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Vast Resources builds portfolio as political wheel turns in Zimbabwe

In April, Vast also acquired an indirect interest of 23.75% in the Eureka gold mine
Vast's gold production is rising

Vast Resources PLC (LON:VAST) recently posted another record-breaking quarter at its Pickstone-Peerless gold mine in Zimbabwe, where overall gold production has increased by 4%.

Sales from the mine climbed 14% in the same period while the mine produced 6,326 ounces of gold.

Andrew Prelea, chief executive of Vast, says preparation was key to breaking the production records despite inclement weather and noted that grades are also rising.

“We’re continually maintaining that grade [from the first quarter]…we’re heading toward another steady production rate similar to the first quarter” Prelea told Proactive.

Prepped for growth in Romania

Pickstone-Peerless is one of a growing number of projects in the Vast portfolio.

At Manaila in Romania, grades and the resource have also been rising.

WATCH: Vast Resources 'readying itself for the next phase of growth'

In March, Vast estimated Manaila contained 4.6mln tonnes of ore grading 0.97% copper, 0.32% lead, 0.68% zinc, 25.8 grams per tonne silver, and 0.23% gold.

On those numbers, the implied mine life is over 11 years, based on a mining rate of 30,000 tonnes per month.

Prelea says that despite also being impacted by adverse weather, the grades coming out of Manaila are a sign of things to come; “The last two weeks of March and the first two weeks of April are a demonstration of what we can look forward to … we’ve got record grades coming to the plant and higher quality copper concentrates, which equates to a better cash return.”

Pushing to start production at Eureka

In April, Vast also acquired an indirect interest of 23.75% in the Eureka gold mine in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwean company Dallaglio Investments, in which Vast owns a 25.01% stake, bought a 95% interest in Delta Gold Zimbabwe.

Eureka has an indicated resource of 1.08mln ounces.

According to Prelea, Eureka has seen over US$30mln in investment since the late 1990s, and he wants to start production as soon as possible, telling Proactive the mine could be producing “in 6 months, if not in 12”.

Exploring diamond opportunities

Aside from metals, Vast is also dipping its toe into the diamonds sector, teaming up with Botswana Diamonds PLC (LON:BOD) to investigate opportunities in Zimbabwe.

A memorandum of understanding will see the two companies exchange information derived from past exploration on areas prospective for diamonds in Zimbabwe and to form a special purpose jointly owned company to develop and exploit anything they find.

Broadening the offering to retail investors

With such a diverse offering on the table, Prelea is hoping that the group’s attractiveness as an investment will continue to increase; “We’re now trying to find that balance between production volumes and cost efficiencies and profitability, and we’re continuing to do that,” he told Proactive.

He added: “We could potentially become a much better investment destination for the institutional investors … and we would also like to broaden our horizon with our retail investors.”

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