Businessman Tawanda Nyambirai said Arcturus Gold Mine can still make profits operating at a lower threshold of 0,5 grammes per tonne compared to the six grammes per tonne mined during the time of the previous owner, Metallon Corporation.
Metallon Corporation which is Zimbabwe’s biggest gold producer sold off Arcturus mine to Nyambirai’s investment company, TN Securities, last year for an undisclosed amount. As part of the transaction, Metallon ceded all its rights and obligations concerning the mine. The rights include but not limited to, trade and statutory creditors and the mining rights over Arcturus mining lease Number 33.
Nyambirai said he would invest close to $12 million in the gold mine amid revelations he is planning further investments into mining including exploration for greenfield projects in Kadoma already underway.
Nyambirai told Business Weekly that Arcturus mine can still operate profitably mining at 0,5 grammes per tonne despite the fact that the previous miner had a six grammes per tonne threshold.
“There are a number of things we are doing at Arcturus mine. The previous miners had a minimum threshold of six grammes per tonne and anything that was below that was waste to them.
“The reason was their limited processing capacity and our approach when we came in was to increase our processing capacity so that we can lower our pay level to a pay level of 0,5 grammes per tonne,” said Nyambirai.
In terms of the timelines for the re-opening of the mine, Nyambirai recently told this publication that they have a target of six months but could be delayed due to the unavailability of foreign currency needed to import critical equipment, including the flotation plant.
“We are on course to start operations in the six months as highlighted before. With mining, the most important part is your resource. You have to evaluate so that you are able to estimate the life of mine and the value in it.
“So there are numerous resources we have found and we are now at a stage where the processing plant and also commencing mining and stock piling of ore once the processing plant is complete,” he said.
A due diligence exercise conducted on Arcturus Mine had concluded that the mine was closed because exploration and development lagged exploitation.
Total investment into the gold mine is expected to be in the region of $12 million, after factoring in the costs of acquiring the gold mine, taking over its legacy debts, retrenching old staff, capital expenditure and operating expenditure to rejuvenate operations.
To get Arcturus back to viability, Nyambirai said they invested in exploration equipment, including a brand new Boyles C6C surface diamond drilling rig with capacity to drill 1 200m NQ and is acquiring new electric equipment with voltage of 380 instead of 520.
Nyambirai said the due diligence on Arcturus exercise concluded that the mine was a good asset that could be turned around and was reasonably priced.
Arcturus Mine has been operating since 1907.
The gold mine was placed under care and maintenance in 2009 and resumed operations in 2013. Arcturus Mine comprises four underground mining operations which are Venus, Gladstone, Ceylon and Viceroy.