Tailings-savvy DRDGold inviting collaboration, consolidation

12th September 2017 By: Martin Creamer - Creamer Media Editor

Tailings-savvy DRDGold inviting collaboration, consolidation

CEO Niƫl Pretorius
Photo by: Creamer Media

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Surface gold mining company DRDGold, the oldest company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange with more experience than any other mining company in the recovery of gold from tailings dumps, believes that the time may have arrived for the transplanting of its remarkable expertise to other footprints.

DRDGold recovers gold from a large multi-million-ounce surface tailings resource that has been built up over more than a century of mining.

It has the expertise to extract at the highly exacting rate of 170 parts per billion – yes, billion – and it succeeds in doing so consistently, which reflects extreme process precision.(Also watch attached Creamer Media video).

The competitive advantage that its throughput risk information and management system is providing at its high-volume tailings reclamation plant at Ergo, on the East Rand, has over the years become an exceedingly distinct one.

“If ever there was an opportune time to start looking at a consolidation of tailings operations in South Africa, perhaps by way of collaboration, this is probably it. We’re open for business. We’d love to collaborate,” DRDGold CEO Niël Pretorius told Mining Weekly Online.

Adjustments to the Ergo plant’s water reticulation system are yielding water cost savings of R24-million a year and a saving of R1.3-million a month in the cost of reagents was achieved in the 12 months to June 30, when the company turned mine waste into 137 000 oz of gold.

The debt-free gold producer responds rocket-like to gold price rises, which some time back saw its market capitalisation soar rapidly from R700-million to R4.9-billion.

What the Johannesburg- and New York-listed DRDGold is now saying is that it is prepared to collaborate with those in South Africa still battling to get on top of this very exacting business, but one that is environmentally, economically and socially crucial to the country, and one that DRDGold is able to carry out at low cost.

Calculations show that DRDGold adds R14-billion worth of value a year to the South African economy and at the same time unlocks scarce real estate for gainful development.

The three distinct operational areas of expertise that have been developed over time within DRDGold are the ability to move large volumes of material, to measure and respond to what shows up in sensitive plant monitoring, and to deposit residue material appropriately.

Tailings reclamation companies that do not have this combination of know-how, plus DRDGold's diligent adherence to key values in dealing with communities, will struggle to serve their stakeholders optimally.

"We’re very happy with the platform we've created and maybe the time has come for a consolidation of tailings reclamation in South Africa and for collaboration between mining companies,” Pretorius commented to Mining Weekly Online.