Caledonia Mining Corporation (LON:CMCL, TSX:CAL) has reported an increase in gold production at its Blanket mine in Zimbabwe for the first half of the year
The AIM-listed gold miner said around 25,582 ounces of gold had been produced in the first half of the year, marginally ahead of the 25,316 ounces produced in the same period a year ago.
For the second quarter, the company said around 12,657 ounces had been produced, a 1% increase on the second quarter of 2017 but 2% below production in the first quarter of 2018.
Caledonia added that production remained in line with expectations and maintained its full-year production guidance at between 55,000-59,000 ounces, with Blanket on track to progress toward a long-term target of 80,000 ounces by 2021.
Steve Curtis, chief executive of Caledonia Mining, said: "Production of 12,657 ounces in the second quarter of 2018 is consistent with the level achieved in the corresponding quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2018. Grade during the quarter was below our expectation although grade has reverted to budgeted levels in the recent weeks. The lower grade was partly a result of normal variations in the ore body and partly a one-off consequence of some modified mining practices which were adopted to improve safety.
He added: "The sinking of the central shaft remains according to plan and within budget, with the shaft currently at a depth of 1,073 meters; sinking is currently paused due to the process of cutting stations for horizontal development on 30 level. The project continues to progress well and we look forward to commencing production from the central shaft in 2020”.
In a separate announcement, the company also announced a fatality at the Blanket mine on July 12.
The accident occurred in a development area at the Blanket ore body section of the mine, with the company saying it had notified the Minister of Mines and Mining
Development and the Inspector of Mines and would provide all the necessary assistance to the Ministry of Mines Inspectorate Department in its enquiry into the incident.
--Adds information on mine fatality--