Caledonia completes equipping phase of central shaft after $60mln spend

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Blanket Mine
Caledonia's Blanket Mine in Gwanda, Matabeleland South

HARARE – Caledonia Mining Corporation on Monday said it completed the phase of fully equipping the central shaft from its base to the surface collar at its Blanket Mine in Gwanda, Matabeleland South province.

This has been completed considerably below budget at $60 million and in sync with the company’s expectation of delivering production of 80,000 ounces of gold in 2022. Previously, it received initial sinking contractor quotes of about $100 million.

It is poised to be commissioned in the first quarter of 2021, according to the company.

Chief executive officer Steve Curtis, in a statement said, completion of the equipping phase is a huge milestone for the company.

“We’ve invested approximately $60 million in this project since we first announced it in 2015 and it has been owner-built and fully funded through internal cash flow and has been completed at a cost that is well below initial quotes received,” he said.

“Central Shaft is one of the largest gold mining investment projects in Zimbabwe and will be transformational to our business: our target production is set to increase by 45% to 80,000 ounces by 2022 while our long-term all-in sustaining costs are expected to drop to $700-$800/oz.”

Central Shaft will also position us to step-up our deep level exploration which, if successful, may extend Blanket’s life of mine, which is currently to 2034, Curtis added.

Key features of the Central Shaft project since the start on 3 August 2015 include:

  • Safety: 1,850 fatality free shifts with only two lost time injuries (LTI); 920 shifts since last LTI;
  • Extended scope: the scope of the Central Shaft project was extended from an initial target depth of 1,089 meters to a final depth of 1,204 meters;
  • Project is self-funded and is owner-built by Blanket crews with supervision from Sinking Engineering Mining Construction;
  • During shaft sinking, more than 1,800 metres of infrastructure development was completed including mid-shaft loading;
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