Oliver Kazunga, Senior Business Reporter
GOLD production at Blanket Mine in Matabeleland South improved by 6,4 percent to 12 712 ounces in the second quarter ended June 30, 2019 compared to 11 948oz in the previous quarter.
In a production update, Caledonia Mining Corporation, parent company to Blanket Mine, said gold output for the quarter under review was slightly below target, but ahead of the comparable quarter in 2018, where the projection was 12 657oz.
“Approximately 12 712oz of gold were produced during the quarter, 6,4 percent above the 11 948oz produced in the first quarter of 2019.
“Gold produced for the first half of 2019 was 24 660oz, approximately 3,4 percent below the 25 582oz produced in the first half of 2018,” said the mining group.
Despite gold output in the quarter under review being lower than the previous comparable period, Caledonia maintains its 2019 full year production guidance of 53 000 to 56 000oz and remains on track with progress towards its target of 80 000oz by 2022.
Commenting on the announcement, Caledonia chief executive officer, Mr Steve Curtis, said:
“Production in the second quarter of 2019 was slightly below our target but ahead of the comparable quarter in 2018 (Q2 2018: 12,657), and still at a level at which we remain comfortable with our 2019 production guidance of 53 000 to 56 000oz for the full year.
“I am pleased to report that our efforts to improve grade control have delivered results in the quarter although this remains a significant area of focus.”
In 2018, Blanket produced 54 511oz.
Mr Curtis said the shaft sinking phase of the central shaft at Blanket Mine was envisaged to be completed by the end of the month, which will be a significant milestone for the business.
The mining group looks forward to commencing production from the central shaft during the second half next year and this is anticipated to deliver the company’s growth plan to achieve 75 000oz in 2021 and 80 000oz by 2022.
Caledonia owns a 49 percent stake in Blanket Mine.
The parent firm in November last year announced that it had signed a legally binding agreement to increase its shareholding in Blanket
Mine to 64 percent subject to the receipt of among other things, regulatory approvals.
As at March 31, 2019, Caledonia had cash estimated at US$9,7 million. — @okazunga