BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
GWANDA-BASED mining concern, Blanket Mine, has achieved a record gold production of 29 907 ounces for the first half of this year, up 7,8% compared to the corresponding period.
In a statement yesterday, Blanket’s parent company — Caledonia Mining Corporation (Caledonia) — said the 7,8% increase was an outstanding achievement leaving the company well placed to meet its full year guidance.
Last year in the same period, the company produced 27 732 ounces.
“Having got off to a slow start to the year, for production to be 7,8% above the first half of 2020 and 23% ahead of the corresponding quarter is an outstanding achievement and leaves us well placed to meet our full year guidance,” Caledonia chief executive officer Steve Curtis, said.
“During the quarter we also announced that Central Shaft was operational; this has been a huge feat by the team. We are currently working hard to achieve the expansion and we remain on track to hit our 80 000 ounce target in 2022,” he said.
During the first quarter, Blanket produced 16 710 ounces of gold, an increase of approximately 23,8% on the 13 499 ounces produced in the corresponding quarter of 2020.
Caledonia said it maintains its 2021 full year production guidance of 61 000 to 67 000 ounces and remains on track to hit the target of 80 000 ounces from 20221.
As such, due to scheduled ramp up in production, a firm gold price and good cost control, Caledonia declared an increased quarterly dividend of US$0,13 on each of its shares.
“We are pleased to announce an additional eight per cent increase in our quarterly dividend, the sixth increase in the past two years. This represents a cumulative 89% rise in the dividend since the first increase in October 2019,” Curtis said.
Curtis said the decision to increase the dividend reflected their continued confidence in the outlook for the business.
“With the Central Shaft now in operation, the anticipated combination of rising production and declining capital investment gives us confidence to further increase the dividend payment in addition to providing funding for investment in new projects, including the exploration prospects at Glen Hume and Connemara North, as announced at the end of 2020,” he said.