London, England — MININGREVIEW.COM — 18 September 2009 – African mining company Mwana Africa plc says its Zimbabwean gold mine is on course to re-start production this month, and that improved conditions in the country favoured resumption of its nickel operations as well.
In a statement released here, the company said it had completed refurbishment of its Freda Rebecca gold mine, north-east of the capital Harare. It added that the revival in world prices had led the company to also considerer re-opening its majority-owned Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC) nickel mines, which were mothballed last November.
Mwana went on to say that talks with lenders to increase gold production to 50 000 ounces a year from 30 000 ounces were continuing. “Many of the changes in the economic environment in Zimbabwe, which prompted the decision to resume the refurbishment of the Freda Rebecca gold mine, will have a similarly positive impact on operations at BNC,” the statement said.
Mwana chief executive Kalaa Mpinga told Reuters in a telephone interview that Zimbabwe’s economic environment had improved since President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had set up a power-sharing government in February. He said the mining industry was making progress in consultations with the government over proposed empowerment.
“Zimbabwe has transformed from one of the most difficult economies in which to operate in the world, to the most liberal economy in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) within six months,” Mpinga added.
“We believe in empowerment, but it has to be done in a manner conducive to investment. If somebody has a project and you ask them to take 100% of the risk, you cannot ask them to take only 49% of the profit.”