Caledonia Mining has announced record quarterly and annual gold production from the Blanket Gold Mine in Zimbabwe for the year ending 31 December 2016.

The production also includes work-in-progress of 754 ounces recovered on 31 December 2016. The statistics are subject to adjustment after the final assay from the refiners.

In Q4 2016, nearly 13,591 ounces of gold were produced, an 18% increase from Q4 2015 and a 1.2% increase from the Q3 2016. Last year, around 50,351 ounces of gold was produced and production rose by 17.6% compared to 42,804 ounces annual production in 2015.

Caledonia Mining's chief executive officer (CEO) Steve Curtis said: “2016 was a significant year for Caledonia as the continued investment at Blanket begins to bear fruit. Gold production in 2016 of 50,351 ounces surpassed the previous record from underground operations of 45,530 ounces, which was achieved in 2013.

"Gold production in 2016 of 50,351 ounces surpassed the previous record from underground operations of 45,530 ounces."

“The record level of production was due to the commencement of production below 750m following the successful completion of the No. 6 Winze and other infrastructure projects, improved underground infrastructure, and the installation of the new ball mill late in 2016.

“As well as achieving this record gold production level, the sinking of the new central shaft continued according to plan and reached a depth of 534m by year end.

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“As we increase production, we expect earnings will continue to benefit from the increased sales volumes and from a lower average cost per ounce as fixed production costs and overheads are spread across higher production.

“This improvement makes us confident of achieving a significant improvement in earnings for 2017. Caledonia expects to publish its results for the year to 31 December 2016 on 21 March 2017.”

This year, the company intends to produce approximately 60,000 ounces from the project, carrying an estimate on mine cost within the range of $600 to $630 per ounce and an all-in sustaining cost in the range of $810 to $850 per ounce.

All these figures are non-IFRS measures.