Blanket Mine life to extend to 2034 and beyond

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Itai Ndongwe

Caledonia Mining has announced a number of enhancements to the reserves and resources of its 64%-owned Blanket mine in Zimbabwe, extending its life to 2034 and beyond.

Blanket’s 1300 S-K mineral reserve and mineral resource ounces grew by 111% and 36%, respectively, with grades increasing by 7% and 23%.
The total mineable resources and reserve ounces grew by 106% and 63%, respectively, with a 5% and 14% increase in mineral reserve and M&I mineral resource grade.
Inferred resources increase by 26%, as does the inferred mineral resource grade, which increases by 28%.
Caledonia expects Blanket’s mine life to be 2034 based only on new reserves, however management anticipates that conversion of inferred resources will extend the mine’s life beyond 2040.
Commenting on the increased mineral resources and mineral reserves estimates at Blanket, Chief Executive Officer, Mark Learmonth said, “Our 2023 drilling campaign at Blanket yielded excellent results, with better than expected grades and widths indicated from our deep level drilling programme. I am delighted that the 2023 campaign has resulted in a significant increase to Blanket’s mineral resources and mineral reserves estimates.
“Measured and indicated mineral resources, reported under NI 43-101, have increased by 63% to 1,789k ounces and mineral reserves by 106% to 812k ounces.
“Blanket’s mine life is estimated to 2034 based only on the updated mineral reserves estimate, thus securing the future of our flagship asset and demonstrating its continued prospectivity and potential at higher production levels.
“Management believes that the inferred mineral resources may, based on past successful conversion rates, further extend the life of mine past 2040.”

During the company’s first quarter of 2024, revenue increased due to a favourable gold price, as it recorded a 6% increase in gold production in the first quarter ending March 31, as 17,476 ounces of gold were produced in the period compared to 16,141 ounces produced in the previous comparable period due to a higher tonnage grade and improved gold recovery.

The majority of the gold produced in the quarter (17,050 ounces) was generated at its flagship Blanket mine, with the remaining 426 ounces produced at the Bilboes oxide mine. According to quarterly results, Blanket produced 7,956 ounces of gold in April 2024, which is more than the 5,194 ounces produced in April 2023.

Revenue increased by 31% to USD38.5 million from US$29.4 million last year.  Bilboes’ revenue for the year was acknowledged through sales to Fidelity as a “small-scale producer” calculated at the previous day’s 6pm London Bullion Market Association pricing, less a 5% discount. The revenue was received entirely in USD, and payment occurred shortly after the bullion was delivered.

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