Gwanda based Gold producer, Blanket Mine, posted a new production record high of 18 965 ounces in the third quarter ended September 30, 2021 which was 25 percent above prior year.
The yellow metal mining concern, which is 64 percent owned by Caledonia Mining Corporation Plc posted its first production record high of 16 710oz in the second quarter ended June 30, 2021.
The increased output was attributable to enhanced capacity following the commissioning of the Central Shaft at Blanket in the first quarter of the year.
In a trading update for the quarter under review, Caledonia also indicated that gold produced in the nine months to September 30, 2021 was 48 872oz, reflecting a 14 percent improvement on the 42 887oz produced in the corresponding period in 2020.
Commenting on the announcement, Caledonia chief executive officer Steve Curtis, said: “I am delighted that this quarter we have once again set a new production record as Blanket begins to reap the rewards of the substantially increased production capacity following the commissioning of the Central Shaft in March 2021.
“The ramp-up in production towards our quarterly target of 20 000oz has met our best estimate and, consequently, we have been able to narrow our annual production guidance from 61-67 000oz to 65-67 000oz.”
The gold mining concern remains on track to achieve its production target of 80 000oz from next year and beyond.
When Caledonia acquired Blanket from Kinross in 2006, production in the third quarter of that year stood at 6 475oz.
“Central Shaft provides the infrastructure required to access the deeper resources at Blanket for many years before any new vertical shaft deepening needs to be considered.
“The extra hoisting capacity provided by the shaft is the foundation to the production build-up to 80 000oz from next year onwards.
““The completion of Central Shaft and the resultant increase in production also means that we are able to execute other areas of our growth strategy such as the agreement to acquire Maligreen that we announced last month.
“This is an exciting time for the Company and I look forward to continuing to update shareholders of our progress,” said Mr Curtis.
Meanwhile, the mining group has said the advance dividend loan account due from the Gwanda Community Share Ownership Trust (GCSOT) has now been fully repaid.
In 2012, Caledonia facilitated the ownership of 51 percent of Blanket by locals in accordance with the prevailing legislation at the time.
This included a 10 percent ownership by the local community via GCSOT.
Following changes in legislation, Caledonia last year increased its share in Blanket to 64 percent,, but GCSOT retained 10 percent.