Vast mulls Zimbabwe expansion

Vast mulls Zimbabwe expansion
Published: 10 May 2018
AIM-listed mining company Vast Resources (Vast) says it plans to invest significantly in its operating mines in Zimbabwe and Romania.

This was after the miner, which operates Pickstone-Peerless Gold Mine, recently partnered Botswana Diamond Plc to seek opportunities in diamond exploration in Zimbabwe.

Vast chief executive Andrew Prelea said the company's focus in the past few months has been to ready itself for the next phase of growth.

"The next phase of growth… is not limited to Manaila and Pickstone-Peerless; we have an expansive strategy for Vast and both Romania and Zimbabwe, we are actively looking at complementary assets and non-dilutive financing structures with which to build Vast into a mid-tier mining company," he said.

This was after the group's Pickstone-Peerless produced 6 326 ounces of gold in the 2018 first quarter, up from 6 057 ounces in the preceding quarter.

Gold sales rose by 14 percent to 6 549 ounces, compared to 5 729 ounces.

The milled gold grade also improved, up 13 percent to 2,78 grammes per tonne from 2,46 grammes per tonne in the preceding three months.

Overall ore tonnes, meanwhile, reduced to 65 342 tonnes from 90 874 tonnes in the fourth quarter of 2017, and, there was a six percent reduction in ore milled down to 80 639 tonnes from 86 097 tonnes.

This was the result of a higher level of pre-stripping activity — to prepare for higher ore tonnages in future months — and the impact of heavy rainfall during February.

Some mechanical problems in the plant also occurred during the period, though the company said these have been remedied.

Elsewhere, the company highlighted that activity at the Manaila Mine, in Romania, has been focussed on pre-stripping and plant maintenance, with the aim of ensuring sustainable supply to satisfy a recently agreed offtake deal.

This was reflected in the mine's performance metrics — with tonnes mined and milled decreasing significantly for the quarter whilst the stripping ratio shot up by 86 percent.

Copper and zinc production volumes were accordingly lower in the three months.

Nonetheless, in the latter part of the quarter the milled copper grade increased substantially, to 0,84 percent from 0,56 percent whilst the copper concentrate grade rose to 19,2 percent.

Meanwhile, Vast has appointed Nicholas Hatch as an Independent nonexecutive director, with immediate effect.

"We…believe his experience and technical insight will assist Vast as we develop our operations both in Zimbabwe and Romania as well as accessing new opportunities," the group's chairman Brian Moritz said.

Hatch has 35 years' experience in mining investment banking, primarily as a mining analyst and in managing mining and metals research and equities teams.

- The Financial Gazette
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