DRDGold has announced a 52.6% increase in measured mineral resources and a 66.6% increase in mineral reserves from those reported on 30 June 2016.

Dual-listed surface miner DRDGold’s measured mineral resources increased from 161.9 Mt grading at 0.29 g/t to 261.5 Mt grading at 0.28 g/t.

Meanwhile, the company’s mineral reserves increased from 170.9 Mt grading at 0.33 g/t to 312.6 Mt grading at 0.30g/t.

This results in a 66.6% increase in gold in reserves from 1.8 Moz to 3 Moz and a five-year extension to the operating life of its Ergo gold tailings treatment plant in Brakpan, on Johannesburg’s East Rand.

The revised mineral resources and mineral reserves statement is the result of a drilling programme and pre-feasibility study, which begun in September 2016, aimed at re-evaluating DRDGold’s surface gold tailings.

Tailings dumps and dams on the East Rand, to the east of the company’s Ergo plant – specifically 7L15, Rooikraal and Grootvlei – were a particular focus of the study as the intention is to add these to the mineral reserve base.

DRDGold said capital expenditure of R507.7 million will be needed to access these dumps and dams. This includes the cost of 162.4 km of pipelines and new pump stations. All required permits are in place.

No major upgrades are required to the current Ergo processing plant, and the existing Brakpan/Withok tailings deposition facility has sufficient capacity to dispose of processing waste, said DRDGold.