Canadian exploration and development company Caledonia Mining has reported a 13% upgrade to the resource base at the Blanket mine in Zimbabwe.

The upgrade is based on development and diamond core drilling completed up to the end of July this year.

Following the resource upgrade, the total measured and indicated gold ounces at Blanket mine have increased from 714,000oz to 805,000oz.

The mine is now estimated to have total measured and indicated resources of 6.74 million tonnes at a grade of 3.72g/t.

With inferred gold resources at Blanket rising 9% from 887,000oz to 963,000oz, the total inferred resources are now at 6.63 million tonnes at a grade of 4.52g/t.

Although there was a decline in the average grade of the resources, it remains well above the current mill feed grade of 3.3g/t, the company noted.

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By GlobalData

Meanwhile, the proven reserves and indicated resources increased by 10% from 4.52 million tonnes to 4.98 million tonnes.

Since 2011, Blanket mine’s resources have increased by nearly 86%.

Caledonia Mining CEO Steve Curtis said: “Today’s resource upgrade is yet another positive step in our journey as we invest for the long-term future of Blanket.

“Today’s resource upgrade is yet another positive step in our journey as we invest for the long-term future of Blanket.”

“The inferred resource in particular at a grade of 4.5g/t and the substantial increase in inferred resources at depth gives us confidence in the longer term potential of the mine.

“The increase in the Measured and Indicated resource base of 13% to 805,000oz is good news for the longer term life of mine plan at Blanket and underscores the overall confidence level in Blanket’s resources which is underpinned by the planned increases in cashflow and production as the investment in our Central Shaft comes to an end.”

Caledonia Mining is planning to ramp up production at Blanket to around 80,000oz in 2021.

Last month, the company signed an agreement to acquire an additional 15% stake in the mine to take its overall interest to 64%.