By Business Reporter – Tuesday 16 April 2019
HARARE (Mining Index) – ERRATIC electricity supply affected gold production at Blanket Mine during the first quarter of 2019, recording an output below target and lower relative to the same period last year.
“Production in the first quarter of 2019 was slightly below our target and below the comparable quarter in 2018 (Q1 2018: 12,924), albeit at a level which allows us to maintain our 2019 production guidance of 53,000 to 56,000 ounces for the full year.”
“Continued difficulties with unstable electricity supply and grade dilution which we experienced in 2018 had an adverse effect on production, but improved drilling and blasting practices have been put in place in pursuit of improved grade control and I am pleased to say that efforts to minimize dilution are proving successful,” said Caledonia Mining Corporation Chief Executive Officer Steve Curtis.
According to Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), electricity generation statistics as at 15 April 2019 showed that Kariba generated 787MW, Hwange Power station 368MW, Munyati 17MW while Harare contributed 16MW. Zimbabwe imports electricity from South Africa and Mozambique to supplement its current power generation.
“Our technical team has worked tirelessly to mitigate the effects of electricity supply interruptions and we continue to work closely with the Zimbabwean electricity supply authorities to address these challenges as well as investing internally to improve our resilience to this issue,” said Curtis.
Blanket’s output figures, based on mine production data revealed that approximately 11,948 ounces of gold were produced during the first quarter of 2019, against a targeted quarterly output of 13,250 to 14,000 ounces.
Blanket’s target production for 2019 is set at 53,000 to 56,000 ounces.
Caledonia’s plans for Blanket Mine is to increase gold production from 54,511 ounces in 2018 to approximately 75,000 ounces in 2021 and approximately 80,000 ounces by 2022.
Curtis said his organisation maintains its 2019 full year production guidance of 53,000 ounces to 56,000 ounces and remains on track with progress towards its target of 80,000 ounces by 2022.
Caledonia’s strategic focus is the implementation of an Investment Plan which is expected to boost gold production through successful completion on the central shaft, sunk to a depth of 1,204 metres.
“The sinking of the central shaft continues according to plan; we are now only months away from the completion of the shaft sinking phase of the project and are set to commence shaft equipping from mid2019. We look forward to commencing production from the central shaft from mid-2020 which is expected to deliver the Company’s growth plan to achieve 75,000 ounces in 2021 and 80,000 ounces by 2022.” ENDS//