By Natasha Chamba, Business Reporter
Gold output at Blanket Mine in Matabeleland South clocked 13 978 ounces during the third quarter period ended 30 September 2018, which is a 10 percent increase when compared to the second quarter.
Parent company, Caledonia Mining Corporation, revealed in a recent production update that total output for nine months at the Gwanda-based mine stood at 39 559 ounces, which is marginally below the 39 710 ounces produced in the corresponding period in 2017.
“Approximately 13 978 ounces of gold were produced during the Quarter, 10 percent above production in the second quarter of 2018 and three percent below production in the third quarter of 2017,” said Caledonia.
“Gold produced for the nine months to September 30, 2018 was 39 559 ounces, marginally behind the 39 710 ounces produced in the corresponding period in 2017.”
Caledonia said positive production was expected to continue into the fourth quarter after directors of the firm took a decision to marginally reduce and narrow the range of 2018 production guidance from between 55 000 to 59 000 ounces to a range of between 54 000 and 56 000 ounces.
Caledonia chief executive officer, Mr Steve Curtis, said the recorded production for the third quarter was a welcome improvement and that the company expects further improvement in the last quarter to December.
“Production of 13 978 ounces in the third quarter of 2018 is a welcome improvement on the production levels achieved in the first two quarters of 2018. The company expects this improvement to be maintained in the fourth quarter of 2018,” he said.
“Notwithstanding the improved operating performance, we believe it is appropriate to adjust and tighten our production guidance for 2018 from the previous level of 55 000 to 59000 ounces to a slightly reduced level of 54 000 to 56 000 ounces.”
Mr Curtis went on to say that grade during the quarter continued to be below expected levels and remains a key area of focus for the business.
Caledonia expects grade to return to budgeted levels in the fourth quarter of 2018 with their technical teams making progress in improving mining practices to minimise dilution. The Chronicle