Record production at Blanket mine

Caledonia Mining’s Blanket mine saw its gold production rise 33% to 12 919 ounces in the third quarter to September 30 2012, a record since the first year of the company’s recorded production in 1906. This compared to 9 743 ounces in the same period last year.

Report by Gamma Mudarikiri

Caledonia is an Africa-focused mining and exploration company with an operating gold mine in Zimbabwe, two platinum-nickel exploration projects in South Africa and a cobalt-copper exploration project in Zambia. Blanket mine’s total gold production in the nine months ended September 30 also increased by 33% to 33 643 ounces, compared to 25 331 ounces recorded in the same period in 2011.

The group said it was targeting an increase in production to 40 000 ounces annually.

Blanket mine has 18 brownfield exploration projects close to its current site. The group said its immediate focus would be on the GG and Mascot Project Area. The GG satellite project is seven kilometres from Blanket while the Mascot satellite project is 42km away.

The mine’s reserves and resources are above 750m and can support 14 years’ production at 40 000 ounces per annum. Caledonia is one of the foreign mining companies in Zimbabwe required to meet government’s 51% indigenisation requirements.

CEO Stephan Hayden earlier this year said the country’s indigenisation compliance requirement would not significantly disturb operations at Blanket mine.

Caledonia in June this year signed an agreement with the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund (NIEEF) to transfer 16% of Blanket Mine in Zimbabwe.

The agreement was in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding Caledonia signed with the government in February this year.