By Alois Vinga
THE ongoing three-week long coronavirus lockdown will affect Blanket Mine’s gold production targets as the mining giant is forced to reduce its workforce for social distancing purposes.
In a statement, Caledonia Mining Corporation which operates Blanket said the corresponding measures they will take will generate such an output level.
“A key measure to reduce the risk of infections amongst Blanket’s workforce will be to increase the ‘social-distancing’ of employees as they enter and leave the underground workings.
“This will reduce the number of employees who can work underground and will result in daily production running at approximately 70 – 80 per cent of the target production rate,” the mining giant said.
Blanket has been permitted to continue with its operations after demonstrating the ability to uphold mining based on Covid-19 standards.
These include Blanket and its employee village being quarantined from the surrounding area; and re-configuring its operations to reduce the risk of infections being transmitted amongst its employees.
The company recently expressed optimism to overcome Covid-19 saying it will enter the unprecedented situation with a strong balance sheet to withstand an interruption to production for several months.
Cash on hand as of March 25 this year was US$12.5 million following strong production in the first quarter of 2020 and the higher gold price in 2020.
Under the measures announced by President Mnangagwa, mining companies are not placed under the essential services category.