Caledonia Mining Corporation Plc. (‘Caledonia’ or ‘the company’) is primarily involved in mining, development and exploration of minerals. Currently the company is focused on mining and development at the +100 year old Blanket gold mine located in Zimbabwe. The mine consists of nine deposits within an extensively mineralized system including Sabiwa, Jethro, The Blanket, Feudal, AR South, AR Main, Sheet, Eroica and Lima ore bodies. Blanket, AR South, AR Main, Eroica and Lima are being mined currently.
In April 2006, Caledonia acquired the Blanket mine and Carbon-in-leach plant from Kinross Gold Corporation with current capacity of 3,800 tpd. At the end of 2010, the Company completed an expansion project at the Blanket mine which increased its gold production capacity from 24,000 ounces per annum to 40,000 ounces per annum.
During 2012, to comply with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act ("The Act"), Zimbabwean law, the company transferred 51% of the ownership through a vendor funding agreement to indigenous Zimbabweans. Currently, Caledonia owns 49% stake in the Blanket mine however, it is funding the purchase of 51% by indigenous Zimbabweans via a vendor funding agreement. As per the agreement, the company is entitled to 80% of the dividend declared from the Blanket mine as part repayment of the loan to the indigenous Zimbabweans. This has resulted in current effective holding much higher than the 49% stake. The company currently anticipates repayment of the loan after which the effective holding will revert to 49% equity ownership and will also retain the management of the mine.
Investment plan: On November 3, 2014, the company announced the Investment Plan for further development and exploration of the Blanket mine. One of the key improvements is the construction of a Central Shaft, which was originally planned to be sunk in one single phase at 1,080m-deep. One of the key improvements is the construction of a 1,080m-deep Central Shaft which will allow greater production capacity. Located between the AR Main and AR South ore bodies, the Central Shaft is currently at the depth of 870m. Once it becomes operational, a ramp-up in production from 55,000 ounces to 80,000 ounces in 2021 is expected.
Extension of Central Shaft: On November 10, 2017, the company announced further expansion of the investment plan by extending the Central Shaft from initially planned 1,080m to 1,330m. Caledonia also plans to add two new production lines at 34 level (1,110m) and 38 level (1,230m), in addition to two levels (26 level – 870m and 30 level – 990m) planned earlier.
Further deepening of the Central Shaft will provide access to indicated and inferred resources below level 30 and will increase the Life of Mine by four years up to 2031. Caledonia expects the extension
Caledonia Mining Corporation Plc. – Arrowhead BID 2 TSX: CAL, NYSE: CMCL, LSE-AIM: CMCL
Due Diligence and Valuation Report See important disclosures on page 25 of this report.
of Central Shaft to cost approximately USD 10 million and a further USD 8 million for the development of two new levels.
The company has also commenced the development of mid-shaft loading system at the Blanket mine to facilitate better waste management and to improve the overall production and operational flexibility.
The extension of Central Shaft and the addition of two new levels are unlikely to impact the company’s dividend policy and its production target of 80,000 ounces till FY 2021.
The company expects the total capital cost for Central Shaft, including the additional USD 18 million for extension of the Central Shaft, to be approximately USD 51 million. The sustainability capex over the mine’s life period is expected to be around USD 63 million, approximately USD 4.5 million per year till 2031.
The Investment Plan also included the construction of a tramming loop and sinking of the No. 6 Winze which were completed ahead of schedule and are contributing to the company’s increased production.
A new ball mill was also installed in 2016 which is fully commissioned. The new mill will increase the daily throughput by 20%, from 1,500 tpd to 1,800 tpd, and will allow Blanket to meet its planned production of 80,000 ounces by 2021.
In addition to the Investment Plan, Caledonia is involved in the exploration and development of AR South and AR Main ore bodies