RioZim (Zimbabwe) – Gold production declines 7% to 1,122kg in FY2021

By Published On: May 9th, 2022Categories: Corporate announcement, Earnings

RioZim Limited (RIOZ.zw) 2021 Abridged Report

CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT

INTRODUCTION

The operating environment throughout the year was challenging. It was characterised by significant exchange rate distortions, ongoing power supply deficits and policy changes amongst other challenges, which negatively impacted the operations of the Group. The COVID-19 pandemic presented further challenges to the already depressed macroeconomic environment as new variants emerged during the year.

The foreign currency retention was revised downwards to 60% in January 2021 from 70% in the prior year. This not only reduced the value realised for the Group’s gold produce but also negatively impacted on the timeous execution of the Group’s projects, which predominantly required foreign currency. The commissioning of the Biological Oxidation (BIOX) Plant Project that was forecasted for Q4 2021 was delayed and postponed to Q1 2022.

Despite the stability of the interbank rate, the comparative rates in the alternative market traded at huge premiums above the interbank rate during the period. This continued to put pressure on the Group’s profitability as inputs tracked rates in the alternative market.

The combination of a challenging operating environment and the delays on the completion of the BIOX Plant Project due to inadequate foreign currency resulted in the Company incurring a loss for the year. It is against this background that I present you with the financial results of the Company.

GROUP PERFORMANCE

Gold production regressed by 7% from 1 205kg produced in the prior year to 1 122kg. Due to delays in the completion of the BIOX Plant Project, the lifespan of the stopgap One-Step mining operation was extended and continued to supply ore to the Cam & Motor plant. The grades, however, significantly dropped which resulted in subdued production. This impacted the Group’s production as both Dalny and Renco recorded almost consistent production from the prior year. The gold price recorded a marginal 1% increase from the prior year to an average of US$1 774/oz for the year compared to US$1 765/oz in the prior year. Despite a 7% decline in gold production, the Group’s revenue increased by 84% to ZW$5.8 billion compared to the prior period’s ZW$3.1 billion primarily due to the depreciation of the local currency against the United States dollar.

GOLD BUSINESS

Renco Mine
The mine operated at almost the same level of production as the prior year achieving 561kg of gold, 3% lower than 580kg produced in the prior year. The slight shortfall in gold output from the prior year was attributed to reduced plant throughput as a result of increased power cuts during the year.
Dalny Mine
Dalny achieved a 6% growth in gold production achieving 209kg of gold from 198kg produced in the prior year. The growth in gold production was due to increased plant throughput as plant improvements carried out during the year successfully stabilised the plant.
One-Step Mine
Gold production at One-Step mine fell by 18% from the prior year’s production of 427kg to 351kg. The low gold output was attributable to lower grades which dropped from the prior year. The life of mine was extended during the year despite the grades deteriorating and mining operations continued for the full year. The One-Step ore was processed at the plant in Cam & Motor as had been happening in the previous year.
Cam & Motor Mine
There was no gold production from Cam & Motor mine during the year which was a carry forward from prior year as the mine continued with the construction of its BIOX Plant Project throughout the year. The completion of the BIOX Plant which was scheduled for the second half of the year was delayed due to inadequate foreign currency and COVID-19 pandemic induced challenges. Commissioning of the BIOX Plant Project would have enabled resumption of mining operations at the Cam & Motor high grade ore pits.
BIOX Plant Project
After obtaining the funding required for the completion of the BIOX Plant Project, the Company accelerated installations in the second half of the year to bring the plant to completion stage at the end of the year. Testing of the various equipment and components commenced subsequent to year end and the plant was successfully commissioned on the 14th of April 2022 by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe H.E. Dr E.D. Mnangagwa.

BASE METALS BUSINESS

The Refinery operated under care and maintenance throughout the period. 210tons of matte, 78tons of PGMs and 21tons of copper were produced. Revenue of ZW$381 million was generated during the year from the projects at the Refinery which partially funded the care and maintenance costs. The Company continues to engage various stakeholders to identify sources of raw material to feed the Refinery to normal production capacity and our stakeholders will be kept appraised.

CHROME BUSINESS

The legal dispute relating to the Company’s chrome claims in Darwendale remained under litigation as at year end and the Company continues to pursue the finalisation of the court case.

DIAMOND BUSINESS

Diamond production for the Group’s associate, RZM Murowa (Private) Limited, declined by 28% to 414 000 carats from 579 000 carats produced in the comparative year, 2020.
The Associate processed material from the low grade stock piles with limited mining activities from the K2 pit. This was in contrast to the prior year whereby production was from the mining activities in the K2 pit, which has slightly better grades. The key focus for the Associate is completion of its Project Crown Jewel which entails increasing the current processing plant capacity to move to a ‘low grade high volume’ strategy in order to sustain production as it is currently processing low grades.
The Group’s share of profit from the associate increased to ZW$525.8million compared to ZW$494.8 million in the prior year.

ENERGY BUSINESS

178 MW Solar Project
The Company concluded the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) for all the proposed solar sites which are a prerequisite before the implementation of the solar projects at the various mines. Engagements with potential financiers are ongoing albeit at a slower pace due to the complexities brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
2 800MW Sengwa Power Station
Due to a mix of considerations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Company has put up various financing options to attract potential investors into the project. Stakeholders will be kept abreast on the developments of the project.