By Business Reporter
HARARE (Mining Index) – GOLD production at Blanket Mine has continued uninterrupted albeit foreign currency deficiencies suffocating the Zimbabwean economy.
In an update on the monetary environment in Zimbabwe, Caledonia Mining Corporation acknowledged foreign currency shortages in Zimbabwe, but confirms that production at its Zimbabwean gold subsidiary, Blanket Mine was not affected.
“Caledonia notes recent media reports which refer to certain Zimbabwean gold miners having suspended production due to the lack of foreign exchange to purchase key inputs.”
“Caledonia confirms that, although the availability of foreign exchange in Zimbabwe appears to have reduced in recent weeks, production at the Blanket Mine has continued without interruption,” said Caledonia.
This means Blanket Mine remains on track to achieve its projected gold output of between 54,000 to 56,000 ounces by end of 2018.
Caledonia has projected to achieve production target of 80,000 ounces in 2021.
“The monetary situation in Zimbabwe is receiving the highest levels of attention from Zimbabwean monetary and government authorities with whom Caledonia are actively and constructively engaged on a regular and on-going basis,”
Caledonia’s announcement comes after Rio Tinto Zimbabwe pleaded with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) requesting for foreign currency support to restart operations for three of its closed mines after running out of consumables and spare parts.
“As per our previous communication, we regret to confirm that Cam and Motor Mine, Dalny Mine and Renco Mine involuntarily stopped operations after running out of consumable and spare parts recently,” said Rio Tinto board chairman Lovemore Chihota in a letter addressed to the central bank governor Dr John Mangudya.
Earlier on, Rio Tinto had threatened to take legal action against the apex bank for failure to comply with its directives and policies in allocation of foreign currency reserves.
Since 2016 to date, Rio Tinto was allocated an average of circa 15% of the foreign currency that it has generated against the central bank directive of 50 percent. ENDS//
Chihota added that the 9 weeks preceding the closure of production at the mines, no foreign currency was allocated to them.