JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – JSE-listed Witwatersrand Consolidated Gold Resources (Wits Gold) has applied for a right to mine gold, silver and uranium over its combined prospecting rights in the southern Free State goldfield, CEO Philip Kotze announced on Wednesday.
The mining right covered a 149.65 km2 area and included the De Bron-Merriespruit (DBM), Bloemhoek, Robijn and Hakkies project areas.
A prefeasibility study for the DBM project area, which was the focus for the first phase of mining at 480 m below the surface, was expected to be complete by May 2012. It would also provide a more detailed timeline for the new mine’s development.
Kotze said that the flagship DBM project could create a significant number of new job opportunities, as well as enhance economic growth in the southern Free State.
In January, Wits Gold reported that the indicated resource of 13.8-million tons at 8.1 g/t of gold and an inferred resource of 5.5-million tons at 8.1 g/t of gold using an accumulation cut-off of 600 cm/gt, the bulk of which is situated at depths of between 480 m and 1 000 m below the surface.
The southern portion of the DBM project area contained an estimated indicated resource of 21.7-million tons at 0.17 kg/t uranium oxide, as well as an inferred resource of 12.5-million tons at 0.17 kg/t.
Further, the shallow mineralisation in multiple reefs at the DBM project could allow for safer and more efficient mechanised mining methods.
The mining right was expected to be granted over the next 12 months, following company’s compliance with requirements in terms of the Minerals Act, such as obligations in terms of feasibility studies, environmental compliance, as well as social and labour plan commitments.
Meanwhile, Wits Gold delivered on the first leg of its new strategy in January when it announced the acquisition of Evander Gold Mines from Harmony Gold, in a 50:50 joint venture with Pan African Resources. The transaction would become effective on April 2, 2012.
The Evander acquisition included a pipeline of advanced development projects, such as Poplar, Rolspruit and Evander South, as well as surface tailings resources.
These development projects, together with Wits Gold’s own projects, would be advanced as part of the exploration leg of the company’s three-tier strategy to move the projects up the value curve.