The recent signing of a memorandum of understanding between government and global gold miner, Caledonia Mining Corporation is set to give traction to the country’s US$ 4 billion gold economy target by 2023, it has emerged.
The MOU, will allow Caledonia to evaluate mining rights, properties and projects in the gold sector that are controlled by government with a view to assess the potential projects to advance developments.
Zimbabwe is targeting a US$ 12 billion mineral economy by 2023 and gold contribution is expected to be central constituting around 33 percent of total mining sector revenue.
However, gold out has been on the decline lately.
Gold deliveries dipped 13 percent to 10.597 tonnes in the first six months of 2020 following a 16.8 percent plunge in annual out in 2019.
But Caledonia has pledged to commit nearly 15,5 tonnes by 2030.
“Since Caledonia purchased Blanket Mine in 2006, it has increased production at Blanket from less than 20,000 ounces of gold per annum and is now poised to increase production to 80,000 ounces per annum. Blanket Mine has more than doubled its employment from less than 800 in 2006 to a current level of approximately 1,650,” Mines and Mineral Development, Minister Winston Chitando said at the signing of the MOU.
While gold is expected to contribute US$4 billion a year, platinum, diamonds, chrome, iron, steel, coal among other minerals are expected to rake in the rest.
The signing of the agreement is very timely as Blanket Mine, a subsidiary of Caledonia’s investment in the country is approaching the end of a multi-year, US$60 million investment in a new shaft to augment its output.
When this project is completed later this year, Blanket’s annual gold production is expected to increase from approximately 55,000 ounces to approximately 80,000 ounces per annum from 2022 onwards.
“We look forward to applying the same approach to any future opportunities in the country, developing the assets in the same responsible way we have done at Blanket, with any new developments including a local ownership structure and community engagement,” said Caledonia CEO Steve Curtis.
The gold industry has in recent months experienced improved price on the international markets as investors sought shelter in the yellow metal during the Covid-19 pandemic following a dip in prices last year.
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