Caledonia’s Blanket mine in record quarterly gold production

Workers at Blanket Mine's new Central Shaft

Caledonia Mining Corp.’s Blanket mine produced 18,965 ounces of gold in the third quarter to September 30, a 25% increase on the corresponding quarter of 2020 and a new record for the mine, the company announced on Wednesday.

The increase in production is mostly attributable to the new Central Shaft, the deepest for any gold mine in Zimbabwe, commissioned at the end of the first quarter of 2021.

Blanket produced 48,872 ounces in the nine months to September 30, 2021, a 14% increase on the same period of 2020. As a result, Caledonia says it has narrowed its production forecast for this year to between 65,000 and 67,000 ounces, from 61,000 to 67,000 ounces previously.

“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,” said Caledonia Mining CEO Steve Curtis.

“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. 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.”

Caledonia says it remains well on track to produce 80,000 ounces per year from 2022 onwards.

Blanket’s Q3 gold production was a 13,5% increase on the previous quarter’s output.