DRDGold’s Ergo
Johannesburg, South Africa — 29 August 2012 – DRDGold “’ the fourth largest gold company in South Africa “’ wants to extend its surface mining footprint beyond gold, saying very few players can match its technology to extract earnings from mining dumps in high-volume environments.

Miningmx reports that, publishing financials for the year to end-June, the company released numbers for a deep-level asset for the last time, marking the group’s transformation from being a leveraged deep-level specialist to becoming a highly mechanised tailings processor.
The sale of deep-level Blyvooruitzicht mine to Village Main Reef for R150 million in a shares- based transaction was completed end-May.

Apart from a few prospects, DRDGold’s main asset now comprises the Ergo processing plant and a network of pipelines designed to deliver high volumes of tailings from the Witwatersrand’s historical mining dumps.

During the period under review, Ergo delivered 135,708oz of gold at a cost of US$1,096 per kg. Blyvoor’s separate contribution was 96,645oz at a cost of US$1,404/oz.

The company is now working towards the completion of a R250 million flotation/fine grind circuit to extract more gold from surface materials. The circuit is earmarked to be commissioned in the March-quarter of 2013.

CEO Niël Pretorius told analysts and journalists that the major priority for the new financial year, apart from completing the flotation circuit, was to maintain volume deliveries of tonnes to the plant.

“The business of reclamation – the way we have positioned ourselves with a central integrated plant that relies heavily on ultra-volume flow – is very dependent on volumes,” Pretorius said.

“For us going forward, to achieve volumes every month without interruption is going to be a very important focus area. We now have a dedicated team which has one job, and that is delivering volumes to the plant.”

Pretorius said the success of the flotation circuit would also trigger a decision on the commissioning of a R150 million uranium circuit, of which the production is envisaged to carry between 8% and 10% of DRDGold’s gold production cash costs.

Pretorius said the group would in future look at other opportunities where it can deploy its surface mining technology. “I don’t think gold is the only product out there that can be recovered,” he said. “We will be looking to extend our reach with our technology.

“We’re not really a miner anymore; we’re just refuse people finding stuff that’s been thrown away.”

However, Pretorius said the company is not to embark immediately on an expansion drive, saying the flotation circuit and likely uranium circuit would be the company’s last major capital expenditures for the time being.

DRDGold reported a 53% increase in full-year operating profit to R622 million from its Ergo asset, leading the gold producer to a 259% increase in headline earnings per share from continuing operations to 61c per share. Net cash flow from operations rose by 91% to R619.5 million, and the company also declared a dividend of 10c per share for the year to end-June.

Source: Miningmx. For more information, click here.