Johannesburg, South Africa. 14 September 2010. A R300 million project, involving construction of a 50-kilometre pipeline and a plant expansion, could boost to 600Mt the potential resource - contained in gold mine tailings dumps across the western, central and eastern Witwatersrand - available to DRDGOLD’s Ergo and Crown surface retreatment operations, DRDGOLD Executive Officer: Operations Charles Symons said today.
In a presentation during a media site visit to Ergo’s recently refurbished plant at Brakpan on the East Rand, Symons said Ergo - close to achieving its Phase 1 targeted throughput of 1.2Mtpm of gold-bearing tailings - was already producing gold at a cost of R198 000/kg and yielding a margin close to US$400/oz.
“We are confident current research and development into improving recovered grade can deliver even better results from Phase 1,” Symons said.
Pilot plant work, focused on the re-leaching of residue, was yielding up to 0.02 grams per tonne more gold; extrapolated to the main plant, this suggested potential for 25 kilograms per month more gold.
The new 600 000tpm capacity pipeline, scheduled for completion in August next year, will link two of the Crown operation’s plants - Crown and City Deep - in the west with Ergo in the east.
The pipeline will give Crown access to Ergo’s 200Mt capacity tailings deposition site at Brakpan, enabling Crown to restore its maximum deposition capacity to 600 000tpm from the current 400 000tpm, a restriction imposed in 2008 due to diminished capacity at its Nasrec deposition site.
“Restored deposition capacity means Crown can look seriously to bring to account numerous tailings dams along the western and central Witwatersrand, thus extending its economic life,” Symons said.
The pipeline will increase Ergo’s potential to recover additional tailings dams along the central and eastern Witwatersrand, providing feed for a second CIL circuit to be developed in terms of Ergo’s Phase 2 expansion.
Higher volumes at Ergo could be expected to yield further cost reductions and improved efficiencies going forward, Symons said.
James Duncan, Russell & Associates
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Phil Dexter, St James's Corporate Services
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