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Blanket Gold Mine output jumps 19pc

By Michael Tome

Toronto Stock Exchange-listed Caledonia Mining Corporation says it recorded 14,233 ounces of gold output at its Blanket Gold Mine in the first quarter of 2020, a 19 percent growth from 11,948 ounces produced in the relative period in 2019.

Blanket Mine workers process gold
Blanket Mine workers process gold

The gold producer attributed the bold performance to operational efficiencies, particularly machinery improvements towards the end of last year.

Caledonia Mining Corporation, which is targeting to have 64 percent controlling stake (from 49 percent) in Blanket Mine by year-end, indicated that it aims to maintain sound output levels despite operational challenges being faced in the country.

In 2019 the mining firm managed to produce 55,182 ounces of gold compared to 54,511 in the prior year, translating to a 1,23 percent growth in the year.

In his statement accompanying the first quarter trading update Caledonia Chief Executive Officer Steve Curtis, said the solid performance by the company would minimise the negative impact of the ravaging coronavirus.

He said; “To begin the year with a strong start, at a time of firm gold prices, has established a strong base which is helpful in withstanding any disruptions that may arise as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic.”

“Subject to the mine not experiencing any unforeseen production interruptions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, I expect the quarterly production profile to be more evenly balanced throughout 2020 because of the increased focus on development.”

To maintain this bold performance, earlier this year Caledonia announced that it aims to grow its capacity from the pending commissioning of its central shaft towards the end of 2020 financial year.

In the last quarter of 2019, the mining concern announced its successful commissioning of an oxygen plant at the Blanket Mine as part of initiatives to boost production, marking a series of capital expenditure projects that are aimed at growing production and improving operating proficiency.

Meanwhile, in an effort to curb the effects of crippling power outages that were experienced in the country for the better part of last year, Caledonia has signalled its intention to invest in a solar farm, which will minimise downtime of the mine in the event that power outages persist.

The mining firm has been on a positive trajectory having recorded 55,182 ounces of gold in the year to 31 December 2019, which is about 671 ounces better than 54,511 ounces realised the previous year. The Herald