RioZim looks into upgrading ENR

RioZim looks into upgrading ENR
Published: 02 April 2018
LISTED mining group, RioZim Limited is exploring various ways to upgrade its Empress Nickel Refinery (ENR) as the plant is a strategic asset with potential to contribute significantly to the economy.

RioZim board chairman, Mr Lovemore Chihota, revealed in a financial statement accompanying the group's financial results for the year ended December 31, 2017 that upgrading of the ENR would go a long way in beneficiating lithium concentrates on the back of huge investor appetite to exploit the mineral in Zimbabwe.

"ENR remains a strategic asset for the group and the country at large as it has the potential to generate significant amounts of foreign currency once its operations fully resume.

"The group plans to upgrade the refinery so that it can process material other than base metals. In line with this, the group is currently exploring various methods of upgrading the refinery so that it is also able to beneficiate lithium concentrate in light of the huge investor appetite to exploit lithium in the country," he said.

Lithium has become a much-sought after mineral not only in Zimbabwe, but also across the globe as the automotive industry moves towards electric cars, which, among other things, use lithium batteries.

In Zimbabwe, lithium deposits occur in Bikita, Gweru, Kamativi and just outside Harare, Prospect Resources has already moved to invest $10 million to develop the Arcadia lithium mining. Mr Chihota said his company's success to upgrade the ENR in the Midlands province and RioZim's overall operation was heavily dependent on access to foreign currency the firm generates this year.

"Every effort is being made to this effect. Looking forward, the board and I believe that the future for RioZim is exciting as we operate in a sector that is expected to grow in the coming years," he said.

During the period under review, the group's revenue grew by 36 percent to $88.9 million from $65.2 million that was achieved in the prior year.

This was on the back of an average gold price of $1 255 per ounce when compared to $1 251 per oz achieved in 2016.

"It is also worth noting that this growth in revenue was achieved despite the fact that the ENR remained under care and maintenance. Overall, the group closed the year with a profit before tax of $7.9 million. This was an increase from the sum of $1.8 million achieved in 2016," said Mr Chihota. On the outlook, RioZim remains focused on delivering on several initiatives that are targeted at achieving sustainability and growth. He said accelerated exploration and development programme was aimed at identifying new mining areas and enhancing the group's flexibility in the management of its ore grade.

"In addition to this, the company intends to increase operational efficiencies, particularly gold recoveries through commissioning of a floatation circuit at Cam and Motor Mine in the second quarter of 2018.

"The company also remains focused on the objective of becoming a leader in innovative, environmentally-friendly and sustainable mining practices. Accordingly, the company is applying both internal and global expertise to devise such a solution for the recovery of gold from refractory ore," he said.
- zimpapers
Tags: RioZim, ENR,


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