Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 19 March, 2008 – Ergo Mining (Pty) Limited’s current Phase 1 refurbishment of the Ergo tailings retreatment operation at Brakpan – previously owned and operated by AngloGold Ashanti Limited – is targeted to produce 75 000 ounces of gold a year by mid-2009, and to provide jobs for 200 people.
Ergo Mining is a joint venture between DRDGOLD South African Operations (Pty) Limited (DRDGOLD SA) and Mintails SA (Pty) Limited (Mintails SA). The former is 74% owned by JSE- and NASDAQ-listed DRDGOLD Limited, and 26% by black economic empowerment partner Khumo Gold SPV (Pty) Limited and an employee trust. The latter is a wholly owned subsidiary of Australian-listed Mintails Limited.
A statement issued by DRDGOLD SA here yesterday said total capital expenditure for Phase 1 was R477 million. Some R62 million had been earmarked primarily for refurbishment of one of the two carbon-in-leach (CIL) circuits at Ergo’s Brakpan plant. It is planned to take the annual tailings retreatment rate from 7.2 million tpa in the fourth quarter of 2008, to 15 million tpa from mid-2009. The targeted average gold head-grade is 0.32 g/t, the extraction efficiency rate 49.8%, and the operating cost, R20.39 /t.
“Tailings for re-treatment will be drawn initially from the Benoni Tailings Dam at a rate of 600 000 tpm, the statement continued. “A further 600 000 tpm will be added later from the Elsburg Tailings Complex, which has an initial measured resource of 171 Mt. Retreated tailings will first be deposited on Ergo’s landmark Brakpan tailings dam, and subsequently on the adjacent Withok tailings dam footprint,” it added.
The statement also revealed that while conservative current financial and operating planning anticipates a life of 12 years for Ergo, the company had potential access to 1.7 billion tonnes of gold tailings on the East Rand, containing some 15 million oz of gold. This could extend the operation’s life to 25 years.
Current studies scheduled for completion later this year will determine the viability of uranium and sulphuric acid production, as well as a second phase of refurbishment of the Brakpan plant to re-commission the second CIL plant, thereby doubling the re-treatment rate to 30 million tpa, the statement said.
Ergo Mining will be operated by Crown Gold Recoveries (Pty) Limited (Crown), a wholly owned subsidiary of DRDGOLD SA, and 25-year veteran of gold tailings retreatment on the central Witwatersrand.
Environmental management will be a priority, with particular emphasis placed on land clearance and minimising the impacts of wind-blown dust and ground water pollution. Environmental management programmes (EMPs) are currently being compiled in close co-operation with the relevant government departments, the DRDGOLD statement concluded.