Witwatersrand basin project – Qala Shallows Phase 1, South Africa – update

Location map of the WBP deposits

Photo by West Wits Mining

17th November 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor


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Name of the Project
Witwatersrand basin project (WBP) – Qala Shallows Phase 1.

At the northern edge of the Witwatersrand basin, in the Central Rand goldfield, immediately south-west of the City of Johannesburg, in Gauteng, South Africa.

Project Owner/s
West Wits Mining.

Project Description
Qala Shallow forms part of the WBP.

The updated results of the definitive feasibility study (DFS) on Qala Shallows have further enhanced the project’s promising outlook. The project has contained ore estimated at 1.01-million ounces.

The reefs to be processed during the life of the project are the two Kimberley reefs – K9A and K9B.

The Kimberley reef ore produced will be treated at an existing nearby plant on a toll treatment basis. A toll treatment agreement has been signed with the Ezulwini process plant facility and all ore produced will be truck-hauled to this plant, which uses the carbon-in-pulp process for gold recovery.

The updated DFS envisages production of 10.1-million run-of-mine tonnes, compared with 7.6-million in the DFS. Maximum production has increased from 699 000 t/y in the DFS to 839 000 t/y in the updated DFS, for overall production of 924 000 oz from 688 000 oz.

The mining method has been left unchanged from that used in the 2022 DFS. The only difference between the mining plans relates to mining sequence and timing.

The updated DFS has determined that conventional breast mining in an underhand configuration is the optimal method for the deposit.

Life-of-mine (LoM) from construction to relinquishment has increased from 15.7 years to 17.7 years.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
The updated DFS has a pretax net present value (NPV), at a 7.5% discount rate, of $367-million and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 38%, with a payback of five years, compared with an NPV of $180-million and a payback of 4.1 years in the August 2022 DFS. The IRR remains the same.

Capital Expenditure
Peak funding has decreased from $63-million in the August 2022 DFS to $54-million in the June 2023 updated DFS.

Planned Start/End Date
Phase 1 is expected to be completed in 2026.

Latest Developments
West Wits has received formal acceptance of its application for a new prospecting right, designated as PR10839, from South Africa's Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE).

PR10839 is strategically located adjacent to West Wits' already granted mining right at the WBP, further south of the Qala Shallows operation within the WBP.

The company has another prospecting right application – PR10730 – already under consideration by the DMRE.

West Wits has said the applications for the prospecting rights are aimed at augmenting the mineral resources complementing the WBP mining right footprint awarded in July 2021, and significantly extending the operational life span of West Wits Kimberly reef activities at its Qala Shallows operations.

The company has said the approval of both prospecting rights would have the potential to considerably extend the WBP’s overall LoM, and may provide essential support for the company's pursuit of establishing an independent treatment facility at Qala Shallows in the future.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Calgro M3 (secure potable water supply for the mine).

Contact Details for Project Information
West Wits Mining, tel +61 3 8692 9049 or email

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter




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