Caledonia Mining Corporation commissions new oxygen plant at Blanket Mine

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By Alois Vinga

CALEDONIA Mining Corporation Plc has successfully installed and commissioned a new oxygen plant at Blanket Mine in a move which will see overall metallurgical recoveries as well as environmental safety improving.

In a statement, the corporation explained the new plant will go a long way in improving operating efficiencies.

Said the company’s chief executive officer, Steve Curtis, “We are pleased to have successfully commissioned the new oxygen plant at Blanket and look forward to improved operating efficiencies as a result.

“This marks the latest in a series of investments to increase production and improve operating proficiency at Blanket as we continue our growth trajectory to 80,000 ounces per annum by 2022.

“The new oxygen plant will provide up to six tonnes of improved oxygen supply to the Blanket Carbonin-Leach plant which is expected to increase recoveries to approximately 94 percent.”

The new oxygen plant is expected to improve metallurgical recovery and reduce cyanide (a carbon – nitrogen containing chemical) consumption at Blanket.

Based on test work conducted, it is anticipated that the plant will improve overall metallurgical recoveries at Blanket to approximately 94 percent.

Recoveries have averaged approximately 93 percent in 2019.

Added Curtis, “We also anticipate that the oxygen plant will result in slightly lower operating costs as cyanide consumption is expected to be reduced as a result of the improved oxygen supply; and the operating costs of the new oxygen plant are predicted to be lower than those of the previous two tonne plant.”

The corporation reported an increase in after-tax profit of US$9,3 million in the first quarter of 2019 compared to US$3,1 million last year due to foreign exchange gains and the profit on disposal of a subsidiary, the combined effect of which outweighed a lower gross profit.

Gross profit at US$4,2 million was lower due to a reduction in the number of gold ounces sold and increased on-mine cost per ounce.

All in sustaining costs increased from US$832 to US$943 per ounce due to the higher on-mine cost per ounce, the effect of which was partially offset by lower sustaining capital investment and lower administrative expenses.