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Blanket Mine glitters after 13% surge in gold output

“Production in the first half of 2024 was excellent and has exceeded our expectations. We remain on track to hit our annual production target of 74 000 to 78 000 ounces of gold.”

VICTORIA Falls Stock Exchange-listed Caledonia Mining Corporation says gold production at its flagship operation, Blanket Mine, increased by 13% to 37 823 ounces in the first half of this year.

Gold output stood at 33 472 in the same period last year.

In the second quarter of 2024, the yellow metal output was up 19% to 20 773 ounces.

“Blanket Mine continues to provide a solid foundation for growth as we prepare to become a multi-asset gold producer,” Caledonia chief executive officer Mark Learmonth said in a market update yesterday.

“Production in the first half of 2024 was excellent and has exceeded our expectations. We remain on track to hit our annual production target of 74 000 to 78 000 ounces of gold.”

Learmonth, however, did not disclose how much revenue and profit the company realised in the period under review.

But in the first quarter, gross profit more than doubled to US$13,8 million due to higher gold revenue and lower production costs.

The mining giant produced 17 476 ounces of gold in the quarter under review, 8% up compared to the prior period.

Blanket Mine produced 17 050 ounces, while Bilboes Oxide Mine contributed 426 ounces.

Gold revenue stood at US$38,5 million, while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation amounted to US$9,9 million.

On-mine cost per ounce of US$993 at Blanket in the quarter was unchanged from the comparable quarter of US$991.

All-in sustaining cost (AISC) was US$1 296 per ounce.

The AISC per ounce in the quarter decreased by 8,2% predominantly due to the lower production costs incurred at Bilboes and the non-recurrence of advisory costs for the Bilboes acquisition in 2023.

AISC included the benefit of the solar plant electricity saving of US$51 per ounce for the quarter.

Although lower than the first quarter of 2023, AISC is expected to be higher for the full year than in previous years due to the classification of certain items of ongoing capital expenditure on projects that are now treated as “sustaining” investment rather than “expansion” investment, the miner said.

Net cash from operating activities amounted to US$4,9 million, up from US$0,9 million realised in the same period last year.

The higher operating profit increased the net cash from operating activities, partly offset by US$4,1 million of short-term working capital movements at the end of the quarter, Caledonia said.

The group recorded net cash and cash equivalents of -US$14,2 million due to short-term working capital movements at the end of the quarter and US$3,6 million of foreign exchange losses. – (Newsday)

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