Caledonia Mining Corporation recorded a massive increase in gold production of 14,389 ounces for the third quarter to September 30, 2017, a 15 percent increase from the second quarter. This was a record production for the gold mining firm at its 49 percent owned Zimbabwe based Blanket Mine. The improvement in production in the third quarter is expected to continue into the fourth quarter. Caledonia Mining Corporation chief executive Steve Curtis said Caledonia through Blanket Mine is pleased to have achieved this milestone.
"We are very pleased to have achieved yet another production record at Blanket, which surpasses the previous production record of 13,591 ounces set in the fourth quarter of 2016. The Q3 2017 production of 14,389 ounces is a commendable achievement for which I would like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our technical and production staff," said Mr Curtis. The first half of 2017 presented Caledonia with some significant operating challenges which adversely affected production. In May 2017 it was announced that the company's technical team was implementing various remedial measures aimed at alleviating the operating challenges and improving the reliability of underground infrastructure.
"I am pleased to confirm that these measures implemented in the last three months have had the desired effect and have resulted in an improvement in both tonnage and grade at Blanket with associated higher production for the Quarter. We are also pleased that the initiatives introduced to focus on the safe effective production of gold have been adopted fully by the Blanket work force," he said.
Mr Curtis said these improvements will continue into the fourth quarter and as a result have tightened production guidance for the full year to 54,000 ounces to 56,000 ounces. He said the company remains confident of achieving its long-term production target of 80,000 ounces in 2021 as the Central Shaft project continues to progress well. Caledonia's strategic focus continues to be the implementation of the Investment Plan at Blanket, which was announced in November 2014 and is expected to extend the life of mine by providing access to deeper levels for production and further exploration.
The Central Shaft is expected to enable the mine to produce 80,000 ounces by 2021. The mining company is now in the third year of the project and is excited by the significant potential that the Central Shaft has to improve the efficiency, and extend the life of operations at Blanket. Once complete, it is expected to enhance the operating efficiency through reduced travel times for employees to get to mining areas, shorter tramming distances and reduced time required to hoist ore to surface.