISO
Mining giant Kuvimba Mining House has set itself ambitious goals to double gold production at all its mines and expedite exploration programmes on various non-operating gold assets in order to determine the viability of recommissioning them.
KMH, which now employs just over 3 000 people in all its gold, chrome and nickel operations, is expected to significantly increase its workforce by bringing more mines into operation.
KMM general manager chief operating officer, Cobus Bronn, said his company had managed to stabilise and increase metal output through the reinvestment of capital in the operations.
“KMH recognises and understands the importance of providing the required sustaining capital to its operations to ensure sustainable and improved production at the lowest possible operating costs,” Bronn said.
In partnership with the government, the mining giant owns and manages three operating gold mines, Freda Rebecca (FRGM), Shamva and Jena as well as three non-operating gold mines; various chrome operations and an operating nickel mine.
Freda Rebecca was producing 150 kgs of gold per month, but in May, doubled its production and beat a 20-year record, by producing 300kg in one month.
“During the previous decade (2011-2020) FRGM produced on average between 1 500kg and 2 100kg gold per annum. Within the first year of full ownership, financial year 2021 (April 2020 to March 2021), KMH has managed to increase gold production to 2690kg,” Bronn said.
“The budget plan for the current financial year is to increase production of gold to 3 215kg per annum.”
Bronn added: “KMH re-commissioned the Shamva underground mine during June 2020 at an initial production level of 20 000t run of mine gold ore per month.
“The gold ore production doubled to 40 000t per month in less than a year.
“Once fully developed, Shamva will become the biggest gold mine in Zimbabwe and aim to produce up to 3 500kg gold per annum.”
Bronn said Jena Mines historically produced between 15 and 22kg of gold per month, but KMH has a plan to increase the gold production from the current capacity of over 330 kg per annum to 1 000kg within three years, which equates to a 300% increase.
“This increase will be achieved through increasing the processing plant capacity and developing the underground resources,” Bronn said.
He said KMH will, during the second half of the year; roll out an extensive exploration program on various non-operating gold assets in order to determine the viability of recommissioning them.
Collectively, he said, the non-operating mines, which have been neglected for a while have the potential to produce in the excess of 1,200kg gold per year.
With the assistance of KMH, he said, Bundura Nickel Corporation (BNC) completed the shaft deepening project in April 2021 in a testament to Kuvimba’s operational capabilities.
“The shaft deepening project was completed in one month even though this project was initiated over 17 years ago in 2003 with little success due to various reasons including mismanagement, and lack of reinvestment,” Bronn said.
“BNC is now in the process of extending the down dip exploration program in an attempt to further increase the life of mine and to improve the mining flexibility.
“BNC expects to increase nickel production to over 6 000t for the current financial year.”
KMH is also assisting the GDI-Darwendale PGM project which aims to produce up to 295 000 Oz of PGMs within four years.
KMH has also helped Zimbabwe Alloys Limited (ZAL), which has been under judicial management, clear off its debts.
“The short-term plan is to commence mining lumpy chrome ore followed by a review of the re-commissioning of one of the furnaces at Gweru plant,” Bronn said.
“The alluvial chrome claims have limited life and therefore a study is being undertaken to develop a feasible and safe underground mine plan.
“KMH aims to produce 200 000 tonnes of chrome within the first twelve months and double this to more than 400 000 tonnes of chrome per annum by year five.