Source: Caledonia offers 620 000 shares to locals | The Herald
Leonard Ncube–Victoria Falls Reporter
GIANT global investor, Caledonia Mining Corporation Plc, has offloaded 620 000 shares for Zimbabweans keen to buy the company’s shares on the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange (VFEX).
Caledonia becomes the third company to list on the new foreign currency-denominated bourse since its launch last year in October, joining Seed Co International and Padenga Holdings.
President Mnangagwa officially opened the VFEX here yesterday and presided over the ceremony to mark the mining company’s official listing.
In his speech, Caledonia chief executive, Mr Steve Curtis, praised Zimbabwe for transforming its investment climate saying the listing cements the gold miner’s continued commitment to the country.
Caledonia, which owns Blanket Mine in Gwanda, Matabeleland South, has already offered shares to the Gwanda community and Blanket Mine staff who are now significant shareholders in the mine, owning 10 percent each.
“This demonstrates commitment to the empowerment of staff and community,” said Mr Curtis.
“The last 12 months have been a transformational period for the business. We are excited about this next stage and are keen to welcome new shareholders,” he said.
“As of this morning, we issued 620 000 new Caledonia shares to the Zimbabwean shareholders and these shares will start trading today (yesterday).
“I am also very pleased to announce that the offer for the listing in Zimbabwe is only made to Zimbabweans,” said Mr Curtis.
He commended support for local business by Zimbabweans, adding that the incentives introduced by the Government, through the Treasury, for listing on the VFEX, will enable Caledonia to progress with its next phase of development.
“The support from Zimbabwe investors has been extremely encouraging and due to extremely positive responses, Caledonia decided to raise more funds than originally anticipated, reinforcing our belief that this listing is an important milestone welcoming new shareholders with a mutual desire for investment in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Curtis.
Blanket Mine is Caledonia’s main business entity in Zimbabwe. Mr Curtis said plans were underway to open new gold mines while also expanding investment in the existing business, especially with the Central Shaft, which the company has been working on in the last five years.
Blanket Mine’s production in the third quarter of 2006 was 6 475 ounces and had grown to almost 19 000 ounces last month, with over 1 800 employees on site.
“Caledonia also continues to show commitment and connection to Zimbabwe through investing in several community projects in Gwanda and beyond,” said Mr Curtis.
“These additional investments and the listing today all highlight our continued loyalty to Zimbabwe and the positioning of Caledonia in the country.
“The excess 100 percent United States dollar revenue incremental gold sales will allow blanket mine or any other new mine that Caledonia develops, to attract quality investors who should gain confidence that Zimbabwe is a competitive investment environment capable of delivering attractive returns,” said Mr Curtis.
He said the Central Shaft project was self-funded from internal cash flow and one of the deepest shafts of any gold mine in Zimbabwe going down 1 200 metres from surface and cost almost US$ 67 million.
Mr Curtis said the Central shaft provides the infrastructure required to access the deeper resources at Blanket Mine and will sustain operations for many years to come.
He said the extra hoisting capacity provided by the shaft is the foundation to the production build-up to 80 000 ounces from next year onwards.
The completion of the central shaft and resultant increase in production mean that Caledonia can execute other areas of its growth strategy such as the agreement to acquire Maligreen, which was completed last month. The property has an estimated inferred resources of 940 000 ounces of gold.
Mr Curtis said last year Caledonia decided to construct a 12MW solar plant at Blanket Mine, and the project is progressing well despite Covid-19 effects.
He said the project will be operational next year and will provide about 27 percent of Blanket Mine’s total electricity demand.
Matabeleland North Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution, Richard Moyo, said the establishment of the VFEX was a welcome development and complements the investment required into the tourism industry.
Minister Moyo said Victoria Falls was principally known as a tourism hub but the Government has plans to make it a financial hub.
“Granting of Victoria Falls a city status complements the efforts for devolution and urbanisation being undertaken by our Government. With growth in tourism and establishment of an offshore financial services centre, Victoria Falls is surely destined to be one of the best cities in this country,” he said.