Caledonia gold production up 6% in Q1

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HARARE: Caledonia Mining Corporation Plc says gold production grew 6% during Q1 to March 2023 despite shorter production time necessitated by a production cut-off for gold delivery set at March 21, 2024.

The NYSE-listed group continues to reap the rewards of the recently installed Central Shaft at its flagship mining operation-Blanket mine which has upped production capacity.

In its Q1 trading update, gold production at its Blanket Mine was 17,050 ounces, a 6% increase on Q1 2023.

During the period under review, Blanket mine sold 18,450 ounces representing a 17% increase from Q1 2023, when 15,797 ounces were sold.

The group said ounces sold in Q1 2024 include 3,057 ounces of gold work in progress classified as inventory at the end of 2023 (Q1 2024: 1,657 ounces).

The group has set its 2024 gold production guidance at Blanket of 74,000 to 78,000 ounces.

“I am pleased that 2024 production at Blanket has got off to a strong start with over 17,000 ounces produced in the Quarter which, considering we had 8 fewer production days compared to Q1 2023, is an excellent result,” said group chief executive, Mark Learmonth.

“Our significant investment in Blanket over the past seven years and completion of the Central Shaft has nearly doubled production, extended the mine life and allowed the restart of underground exploration in 2023. We continue to see Blanket as the solid foundation for growth as we pursue our strategy to become a multi-asset gold producer.”

The group wants to transition from a single asset operator to a multi-asset operator producing 250 000 ounces of gold annually. To this end, it has already started acquiring several resource assets across the country.

Last year, the group completed the acquisition of Bilboes mine to its asset portfolio after purchasing the Maligreen project in 2021 and acquired Motapa mining in 2022.

“The acquisition of Bilboes in January 2023 builds on the earlier acquisitions of Motapa and Maligreen to create a portfolio of high-quality exploration and development assets in Zimbabwe,” said Learmonth.

The group is yet to conclude an updated feasibility study on the Bilboes sulphide project to determine the optimum implementation plan, estimate financial requirements, and begin project development.

Caledonia recently appointed a new chief operating officer, James Mufara who will be expected to oversee the group expansion plans.

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