By Oliver Kazunga
Gwanda-based gold miner, Blanket Mine has maintained its output within the revised increased production guidance of between 55 000 ounces and 58 000oz for last year, producing 57 899oz.
In a production update for the fourth quarter ended 31 December 2020, Caledonia Mining Corporation, which owns Blanket Mine also indicated that output for its local operation during the quarter under review remained flat 15 012 ounces from 15 164oz in the previous quarter.
“Caledonia announces quarterly and annual gold production from the Blanket Mine in Zimbabwe for the quarter ended 31 December 2020. Record total production during 2020 was 57 899oz, the top end of the company’s revised increased guidance.
“Approximately 15 012oz of gold was produced during the quarter,” it said.
Gold output for 2021 is expected to range between 61 000oz and 67 000oz while next year Blanket Mine’s output is expected to be at 80 000oz.
Commenting on the latest production figures Caledonia chief executive officer Mr Steve Curtis said:
“I am delighted by Blanket Mine’s continued strong operating performance in the quarter and that we were able to hit the top end of our revised annual production guidance.
“Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 was a record year for Caledonia operationally, and we are on track for commissioning of Central Shaft to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.”
“In December we also announced that we had entered into option agreements on two properties in Zimbabwe, delivering on our strategy of organic growth, while increasing the dividend for the fourth time at the start of January to 11 cents a share, creating genuine value and returns for our shareholders.”
A total of US$44 million has been spent on Blanket Mine’s Central Shaft investment, which began in 2014.
Last month, Caledonia announced that it had entered into an option agreement over Glen Hume and Connemara North in the Midlands province, giving the mining group sole rights to explore and subsequently, if exploration is successful and at its sole discretion, acquire the mining claims over the area.
The option gives Caledonia the right to explore the area for a period of up to 18 months.
The total consideration is an initial payment of US$300 000, followed by a further payment of US$5 million (payable in cash or shares at the discretion of the vendor) which would be payable should Caledonia decide to exercise its right to acquire the mining claims.
Caledonia has also agreed to the payment of a one per cent net smelter royalty to the vendor on gold it produces from Connemara North. The Chronicle