- March 30, 2020
- Posted in LOCAL
Gwanda gold miner Caledonia Mining Corporation Plc notes the announcement by His Excellency, President E.D. Mnangagwa on March 27, 2020, of a nationwide lockdown of Zimbabwe to restrict the spread of COVID-19 infections. In terms of these regulations all commercial activities other than “essential services” must suspend operations from March 30, 2020 for a period of 21 days.
Although the Zimbabwe authorities have confirmed that gold mining is not an essential service, Blanket is currently permitted to continue with its operations, as the authorities will grant exemptions for businesses which demonstrate they can operate in a manner that contributes to the management of the spread of COVID-19 infections. Blanket Mine has applied for such an exemption on the grounds that:
· Blanket and its employee village can be quarantined from the surrounding area; and
· Blanket will re-configure its operations to reduce the risk of infections being transmitted amongst its employees.
A key measure to reduce the risk of infections amongst Blanket’s workforce will be to increase the “social-distancing” of employees as they enter and leave the underground workings. This will reduce the number of employees who can work underground and will result in daily production running at approximately 70 – 80 percent of the target production rate.
Blanket is permitted to continue operations at the reduced level until its application for exemption is dealt with by the authorities.
As noted in the Company’s announcement on March 26, 2020, Caledonia enters this unprecedented situation with a strong balance sheet such that it can withstand an interruption to production of several months. Cash on hand at March 25, 2020, was $12.5 million following strong production in the first quarter of 2020 and the higher gold price in 2020.