DRDGOLD has announced that shareholders voted in favour of all resolutions relating to the company’s proposed acquisition of certain of Sibanye-Stillwater’s West Rand Tailings Retreatment project assets.

Key resolutions approved:

  • DRDGOLD will issue approximately 265 million shares to Sibanye-Stillwater in return for the West Rand Tailings Retreatment (WRTRP) assets, resulting in Sibanye-Stillwater holding approximately 38% of DRDGOLD;
  • Sibanye-Stillwater has the option to subscribe for so many shares for cash to increase its holding in DRDGOLD to 50.1% within 24 months; and
  • a mandatory offer by Sibanye-Stillwater to DRDGOLD’s other shareholders is waived.

“This transaction is a step-change for DRDGOLD. We have doubled our reserves and secured infrastructure to access these very quickly, says DRDGOLD CEO Niël Pretorius.

“After many years of consolidation this is a major advance towards growing our company,” he adds.

Besides DRDGOLD shareholder approval, implementation of the acquisition is subject to the fulfillment or waiver of other conditions.

West Rand Tailings Retreatment project

The WRTRP is a large-scale, long-life surface tailings retreatment opportunity with economic viability secured by the acquisition of the Cooke assets in 2014.

The combined WRTRP reserves amount to 677.3Mt of the historic Driefontein, Kloof and Cooke tailings storage facilities (TSFs), containing estimated gold and uranium mineral reserves of 6.2Moz and 97.2Mlb respectively.

The definitive feasibility study for this project as well as the front-end engineering design were completed during the fourth quarter of 2016, rendering the WRTRP construction-ready.

Key to the successful execution of this project is the permitting and construction of a high-volume capacity network of pipelines connecting reclamation stations, thickeners and processing plants for economical extraction of gold and uranium from the historic TSFs.

In addition, the project must permit and construct a single large regional TSF covering 1.350 ha in accordance with modern, sustainable deposition practices.

Permitting for the WRTRP is well advanced with the regulators due to award permits during the second quarter of 2017.

The scope of the initial ‘Get into Business’ strategy included reclamation of four key anchor resources accounting for 210 Mt, ~2.3 Moz Au and ~54Mlb U3O8.

The gold-rich Driefontein 3 and 5 TSFs and the Cooke 4 South tailings dams will be reclaimed sequentially at a rate of 1 Mtpm concurrently with the uranium-rich Cooke tailings dam at a rate of 400,000 tpm.

The resultant tailings will be deposited onto the new regional TSF.

Steady-state annual production of ~100,000 oz of gold and 900,000 lb of uranium is planned during the first phase, allowing for the recovery of ~2.7 Moz of saleable gold and ~31.1 Mlb of saleable uranium over the first 40 years of the project.