Cale­do­nia to ex­tend cen­tral shaft depth

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - Harare Bureau

CALE­DO­NIA Min­ing Cor­po­ra­tion plans to ex­tend the depth of cen­tral shaft at its 49 per­cent-owned Blan­ket Mine at a cost of ap­prox­i­mately $18 mil­lion to be funded by the gold mine’s in­ter­nal re­sources.

The cen­tral shaft (which is cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion) will be ex­tended by a fur­ther 250 me­tres to a shaft bot­tom depth of 1 330 me­tres and fully com­mis­sioned by the end of the first quar­ter of 2020.

The ex­ten­sion of the cen­tral shaft will add two fur­ther pro­duc­tion lev­els on 34 (1 110 me­tres) and 38 (1 230 me­tres) lev­els, in ad­di­tion to the two lev­els that are al­ready planned on 26 (870 me­tres) and 30 (990 me­tres) lev­els.

The min­ing com­pany said the ad­di­tional cap­i­tal in­vest­ment is not ex­pected to have any ef­fect on the con­tin­u­a­tion of Cale­do­nia’s ex­ist­ing div­i­dend.

Cale­do­nia Min­ing chief ex­ec­u­tive Steve Cur­tis said: “We are very pleased that the long track record of sus­tained re­source growth at Blan­ket, par­tic­u­larly the con­tin­ued dis­cov­ery of re­sources at depth with good grade con­ti­nu­ity, sup­ports an ex­ten­sion of the cen­tral shaft project at Blan­ket.

“The cen­tral shaft is al­ready a trans­for­ma­tional project for our busi­ness and to ex­tend the project an ad­di­tional 250 me­tres in depth in­clud­ing de­vel­op­ment on 34 and 38 lev­els, will po­ten­tially se­cure Blan­ket’s op­er­at­ing fu­ture for the next 20 years tak­ing ex­plo­ration po­ten­tial into ac­count,” said Mr Cur­tis.

The com­pany said a Pre­lim­i­nary Eco­nomic As­sess­ment in­di­cates a project NPV over the life of mine of $193 mil­lion based on a gold price of $1 260/ounce and a 10 per­cent dis­count rate.

The ad­di­tion of two fur­ther pro­duc­tion lev­els will pro­vide ac­cess to the in­di­cated and in­ferred re­sources be­low 30 level and po­ten­tially in­crease Blan­ket’s pro­jected life of mine by a fur­ther four years to 2031.

Cale­do­nia said the in­di­cated re­source be­low 30 level of 37 000 ounces, as a stand­alone project, jus­ti­fies the in­vest­ment of $18 mil­lion for the shaft deep­en­ing and the ad­di­tional two pro­duc­tion lev­els.

To­tal pro­duc­tion from mea­sured and in­di­cated re­sources over the life of the mine is ex­pected to be ap­prox­i­mately 420 000 ounces and pro­duc­tion from In­ferred re­sources is ex­pected to be ap­prox­i­mately 550 000 to 600 000 ounces be­tween 2018 and 2031.

The ex­ten­sion of the cen­tral shaft be­fore it has been com­pleted, equipped and com­mis­sioned is un­der­stood to be sig­nif­i­cantly cheaper, quicker and less dis­rup­tive than a sub­se­quent ex­ten­sion af­ter com­mis­sion­ing.

The min­ing com­pany also ini­ti­ated a mid- shaft load­ing sys­tem at Blan­ket us­ing the ex­ist­ing cen­tral shaft in­fra­struc­ture to han­dle de­vel­op­ment waste.

Cale­do­nia said this is ex­pected to im­prove Blan­ket’s waste han­dling ca­pac­ity and al­le­vi­ate pres­sure on Num­ber 4 shaft, which should have a pos­i­tive ef­fect on both pro­duc­tion flex­i­bil­ity and hor­i­zon­tal de­vel­op­ment.

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