Caledonia Mining Corporation says it is confident of achieving its production target of 80,000 ounces from next year following the commissioning of the central shaft at its Zimbabwe unit Blanket Mine.
In the third quarter to September 30, 2021, the company reported a record 25% gold production increase to 18,965 ounces from 15,155 ounces produced in the corresponding quarter of 2020.
Gold produced in the nine months to September 30, 2021 stood at 48,872 ounces , translating to a 14% increase from 42,887 ounces produced in the nine months to September 30, 2020.
“I am delighted that this quarter we have once again set a new production record as Blanket begins to reap the rewards of the substantially increased production capacity following the commissioning of the central shaft in March 2021.
“The ramp-up in production towards our quarterly target of 20,000 ounces has met our best estimate and, consequently, we have been able to narrow our annual production guidance from 61-67,000 ounces to 65-67,000 ounces. When we acquired Blanket from Kinross in 2006 our production in the third quarter of 2006 was 6,475 ounces – the company has come a long way since then,” Caledonia CE Steve Curtis said.
He said the Central Shaft provides the infrastructure required to access the deeper resources at Blanket for many years before any new vertical shaft deepening needs to be considered.
“The extra hoisting capacity provided by the shaft is the foundation to the production build-up to 80,000 ounces from next year onwards,” Curtis said.
He said the completion of central haft and the resultant increase in production also means that the company will be able to execute other areas of the group’s growth strategy such as the agreement to acquire Maligreen that “we announced last month”.
Caledonia Mining Corporation recently entered into an agreement to purchase the Maligreen gold project from Pan African Mining for US$4m.
The gold project is situated in the Gweru mining district in the Zimbabwe Midlands and the property is estimated to contain a NI 43-101 compliant inferred mineral resource of approximately 940,000 ounces of gold.
According to Caledonia, the Maligreen is a substantial brownfield exploration opportunity with significant historical exploration and evaluation work having been conducted on the property over the last 30 years including, an estimated 60,000 meters of diamond core and percussion drilling, 3.5 tonnes of bulk metallurgical test work and aeromagnetic and ground geophysical surveys.
Initial assessments of the inferred mineral resource indicate a favourable grade tonnage curve; by applying a higher cut-off grade of 1 grammes per tonne, the total estimated inferred mineral resource reduces by 12% to approximately 827,000 ounces at a grade of 2.79g/t, a 48% higher grade. These favourable grade tonnage dynamics offer a high level of flexibility in the evaluation of a future mining operation. Business Times