BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
VICTORIA Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX)-listed Caledonia Mining Corporation says gold production at Zimbabwe based Blanket Mine has been strong, and is on track to hit the top end of its guidance range of 73 000 to 80 000 ounces.
In a shareholder update, Caledonia, which is also listed on the New York Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange, also declared a quarterly dividend of US$0,14 on each of the company’s shares
“Gold production so far this year has been strong, and we are on track to hit the top end of our guidance range of 73 000 to 80 000 ounces,” Caledonia chief executive officer Mark Learmonth, who recently took over from Steve Curtis who retired, said.
“Although the dividend continues to be a central part of our strategy, I am very excited with the opportunity that we have to evolve our business in Zimbabwe and de-risk it from being a single asset producer. I look forward to updating the market of our progress in due course.”
The company, which operates Blanket Mine in Gwanda, said its strategy is focused on becoming a multi-asset gold producer.
Dividend declaration comes at a time when Caledonia’s gross revenue increased by 37% to US$35,1 million in the first quarter of this year, reflecting a major increase in gold production and prices.
In the same period last year, gross revenue stood at US$25,7 million.
It said the high revenue reflected a 40% increase in production and a 6% increase in the realised gold price.
A total of 18 515 ounces of gold were produced in the period under review, up 38% compared to the previous period.
The 40% increase in production was due to higher tonnage milled, improved grade and better metallurgical recoveries.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation stood at US$14,6 million in the review quarter from US$9,7 million achieved last year.
Following Caledonia’s successful secondary listing on the VFEX in late 2021, the firm recently indicated that it had increased the proportion of revenues received in United States dollars.
The company said it would continue to evaluate further investment opportunities in the gold sector in the country, with the long-term vision of becoming a mid-tier, multi-asset gold producer.