JERSEY-BASED Caledonia Mining (AIM: CMCL) announced that it is planning to install a solar power plant at its Blanket gold mine in Zimbabwe.
In a press release, Caledonia said that to go ahead with the project it has entered into a sales agreement whose proceeds are to be used for the construction of the clean-energy facility. The decision was made after receiving a generating licence and the necessary approvals from the Zimbabwe Investment Authority.
The company said that it expects the solar power plant to create a more stable and reliable power source for the operation.
“This is an important step towards preventing the loss of downtime and further de-risking the project,” the media brief states. “The proposed solar plant will supply approximately 30% of Blanket’s total electricity requirements across a 24-hour period, including evenings.”
The property is situated in the Gwanda Greenstone Belt, a typical Archaean greenstone-hosted gold deposit. The deposit is situated on the northwest limb of the Gwanda Greenstone Belt along strike from several other prominent gold deposits.
According to Caledonia Mining, Blanket is the largest producing mine in a belt which at one time had 268 operating mines.
Artisanal production at the site started in 1904. Significant early production, however, took place starting in 1965, when Falconbridge acquired the property and increased gold production to an average of approximately 45 kilograms per month.
Later on, in 1993, Kinross took over the property and built an enlarged carbon-in-leach plant with a capacity of approximately 3,800 tonnes per day to treat old tailings dump together with the run-of-mine ore. Gold production reached a level of 110 kilograms per month during the tailings treatment years from 1995 to 2007. To date, in excess of 1 million ounces of gold have been produced from the property.