17 October 2016
Caledonia Site Visit
In November 2016, Blytheweigh (“Bw”) and a group of London based analysts visited Caledonia Mining’s Blanket Mine in Zimbabwe.
The purpose of the visit was to see the progress being made on the new Central Shaft and the underground infrastructure, including the new tramming loop.
Having flown into Bulawayo airport, we started our drive down to the mine which is located just outside the town of Gwanda. Once you are on the road, you are reminded just how beautiful the Zimbabwe countryside really is. And then, nearer to the mine, crossing the Mishabeze River, when you see a family of baboons having a wash, you realise you are in Africa.
The Bw team visits many mine sites but first impressions of Blanket are always that it is one of the tidiest mines in the industry.
Going underground, we walked along the new tramming loop. Previous visitors to Blanket would have been surprised by the scale of the new tunnel which makes it much easier to move men and materials underground. Having looked at some of the new areas under development we returned above ground and moved over to the new Central Shaft.
This project to improve underground infrastructure started in 2015 and is due to be completed in 2021 and is a key feature of the infrastructure enhancements which will see Caledonia’s production increase to its target of 80,000 ounces of gold per year in 2021.
With all of this capital expenditure being funded by the company’s own cash flow, with gold selling at around $1200 per ounce and the costs of production at Blanket being $850 you can, as they say, do the math!