Caledonia Mining has reported a 3% increase in gold output for the three months to September to 21,772 ounces, setting a new quarterly record for Blanket Mine.
The output in the quarter means that the company has produced 55,244 ounces this year, which means Caledonia remains on course to reach its full target of between 75,000 and 80,000 ounces of gold.
“We have invested heavily in Blanket over the last seven years, including investment this year to construct a new tailings storage facility which is expected to have a life of at least 15 years, based on the current production profile, and will support production well into the future,” CEO Mark Learmonth said.
Blanket produced 80,775 ounces in 2023, which was a record annual production, as it benefitted from an investment in the central shaft at the mine. The company is currently exploring potential new resources through underground drilling. Results so far, Learmonth says, indicate that there is mineralisation that may add to Blanket Mine production.
“The recent encouraging drill results at Blanket indicate that there is additional mineralisation that may, in due course, be accessed using the current infrastructure and which should further extend the life of Blanket,” he says.
Caledonia is one of Zimbabwe’s three largest gold producers, alongside Dallaglio, which runs the Eureka and Pickstone Peerless mines, and Kuvimba, which owns Freda Rebecca Mine. To fulfil its ambitions to add new operations to Blanket Mine, Caledonia has acquired three gold assets over the past two years. Caledonia bought Pan African Gold’s Maligreen in the Midlands in 2021, then took over Motapa from Bulawayo Mining Company.
The biggest acquisition was the US$65 million acquisition of Bilboes, which is believed to have the potential for an open-pit gold mine yielding an average 168,000oz per year over a 10-year life of mine.
Learmonth says: “Blanket continues to provide a solid foundation for the company, providing us with a platform for our other growth projects in Zimbabwe.”