By Alois Vinga
BLANKET Mine, a 64% subsidiary of Caledonia Mining Corporation, has injected US$360 000 dividend payment to Gwanda Community Share Ownership Trust (GCST), becoming one of the most lucrative community payback gestures in recent times.
Commenting on the latest payout, Caledonia’s chief executive officer (CEO), Mark Learmonth, expressed commitment to continuously serve the community.
“In October 2021, Blanket Mine announced that the advance dividend loan had been repaid and going forward, GCSOT would receive its full entitlement of 10 % of dividends paid by Blanket Mine.
“With investment in our local communities and employees being at the heart of our business, I am delighted that this dividend has now been paid,” he said.
The GCST benefits from the arrangement dates back to 2012, when Caledonia facilitated the ownership of 51% of Blanket by indigenous Zimbabweans in accordance with the prevailing legislation at that time.
This included a 10% ownership by the local community via GCSOT. In 2020, following changes in legislation, Caledonia increased its shareholding in Blanket to 64 per cent, but GCSOT retained its 10 per cent ownership.
In 2012 and 2013, Blanket made advance dividend payments to GCSOT totaling $4 million so that GCSOT had funds to establish its operations. GCSOT repaid the advance dividends by sacrificing its entitlement to future dividends.
Initially, GCSOT sacrificed 100 per cent of its dividend entitlement, which was subsequently reduced to 80%.
The outstanding balance of the advance dividend account at June 30, 2021 (being the most recent reporting date) was US$0, 2 million.
On September 29, 2021, Blanket paid a dividend, following which the advance dividend account has been completely repaid.