Aim-listed mining company Vast Resources has seen gold production at its Pickstone-Peerless mine, in Zimbabwe, increase 75% in the six months ended September 30, to 9 452 oz.
CEO Roy Pitchford on Tuesday said that production at the mine consistently surpassed expectations, having reliably exceeded 20 000 t/m of ore. The mine was now running at a steady state.
Gold production at the mine was now close to 20 000 oz/y, at a cash cost of $700/oz.
Further, he noted that construction of a new sulphide plant at Pickstone-Peerless has started, with first sulphide production expected in the third quarter of the new year. “This represents an important evolution to the story at Pickstone-Peerless and demonstrates our confidence in the long-term potential of this asset,” Pitchford said.
Alongside these operational expansions, the success of Pickstone-Peerless has prompted the reappraisal of development at the nearby Giant mine, which has a current Joint Ore Reserves Committee-compliant inferred resource of 500 000 oz of gold.
Historically, Giant was a significant producer and like Pickstone-Peerless it is believed that a world-class resource could be delineated at this mine, offering further upside to the Zimbabwean operations. “Unfortunately, this operational success has coincided with renewed political problems in Zimbabwe, with recurring doubts over the form and level of indigenisation, and introduction of a new quasi Zimbabwe currency in the form of bond notes replacing US dollars in bank,” newly appointed chairperson Brian Moritz said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Vast continues to focus on its operating 1.8-million tonnes Manaila polymetallic mine in Romania, where optimisation work has yielded important results, which has achieved an improved copper concentrate, the delivery of a second revenue stream though a zinc concentrate and a resource, which has been enlarged by about eight times – “all of which have transformed this underperforming asset into a cash flow positive mining operation”, Moritz added.
Work is now underway to generate a third revenue stream through a gold/silver concentrate.