Nqobile Bhebhe, Senior Business Reporter
GIANT global investor, Caledonia Mining Corporation Plc, which owns Blanket Gold Mine in Gwanda, has consolidated its strategy of becoming a multi-asset gold producer by acquiring several lucrative mining properties.
In 2022, the resource group expanded its footprint by purchasing Motapa Mining Company UK Limited and signed a US$53,2 million agreement to buy Bilboes Gold Limited as part of its expansion drive.
Bilboes Gold is a gold mining entity that owns three major gold mines in Matabeleland North and was once ranked among the country’s 10 biggest gold producers.
In the first six months of 2022, the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX)-listed mining firm produced 38 605 ounces, 29 percent higher than the 29 907 ounces produced in the first half of 2021.
In the quarter ended 30 June 2022, the mining firm produced 20 091 ounces of gold, representing a 20 percent higher margin than the 16 710 ounces produced in the corresponding quarter last year.
In a trading update on Friday, Caledonia chief executive officer Mr Mark Learmonth said the company has come a long way in the last 12 months as it continues to pursue its strategy of becoming a multi- asset gold producer.
“In January 2022, the company announced that it was looking to evolve the business with a strategic pivot in the future direction of Caledonia as it pursues its strategy to become a multi-asset gold producer.
In July, we announced that the company had signed an agreement to purchase Bilboes Gold Limited and a few months later the company acquired Motapa Mining Company UK Limited, the ultimate holding company of an exploration project adjacent to Bilboes,” he said.
Mr Learmonth said this was achieved alongside three record quarters of production and the company was on track to achieve the top end of its 2022 production guidance of between 73 000 and 80 000 ounces of gold.
In November, President Mnangagwa commissioned a US$67 million Central Shaft project, one of the flagship gold investments and deepest shafts in Zimbabwe, with a depth of 1 200 metres from the surface.
The project now employs a total of 1 979 people, a huge jump from about 600 workers before the expansion. Caledonia has also constructed a 12,2MW solar plant at Blanket, at a cost of approximately US$14 million. The project is in line with the Government’s strategy to boost power production.
The mining sector is contributing about 70 percent of the country’s forex earnings largely driven by gold, platinum and diamond.