LONDON-listed resources exploration and development company Mwana Africa yesterday reported an 86% increase in revenue to $81,3m for the year ended in March, largely due to a solid performance by the Freda Rebecca mine, the company's gold operations in Zimbabwe.

The group's losses narrowed by 42% to $6,7m down from $11,5m while losses attributable to shareholders were reduced by 79% to $700000 compared with the corresponding period a year ago. Mwana operates gold, nickel, diamond and other mines in Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo and SA.

"The group's focus for the financial year has been on expanding production at Freda Rebecca gold mine to our target production rate of 50000 ounces per annum, increasing the gold resource at our Zani-Kodo project in the Democratic Republic of Congo through continued exploration drilling, and evaluating various funding structures to enable the restart of operations at Bindura Nickel Corporation's Trojan nickel mine," said CEO Kalaa Mpinga.

At Freda Rebecca, a ramp-up in production continued after the installation and commissioning of the second milling circuit in June last year, which resulted in output of 47770 ounces of gold, contributing $17,7m to group profit and generating $15,5m in cash.

Mwana formed a strategic partnership with the China International Mining Group Corporation, in which the state-owned Chinese investment group acquired a 22% stake, after investing $32,8m.

The capital injection has been earmarked for the restart of operations at the Trojan Nickel Mine at Bindura in Zimbabwe.

"The restart plan for the Trojan mine involves the production of 7000 tons a year of nickel in concentrate, which will be sold to Glencore.

Production ramp-up is very quick, as would be expected, and the operation should reach steady-state production within 24 months," Mr Mpinga said.

Recovery operations at the Klipspringer diamond mine in SA were also under way, and the company was considering restarting the mine.

Mining operations have been mothballed since heavy rains during December 2010 and January last year flooded the mine's shafts.

Mwana is exploring and drilling at the Zani-Kodo gold project in Congo, which has resources estimated at 2-million ounces.