Caledonia Mining, which is listed on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange, the London Aim market and NYSE American, has reported encouraging results from its ongoing underground drilling programme at the Blanket gold mine, in Zimbabwe, which is currently targeting depth extensions to the Eroica orebody.
About 5 600 m of drilling was completed between January and the end of May, with an additional 12 900 m planned for the remainder of the year. Initial results indicate that the existing Eroica orebody continues at depth with grades and widths being generally better than expected.
Deep level drilling at the Blanket mine was suspended several years ago owing to underground logistical constraints and the impact of Covid-19 on contractor operations.
Following completion of the Central Shaft and related infrastructure, however, deep-level drilling resumed in January and is currently focussed on the Eroica orebody where a crosscut has been mined to allow better access to drill the deeper zones of the steeply dipping orebody.
At the Eroica zone, drilling from an exploration drive on the 750 m level of the mine has focussed mainly on converting inferred resources to indicated resources, in addition to drilling areas outside of inferred resources as the mineralisation extends to depth, between 850 m and 1 150 m below surface.
This is above the bottom of the new Central Shaft and, therefore, any resources that are identified in this area will be served by the planned Central Shaft infrastructure.
Overall, the results confirm the Eroica zone persists to depth as earlier modelled, Caledonia has reported.
Moreover, the results indicate that grades and widths are significantly higher than previously thought.
In addition, the deepest hole drilled in the programme, hole ERC750EX2214, returned strong intersections some 120 m vertically beneath the current inferred resource, which returned true widths of 5.78 m grading 8.18 g/t gold and 8 m grading 7.7 g/t gold. The zone also remains completely open below these intersections.
These results, along with the results of further planned exploration, will be reflected in a revised mineral resource statement which will be published soon, Caledonia has informed shareholders.
“The grades are very encouraging when compared to the historically achieved mining grades from Eroica, which have been approximately 4 g/t to 5 g/t. The Central Shaft and related infrastructure are vital not only to increase production, but to give us the capacity to restart exploration with a view to extending the life at Blanket mine,” Caledonia CEO Mark Learmonth said on July 10.
He noted Caledonia’s significant investment in Blanket mine over the past seven years, including investments made this year – which will be continued in 2024 – in a new tailings facility with an anticipated life of about 14 years, to create a mine infrastructure that can sustain production beyond the current production horizon.
“These results are very encouraging and we look forward to receiving results from extension drilling at the Blanket orebodies and also from the next phase of drilling,” Learmonth said.