The alluvial production at the Manica gold mining concession, in Mozambique, for the first quarter of the year was disappointing on the back of prolonged heavy rains, although real progress was made, says diversified metals and minerals producer Xtract Resources executive chairperson Colin Bird.
The project is 4 km north of Manica and 270 km west-northwest of the city of Beira.
In April, Xtract announced its preliminary unaudited results for alluvial mining contractors for the Manica concession for the three months ended March 31.
Total alluvial mining contractor gold production amounted to 37.32 kg. A total of 9.23 kg (equivalent to about 297 oz) was attributable to Xtract’s wholly owned Mozambican subsidiary Explorator.
According to Bird, one alluvial mining contractor was partially able to combat the effects of rain, while the other alluvial mining operator (using traditional alluvial processing methods) was unable to produce for a significant part of the quarter. “We continue to address key areas of performance and we expect improved results month-on-month.”
Bird noted that Explorator had in February concluded a new mining contractor agreement with mining contractor Omnia Mining for the exploitation of alluvial gold deposits within the O block of the western half of the alluvials in the Manica concession.
However, in April, Xtract noted that Omnia Mining advised Xtract that the company does not want to continue with the execution of the agreement and has elected to continue operations solely in their own concession.
“Xtract is also adapting its operational approach to the alluvials, based on the experience built up over the last six months, reflecting the random nature of alluvial gold distribution,” adds Bird.
He notes that the Manica alluvials are typical in that the presence of gold is often random, supporting the company’s assessment that volume is the key to a successful alluvial operation.
“We are also considering different mining methods for the terraces, which require deeper mining and often produce large nuggets that can mitigate against lower average grades.”