…but narrows full year production guidance range 

By ETimes

Gold production at Blanket Mine in Gwanda rose 14% in the first nine months of 2021, with parent company Caledonia Mining Corporation attributing the substantially increased output capacity to the completion of Central Shaft in the first quarter.

In the period, gold output stood at 48 872 ounces from 42 887 ounces in the comparative period last year.

Caledonia Mining says its Blanket Mine had a record quarterly production of 18 965oz of gold in the third quarter ending 30 September 2021. It was an increase of 25% on the 15 155oz produced in Q3 2020. However, it narrowed its projected annual production.

“The ramp-up in production towards our quarterly target of 20 000oz has met our best estimate and, consequently, we have been able to narrow our annual production guidance from 61-67 000oz to 65-67 000oz,” said company chief executive officer Steve Curtis.

When Caledonia acquired Blanket from Kinross in 2006 its production in Q3 2006 was 6 475oz. Curtis said the miner has come a long way since then.

The miner remains on track to achieve its production target of 80 000oz in 2022.

“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 000oz from next year onwards.”

He added that the completion of the Central Shaft and the resultant increase in production also means that we are able to execute other areas of their growth strategy such as the agreement to acquire Maligreen – Harare

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