Blanket Mine hits record gold output Caledonia chief executive officer Steve Curtis

Enacy Mapakame

 Business Reporter

Caledonia Mining Corporation says its Zimbabwe unit, Blanket Mine, achieved record annual gold production of 67 476 ounces last year.

This represented a 17 percent increase on prior year output, which saw the gold producer exceed revised annual production guidance.

Production during the fourth quarter to December 31, 2021 jumped 24 percent to 18 604 ounces from 15 012 ounces in the same period in 2020.

The Toronto and Victoria Falls stock exchanges listed firm also announced a quarterly dividend of US14 cents a share for the quarter, which was a 104 percent increase from the US6,875 cents quarterly dividend declared in October 2019.

The resources junior has projected gold production to be between 73 000 to 80 000 ounces.

Caledonia chief executive officer Steve Curtis said the past year was remarkable with the group able to complete crucial projects such as the central shaft.

This, he said, would enable the group to focus on other projects this year and going forward as initiatives to boost gold production in a cost effective manner.

“This has been an outstanding performance and a tremendous team effort. I would like to thank all our employees for their hard work in achieving this result and that we were able to exceed our revised annual production guidance.

“The commissioning of the central shaft, record gold production, along with a continued commitment to safety, all in one year, are an outstanding achievements and testaments to the quality of the Caledonia technical team.

“Now that the central shaft is complete, the company will also focus on other areas of its growth strategy, as we continue to evaluate investment opportunities, with a vision of becoming a multi-asset gold producer,” he said commenting on the mine’s performance.

This also comes as the group sees huge geological potential in Zimbabwe.

Last year the group announced the acquisition of Maligreen, one of many significant exploration opportunities in the country, although the firm has decided not to exercise the option to the Glen Hume Mine, open cast mines Connemara North.

Market watchers forecast increased earnings performance for the group during the current financial year supported by strong gold production, while also benefiting from its acquisitions and firm commodity prices.

Projected favourable gold prices, stabilising at an average of US$1 600 over the next 12 months is expected to favour Caledonia’s earnings for financial year 22 (FY22) and going forward.

Caledonia is also expected to further unlock shareholder value while raising capital in foreign currency for expansion programmes following its listing on the VFEX in December last year.

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