November 6, 2019

Power cuts rattle RioZim gold output

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Ndaka Majaka

LISTED resources firm, RioZim, is experiencing a subdued second half on the back of power cuts, amid indications its gold production went down by over 117 kilogrammes in the first six months of 2019.

Zimbabwe is reeling from incessant power cuts which are crippling business operations.

Riozim chairperson, Saleem Rashid Beebeejaun, said output at two of the group’s gold mines had been severely affected by the power blackouts.

“Power supply deficit remains a key risk in the second half of 2019. Even though the company is paying for uninterrupted power supply in United States Dollars, the group has continued to experience intermittent load shedding,” he said in a statement appended to the firm’s reviewed group interim financial results for the half year ended June 30, 2019.

Beebeejaun pointed out that acute power cuts were recorded at the group’s Dalny Mine in the second quarter of the year.

Power outages also took a knock on Renco Mine which experienced some plant breakdowns resulting in reduced production.

“In addition, the incessant power cuts in the second quarter of 2019 had a negative impact on gold output. Renco therefore, produced 259 kilogrammes which is only 72 percent of comparative period production of 360 kilogrammes,” he said.

Resultantly, RioZim is vigorously pursuing its energy projects – the 178 Megawatt (MW) solar project and the Sengwa thermal power station – to guarantee stable power supply not only to its operations but to the country as well.

For the solar project, Beebeejaun said an Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) partner who has the requisite expertise and experience to undertake the project has been secured and binding memorandums of understanding between the parties have already been concluded.

“The design work and grid impact assessment for the project has been concluded. Implementation of the project is expected in the immediate future once negotiations relating to the financing structure are finalized,” the RioZim boss said.

On the 2 800 MW Sengwa Power Station which is expected to bring power to the national grid – RioZim and its investment partner are in the process of finalising the funding structure which should see ground breaking for the first phase of 700 MW.

Through Murowa Diamonds (Private) Limited, the diamonds business achieved a 16 percent growth in production to 390 000 carats from 343 000 carats produced in the comparative period in 2018.

Meanwhile, Riozim achieved an after-tax profit of ZWL$38 million for the six months ended June 2019, up from a profit of ZWL$406 000 in the previous comparable period.

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