CALEDONIA Mining Corporation (Caledonia)’s gold production for the nine months to September 30, 2019 slumped 3,2% to 38 306 ounces compared to the same period last year, due to electricity supply interruptions.

In the same period last year, gold production totalled 39 559 ounces.

Caledonia, which operates Blanket Mine in Zimbabwe, says approximately 13 646 ounces of gold were produced during the third quarter of the year, 7,3% above the 12 712 ounces produced in the second quarter of 2019.

It, however, said all production numbers were expressed on a 100% basis as well as based on mine production data and were therefore subject to adjustment following final assay at the refiners.

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An exploration, development and mining corporation, Caledonia said it maintains its 2019 full year production guidance of 50 000 to 53 000 ounces and remains on track to meet its target of 80 000 ounces by 2022.

“Production in the third quarter of 2019 was slightly below our target, but showed steady growth in production on the previous two quarters. Production in the quarter had a difficult start due to significant interruptions in the supply of electricity in July and early August although the electricity situation improved substantially later in the quarter. Caledonia remains on track to achieve our guidance of 50 000 to 53 000 ounces for the full year,” the company’s chief executive officer, Steve Curtis, said in a statement.

Zimbabwe has been experiencing crippling power outages which have seen industry and households going for up to 18 hours a day without electricity, hampering production in the process.

Curtis said they were pleased to have completed the shaft sinking phase of the central shaft project during the quarter, a significant milestone for their business.

“The shaft has now entered the equipping phase of the project which we expect to be completed in mid-2020. We look forward to commencing production from the central shaft during the second half of 2020 which is expected to deliver the company’s growth plan to achieve 75 000 ounces in 2021 and 80 000 ounces by 2022,” he said.

In November 2018, Caledonia announced that it had signed a legally binding agreement to increase its shareholding in Blanket from 49% to 64% subject to the receipt of, among other things, regulatory approvals.