Zimbabwe – Canadian gold producer Caledonia Mining Corporation’s 49%-owned Blanket gold mine in Zimbabwe has increased its gold production by 2.5% year-on-year from 41 661 oz to 42 806 oz in the year ended December 31, beating its full year guidance of 42 000 oz.

The company also lifted its fourth quarter gold production figures by 10.6% to 11 518 oz, compared with the 10 417 oz produced in the comparable period in 2014.

Caledonia’s targeted gold production guidance for 2016 remains unchanged at 50 000 oz, but expects its rate of production to increase over the course of 2016 as production from the No. 6 Winze increases when it commences production in the middle of the first quarter of 2016.

The company’s quarterly production profile is expected to be approximately 10 700 oz of gold in the first quarter of 2016, increasing to approximately 14 000 ounces of gold by the fourth quarter of 2016.

“The increased production reflects the continued progress in implementing the revised investment plan, announced on November 3, 2014. The completion of the Tramming Loop on 22-Level (750 mbelow surface) slightly ahead of schedule in mid-2015 was also an important factor that contributed to the increased production by alleviating the underground logistical problems which constrained production in 2014,” notes Caledonia CEO Steve Curtis.

He goes on to say that owing to the high fixed cost component at Blanket and the generally stable environment for input costs, the projected increase in production to approximately 50 000 ounces of gold is expected to result in a lower average production cost per ounce.

Caledonia expects to release its financial results for the quarter and year to December 31, 2015 before March 31, 2016.

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