Caledonia Mining Corporation has announced record quarterly and annual gold production from its 49% owned subsidiary, the Blanket gold mine in Zimbabwe. The gold producer said that about 13 591 oz of gold were produced during the fourth quarter of 2016, a new quarterly production record.
Total gold production for 2016 was approximately 50 351 oz, a new annual production record representing a 17.6% increase on 2015 annual gold production of 42 804 oz.
The increase in production in 2016 was largely due to the start of production from below 750 m, improvements in underground infrastructure and the commissioning of the new ball mill - in line with the investment plan at Blanket.
Target gold production for 2017 is approximately 60 000 oz at an estimated on-mine cost ranging between $600 to $630 per oz and an all-in sustaining cost in the range of $810 to $850 per oz.
Blanket remains on-track to increase annual production to approximately 80 000 oz of gold by 2021.
CEO Steve Curtis said: "2016 was a significant year for Caledonia as the continued investment at Blanket begun to bear fruit. Gold production in 2016 of 50 351 oz surpassed the previous record from underground operations of 45 530 oz, which was achieved in 2013."
“The record level of production was due to the commencement of production below 750 m following the successful completion of the No. 6 Winze and other infrastructure projects; improved underground infrastructure and the installation of the new ball mill late in 2016."
“In addition to achieving this record gold production level, the sinking of the new central shaft continued according to plan and reached a depth of 534 m by year end.
“We continue our progress towards annual production of 80 000 oz by 2021.”
Caledonia's primary asset is a 49% interest in Blanket.