Mhangura makes a $78m loss

Nothing seems to be going on well for the troubled Mhangura Copper Mines. It's results for the 12 months ending June 1998, were seven months late and they were a disaster, and although things are reported to have improved in the six months ending December 1998, shareholders are likely to be kept in suspense unless the company speeds up its reporting.

Turnover was down by 54 percent from $118.4 million in 1997 to $54.3 million last year. The main cause of the drop in sales is said to be a drop in production mainly due to the rehabilitation at Miriam Mine which was scheduled for completion by September 1998 but was slowed down because of lack of cheap funds after the company's bank failed to secure an offshore loan.

Ore milled at Miriam dropped from 562 000 tonnes in 1997 to 305 000 last year. Recoverable copper dropped from 3 510 tonnes to 1 751 tonnes. Copper anodes produced dropped from 7 702 tonnes in 1997 to 4 680 tonnes last year and copper sold decreased from 3 880 tonnes to1 145 tonnes while gold sales dropped from 107kgs to 26 and silver from 6 208 kgs to 1 591 kgs.

The company had an operating loss of $77.9 million down from a loss of $25.7 million the previous year. Total loss after taking into account interest paid dropped to $123.6 million compared with $53.3 million the previous year resulting in an accumulated loss of $227.4 million.

The company, however, says the rehabilitation of Miriam and the sourcing of outside concentrates for its smelter and refinery which has been operating at below capacity are expected to improve its results for the period ending December 1998.

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