Learmonth ups Caledonia stake

Caledonia Mining Corporation Plc (Caledonia) director MARK Learmonth has upped his stake in the AIM-listed resources outfit after over 53 000 performance securities were offered to him early this week.

The Zimbabwe-focused gold miner said this development followed maturity of a long-term 
incentive plan award to Learmonth, who is also the group’s chief financial officer.

“The company has made a new long-term incentive plan award to him. The securities have been issued in the form of depository interests representing shares in the company. Learmonth now holds 149 775 depositary interests which represents an interest in approximately 1,39 percent of the share capital of the company,” Caledonia said in a note.

Caledonia — which booked US$21,5 million in gross profits for 2018 — said the award, which comes in the form of performance units, was part of a new long term incentive plan award set to leave Learmonth with a grant value of US$170 000.

Caledonia has since applied for the admission of the depositary interests to trading onto the AIM and it is anticipated that trading in such securities will commence today.

“Following issue of the shares underlying the depositary interests, the company has a total number of shares in issue of 10,7 million common shares of no par value each.

“Caledonia has no shares in treasury; therefore, this figure may be used by holders of securities in the Company as the denominator for the calculations by which they determine if they are required to notify their interest in, or a change to their interest in, the company,” the group said.

Meanwhile, Caledonia last week reported that it had produced 54 511 ounces of gold from its Blanket mine during the 12 months to December 2018, down slightly on the 56 133 ounces produced in 2017, as grades recorded in the period proved weaker.

The group’s all-in sustaining costs were significantly better at US$802 per ounce against US$847 in 2017 as the benefits of the now-discontinued Export Credit Incentive kicked in, consequently leading to a reduction in gross profits to US$21,5 million from US$26 million in 2017.

Net cash at year-end was just over US$11 million, as spending continued on a mine expansion programme designed to take yearly production over the 80 000 ounces mark.

Caledonia is also scouting for brownfield investments in Zimbabwe to grow its asset base, with Learmonth saying much of the planned investment will come on stream from 2021.

Just last year, Caledonia — which agreed to buy an additional stake in Blanket Gold Mine through a $6,6 million deal — said it was not prepared to spend above $3 million in expanding its Zimbabwean resource base over the next two years. 

The transaction spurred Caledonia’s stake in the mine to 64 percent.