Caledonia Mining Corporation Plc
Record quarterly gold production at Blanket Mine.
St Helier, January 13, 2020 - Caledonia Mining Corporation Plc ("Caledonia" or the "Company") announces record quarterly gold production from the Blanket Mine ("Blanket") in Zimbabwe for the quarter ended December 31, 2019 ("Q4 2019" or the "Quarter").
Approximately 16,876 ounces of gold were produced during the Quarter, exceeding the previous production record of 16,425 ounces set in the final quarter of 2017. Production in the Quarter was 24 per cent higher than the previous quarter and 13 per cent higher than the corresponding final quarter of 2018.
Total gold production during 2019 was approximately 55,182 ounces, ahead of revised production guidance of 50,000 - 53,000 ounces.
Caledonia advises that gold production for 2020 is expected to be between 53,000 and 56,000 ounces1.
All production numbers are expressed on a 100 per cent basis and are based on mine production data and are therefore subject to adjustment following final assay at the refiners.
Commenting on the announcement, Steve Curtis, Chief Executive Officer, said:
"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. I join with my fellow directors in expressing our gratitude and congratulations to all Blanket staff on the delivery of safe, profitable gold production.
"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.
"I expect 2020 to be a landmark year for our business: we look forward to commissioning the Central Shaft later in 2020 which we anticipate will then deliver increased operating cash flows and reduced capital expenditure will follow. In early January 2020 we announced a 9.1 per cent increase in Caledonia's quarterly dividend; the anticipated improvement in free cash flow is expected to enable the Board to review future dividend distributions as appropriate."
Caledonia's Dividend Policy
Caledonia's strategy to maximise shareholder value includes a quarterly dividend policy which the Board of Directors adopted in 2014. Since that time, the Company has paid 24 successive quarterly dividends without interruption and, on 3 January 2020, announced an increase of the quarterly dividend by 9.1% from 6.875c per share to 7.5c per share. The Board will consider future increases in the dividend as appropriate in line with its prudent approach to risk management.