Mwana Africa's Zimbabwe units registered contrasting fortunes in the quarter to December 2013 with output volumes rising by 76 percent at Trojan Mine , but taking a 25 percent knock at gold miner, Freda Rebecca. Nickel production rose 76 percent to 2 651 tonnes at Trojan Mine , a unit of Mwana Africa's 75,4 percent owned Zimbabwe Stock Exchange listed Bindura Nickel Corporation , compared to the same period last year. Mwana said quarterly revenue at the nickel miner was also 74 percent up to US$24,5 million due to the massive jump in sales in the quarter under review. "All-in sustaining costs cash costs increased from US$10 390 per tonne to US$11 819 per tonne. This was as a result of the continued production ramp up and the commencement of the shaft re-deepening," Mwana said yesterday. Things are finally looking up for BNC, which at one point appeared in danger after facing challenges in trying to secure funding for phase two of the restart of the Trojan Mine , but resolved the issue through a revised mining plan targeting ore bodies with high nickel content. The revised plan resulted in marked decrease in the amount of money required for phase two restart, increased revenues and decreased unit operating costs, which are now evenly spread across high production volumes. Trojan returned to production, after raising US$23 million fresh capital in September 2012 , since BNC operations were placed under care and maintenance at the height of Zimbabwe's macro-economic instability in 2008. Contrastingly, Mwana Africa's cash cow, Freda Rebecca, registered a decline in output after a total of 13 072 ounces were produced during the quarter, representing a decrease of 25 percent over the previous quarter. Mwana said the drop in production at Freda Rebecca is attributable to a mill being unavailable temporarily due to engineering down time and shut-downs. The shutdowns were undertaken to make modifications which the company anticipates will lead to an improvement in overall production throughput. Production was also impacted by a drop in head grade due to the temporary cessation of mining at Freda Rebecca's open pit operations. Mwana said its Bindura-based gold mining subsidiary has noted improved production following the modifications to the mill and does not anticipate that the issues with head grade will continue into the fourth quarter. Despite the lower head grade, the plant recoveries benefited from the availability of all three leach tanks resulting in improved leaching efficiencies with an increase to 84,9 percent from 83,6 percent in the last quarter. All in sustaining costs increased by 22,6 percent to US$1 291/oz mainly as a result of lower gold production in the quarter while the pilot plant for tailings retreatment is complete and is set to be commissioned.
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