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Blanket Mine complete $44 million central shaft sinking

Caledonia Mining Corporation says shaft sinking at the new Central Shaft at Blanket Mine has been completed under an estimated $44 million investment.

Blanket Mine workers process gold
Blanket Mine workers process gold

In a statement, the mining group, which owns 49 percent interest in Gwanda-based Blanket Mine, said the shaft sinking project that began in early 2015 was now moving to the equipping phase prior to commissioning in the third quarter next year.

“Caledonia Mining Corporation announces that the shaft sinking at the new Central Shaft at Blanket Mine has been completed.

“The Central Shaft project has been in progress since early 2015 and the company has spent approximately $44 million sinking a new shaft from surface to a depth of over 1 200 metres,” it said.

Caledonia said production from Blanket Mine was expected to progressively increase to the target of 80 000 ounces of gold per year from 2022 and beyond. The mining group expects increased production, combined with economies of scale and lower future capital investment, which will result in significant increases in Caledonia’s profit and distributable cash.

Caledonia chief executive officer, Mr Steve Curtis, said completion of the shaft sinking programme was an important milestone in their investment plan.

“I would like to recognise the outstanding contribution of Caledonia’s technical staff, led by Dana Roets, Caledonia’s chief operating officer, who have worked hard over the last five years to ensure that we have reached this point,” he said.

“We now commence the equipping phase, which will take approximately 12 months, after which we can commence the production ramp-up towards our target of 80 000oz of gold in 2022.”

Meanwhile, gold output at Blanket Mine improved by 6,4 percent to 12 712oz in the second quarter ended June 30, 2019 compared to 11 948oz in the previous quarter.

The yellow metal’s output for the quarter under review was slightly below target, but ahead of the comparable quarter in 2018, where the projection was 12 657oz. 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 2022 target. The Chronicle