BULAWAYO, June 18 (The Source) – Canadian junior miner Caledonia says it has completed the first phase of expansion at its 49 percent owned Blanket gold mine that would increase production to around 42,000 ounces by the end of the year.
The miner said work on the Tramming Loop — which started in November last year under its Revised Investment Plan for the mine near Gwanda in Matabeleland South — was completed ahead of schedule in June.
“The completed Tramming Loop will allow for an increase in development which is expected to result in increased production towards the end of 2015… of approximately 42,000 ounces of gold,” said the company in a trading update on Thursday.
It added that sinking the No. 6 Winze has been completed and preparations had started to equip the shaft to provide rapid, though limited, access to deeper level resources.
“It is expected that the shaft will be equipped by the end of July, as scheduled, after which horizontal development towards the two main resource bodies will commence,” said Caledonia.
First production from the No. 6 Winze is expected in January next year and is seen reaching the targetted 500 tonnes per day by May the following year.
The company added that it was sinking a new six-meter diameter central shaft from surface to 1,080 meters which will provide access to the inferred mineral resources below 750 meters and allow for further exploration, development and mining in the sections along the known Blanket strike, which is approximately three kilometres in length.
Company chief executive officer Steve Cutis said the mining company was pleased with the ongoing implementation of the revised plan.
“The completion of the Tramming Loop and sinking of the No. 6 Winze are significant steps towards incrementally increasing production from 2016 onwards to achieve an annual rate of 80,000 ounces of gold by 2021,” he said.