Caledonia targets 80 000 ounces yearly at Blanket Mine

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By Alois Vinga

LONDON Stock Exchange (LSE) listed mining giant, Caledonia Mining Corporation says plans to increase gold output to 80 000 ounces per year at its Zimbabwean subsidiary, Blanket Mine, are still on course.

The company’s chief executive, Steve Curtis, in a recent production update, said plans were on track to achieve the production target of 80 000 ounces per year by 2022 at Blanket Mine.

“The Company’s strategic focus continues to be the implementation of the Investment Plan at Blanket, which was announced in November 2014 and revised in November 2017 and is expected to extend the life of mine by providing access to deeper levels for production and further exploration,” he said.

The gold mining giant boss said that implementation of the investment plan remains on target in terms of timing and cost.

The current Blanket mining area has eight ore shoots in the producing section of the mine.

Following the successful commissioning of the No. 4 Shaft Expansion Project in September 2010, the underground workings have increased production to approximately 1,200 tonnes of ore per day using both long-hole open stopping and underhand stopping methods.

Gold production at Blanket mine increased by 6% for the second quarter ended 30 June 2019 to 12 712 ounces from 11 948 ounces in the previous quarter, taking the overall production for the first six months of 2019 to 24 660 ounces.

Caledonia which owns 49% of the Blanket Mine in Zimbabwe said gross profit for the second quarter of 2019 was $7 million, representing an increase of 37% from $5.1 million recorded in the comparable second quarter of 2018 due to lower on-mine costs.

The mining giant has invested in excess of US$78 million into Blanket Mine, in the last four year, and the company is engaging its local investors in order to increase its shareholding in Blanket to 64% from the current 49%.

Last year, Caledonia signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Fremiro Investments with the intention to acquire Fremiro’s 15% equity stake in Blanket Mine.