Drilling results at Caledonia Mining Corporation Plc-owned Blanket Gold Mine which targets depth extension to the Eroica ore body indicate that the ore body continues at depth with grades and widths being generally better than expected.
Deep-level drilling at Blanket Mine was suspended several years ago due to underground logistical constraints and the impact of Covid-19 on contractor operations. Following completion of the Central Shaft and related infrastructure, deep-level drilling resumed in January 2023 and is currently focussed on the Eroica orebody where a cross-cut has been mined to allow optimal access to drill the deeper zones of the steeply-dipping orebody.
Approximately 5,600m of drilling were completed between January 1, 2023 and May 30, 2023 approximately a further 12,900m is planned for the remainder of 2023.
According to Caledonia Chief Executive Officer Mr Mark Learmonth, approximately 5,600 meters of drilling was completed between January 2023 and the end of May 2023 with the results of the drilling campaign showing encouraging grades.
“I am delighted with the results of the drilling campaign so far. In particular, the grades are very encouraging when compared to the historically achieved mining grades from Eroica which have been approximately 4-5g/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. We have invested heavily in Blanket Mine in the last 7 years, including investment in 2023 (which will be continued in 2024) in a new tailings facility with an anticipated life of approximately 14 years, to create a mine infrastructure which 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 ore bodies and also from the next phase of drilling,” Learmonth said.
At the Eroica zone, drilling from an exploration drive on the 750m 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 mineralization extends to a depth, between 850m and 1150m 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, and, encouragingly, 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 120m vertically beneath the current inferred resource, which returned true widths of 5.78m grading 8.18grams per tonne(“g/t”) gold and 8m grading 7.7g/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 in due course.