By Business Reporter – 16 January 2019
HARARE (Mining Index) – GWANDA-based gold producer Blanket Mine produced 1 696 kilograms of gold for the year ending 2018, with 465kgs produced in the last quarter of 2018, projecting between 1 648 to 1 742kgs for year 2019.
Commenting on the announcement, Caledonia Mining Corporation Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Steve Curtis revealed that total gold production for the year to December 31, 2018 was approximately 54,512 ounces, in line with 2018 production guidance ranging between 54,000 to 56,000 ounces.
“Approximately 14,952 ounces of gold were produced during the quarter ended December 31, 2018 (the Quarter”), 7 per cent higher than the previous quarter (“Q3 2018”).”
13,978 ounces were produced in the third quarter of 2018, with a cumulative figure of 39,559 ounces of gold produced for the 9 months to September 30 2018.
He added that gold production for 2019 is expected to be between 53,000 and 56,000 ounces, sticking to its earlier projections of 80 000 ounces per annum by 20121.
“Caledonia remains on track to achieve production of approximately 80,000 ounces of gold per annum from 2021 following completion of the Central Shaft,” said Curtis.
Curtis advised that Caledonia entered into gold price hedging contracts for the 5 months from February 2019 until June 2019 for 22,500 ounces of production through the purchase of put options with a strike price of US$1,250 per ounce.
“The hedge will ensure that Caledonia receive a minimum price of $1,250 per ounce of gold for the duration of the contracts whilst maintaining full upside participation.”
Further exploration activities have been going on at Blanket Mine since 2015 which has more than doubled the mines lifespan.
“Following an increase in exploration activity at Blanket, since early 2015 Caledonia has announced 7 successive increases in the resource base as a result of which Blanket’s life of mine has been extended from 6 years as at the end of 2014, to 14 years as at the end of 2018. Exploration continues at Blanket with the objective of further extending Blanket’s life of mine,” said Curtis.
Expansion of the Central Shaft is expected to result in increased production, reduced operating costs and increased flexibility to undertake further exploration and development, thereby safeguarding and enhancing Blanket’s long-term future.
“The Central Shaft is currently at a depth of 1,150 meters and will be sunk to a depth of 1,204 meters. It is anticipated that shaft sinking will be completed towards the middle of 2019 after which the shaft will be equipped and commissioned,” he said. ENDS//