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Riozim intensifies exploration activities in Zimbabwe

Rio Zimbabwe has intensified exploration activities at its gold mining assets in the country. Company spokesperson Wilson Gwatiringa made the announcement and said the move will see the firm doubling its production.

Mr Gwatiringa pointed out the new processing plant at Murowa Diamond was almost complete and will see the company more than doubling monthly processing capacity to 500 000 tonnes. The firm has also ramped up investments in exploration at existing mines and mining blocks.

“We have a massive ongoing exploration going on at all our mines in Renco Mine, Cam and Motor and Chakari as well as our blocks of claims. It is important for our expansion strategy, being one of the major producers of gold, Zimbabwe’s largest foreign exchange earner,” he said.

RioZim separated from Rio Tinto plc in 2004 and became a wholly owned Zimbabwean company that also holds coal and nickel assets. It is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. As part of a broader expansion programme, its diamond unit will soon commission a processing plant at its Murowa mine, located in Mazvihwa, south central Zimbabwe.

Investments

Processing capacity is expected to increase to 500 000 tonnes per month from 190,000 tonnes and will see operations transition from open cut to underground mining. The commissioning follows the announcement in April 2020 that Murowa intends to invest over US$450 million into the expansion of its Midlands province operations, with the current phase of the expansion program expected to cost US$52 million and extending operations at the Murowa mine by four years.

The construction of the underground mine is expected to cost US$400 million. “It is a much bigger plant than the current one and it’s almost complete,” said Mr Gwatiringa.

The RioZim expansion projects gives impetus to the Government’s economic revival expected to be anchored by the mining sector. As part of its broader Vision 2030 agenda, the Government intends to increase mineral exports to US$12 billion by 2023, with gold projected to account for US$4 billion, platinum with US$3 billion and chrome, iron steel, diamonds and coal each contributing US$1 billion, while lithium and other minerals are expected to contribute US$2 billion.

The firm also commissioned a multi-million-dollar biological oxidation plant at Cam and Motor Mine in Kadoma. The plant will enable RioZim to process pure oxide ores for good grades and high recoveries. Installation of the versatile plant started two years ago and US$17 million was invested to fund construction of the facility.

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