By Mandipa Masenyama
GOLD producer, Caledonia Mining Corporation’s chief executive officer Steve Curtis Thursday said the year 2021 was a turning point for the company after commissioning Zimbabwe’s largest gold producer Blanket mine, a new central shaft.
Curtis said the last 12 months have marked a turning point for the business as it has been of great impact to the business.
“Operationally, the last 12 months have marked a turning point for the business,” Curtis said.
“The Central Shaft has been a huge project costing approximately US$67 million, all funded through internal cash flow and I am delighted that it was commissioned in the first quarter of 2021,’’ Curtis added.
As the year ended 2021, revenue rose 21% to US$212 million, aided by a strong gold price and flat cost of production.
2021 production broke the record, as it rose to 67,476 ounces of gold compared to the 2020 records, (2020:57,899oz), having the target production for 2022 approximately tagged between 73,000oz-80,000oz, as the new shaft ramps up operations.
The chief executive officer also said the power supply at Blanket mine will be aided by a solar plant set to be constructed at the mine and completion expected mid-2022.
“To improve the quality and security of Blanket’s electricity supply, minimise our environmental footprint and help create a more sustainable future for our business, Caledonia is constructing the first phase of a 12 MWac solar plant that will provide approximately 27% of the average daily electricity demand at Blanket Mine. This project which is expected to yield a modest return to shareholders is expected to be complete by mid-22,” Curtis added.
Curtis alluded that the company’s focus is to complete the remaining underground development associated with the Central Shaft project.
“Caledonia’s immediate strategic focus is to complete the remaining underground development associated with the Central Shaft project, which is expected to increase production, reduce operating costs and increase the flexibility to undertake further exploration and development at depth,” said Curtis.