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Blanket Mine lifts output up 5%

AIM and New York Stock Exchange-listed Caledonia Mining Corporation produced a record 57 899 ounces (oz) of gold at its Zimbabwe-based Blanket Mine in 2020, representing a 5% growth on the prior comparable period in 2019.

The firm also met the top end of its revised increased guidance for the year.Caledonia had its guidance set at between 55 000 oz and 58 000 oz last year.

About 15 012 oz of total output was produced in the fourth quarter alone, the firm said in a statement on Monday.It said it had set its gold production guidance for this year at between 61 000 oz and 67 000 oz.

Blanket Mine’s Central shaft is due to be commissioned before the end of the first quarter, extending the life of the mine to 2034, as well as increasing output.

“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,” CEO Steve Curtis said.

“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,” added Curtis.

Caledonia in December entered into option agreements on two properties in Zimbabwe, delivering on its strategy of organic growth, while it increased its dividend at the start of January to $0,11 apiece, marking a 10% increase on the prior quarterly dividend of $0,10 apiece.

The company has increased its dividend four times in the last 15 months.Caledonia is aiming to produce 80 000 oz per year from next year.

Blanket, situated 15 kilometres north-west of Gwanda, got exemption to operate during the country’s lockdown after following safety procedures primarily because of its isolated location. Newsday

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