Caledonia reiterates Blanket guidance despite underwhelming quarterly production

17th July 2023

By: Tasneem Bulbulia

Senior Contributing Editor Online


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Aim-listed Caledonia Mining’s Blanket gold mine, in Zimbabwe, produced 17 436 oz for the quarter ended June 30, representing an 8.7% increase on the 16 036 oz produced in the first quarter of the year.

While production improved at Blanket compared with the previous quarter, it was still below expectations, owing to several factors which impacted on the implementation of the mine plan in certain mining areas.

These factors included a high level of missed blasts and errors in blasting accuracy, which contributed to inadequate face advances.

“After an encouraging start to the second quarter at Blanket, production was below expectations in May and the first half of June.

“Management interventions to identify and address the problems appear to have been successful and production improved substantially in late June and early July,” explains CEO Mark Learmonth.

“Production in the first week of July was at a record level and was almost 400 oz better than planned. While we have much work to do to make up for the production shortfall from the first six months, we are confident that we will do so and we therefore reiterate our production guidance for 2023 of between 75 000 oz and 80 000 oz of gold,” he assures shareholders.


Meanwhile, at the Bilboes oxides project, in Zimbabwe, 1 076 oz of gold were produced in the quarter under review – an increase from the 105 oz produced in the first quarter of the year.

The Bilboes oxides project was intended as a small-scale, low-margin, short-term project which was primarily justified by the benefits of pre-stripping in anticipation of the development of the larger sulphide project, the company outlines.

It had previously withdrawn guidance for the Bilboes and, in the absence of a reasonable prospect of it making an overall cash contribution, the project will be returned to care and maintenance with effect from October 1.

Mining and metallurgical processing will continue at Bilboes until the end of September; thereafter leaching of material that has already been deposited on the leach pad will continue.

Oxide mining and processing will resume when the stripping of the waste for the sulphide project begins.

“The outlook for the Bilboes oxides is insufficiently certain unless it is done in conjunction with the waste stripping for the sulphide project. Accordingly, we have decided to return this project to care and maintenance until the work commences on the larger sulphide project when the remaining oxide material will be mined and processed alongside the sulphide ore.

“This outcome has no bearing on the quality of the much larger sulphide project which was the sole reason for acquiring Bilboes,” Learmonth explains. 

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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