HARARE – Caledonia Mining Corporation said on Monday gold output at its Zimbabwe based Blanket Mine will rise to between 53 000 and 56 000 ounces in 2020, after reporting 55 182 tonnes in 2019.

“Total gold production during 2019 was approximately 55 182 ounces, ahead of revised production guidance of 50 000 – 53 000 ounces,” said Steve Curtis, chief executive officer at the ASX listed firm.

“Caledonia advises that gold production for 2020 is expected to be between 53 000 and 56 000 ounces.

“I am delighted to report a production record at Blanket of 16 867 ounces in the fourth quarter. An improvement in the electricity supply and vigilant focus on grade control and production tonnage have resulted in an excellent production result for the final quarter of which our entire operational staff can be justifiably proud. The impressive operational turnaround was achieved without any compromises on safety. This is a commendable achievement given the distractions posed by the challenging conditions experienced by our workers due to the economic environment in Zimbabwe,” he said.

“I am also pleased to see that we have not lost this momentum as we start 2020 with the mine continuing to perform very well into the new year. With the improved operational performance and the current buoyant gold prices leading to healthy operating margins we expect Caledonia to continue its track record of strong cash generation.

He said he looked forward to commissioning the Central Shaft later in 2020 which is expected to deliver increased operating cash flows and reduced capital expenditure.

In early January 2020, Caledonia announced a 9,1 per cent increase in Caledonia’s quarterly dividend.

Curtis said the anticipated improvement in free cash flow is expected to enable the board to review future dividends.