TGME underground project, South Africa – update

23rd February 2024 By: Sheila Barradas - Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

TGME underground project, South Africa – update

Photo by: Theta Gold Mines

Name of the Project
TGME underground project.

Mpumalanga, South Africa.

Project Owner/s
Theta Gold Mines.

Project Description
The project aims to restart historical underground gold mines in Mpumalanga, a prolific gold-mining region.

The project is targeting the Beta, Rietfontein, Frankfort and Clewer-Dukes Hill-Morgenzon (CDM) mines.

In the base case, the project has a mine life of 12.9 years, delivering production of 1.24-million ounces of contained gold over the life-of-mine (LoM) at a processing rate of 540 000 t/y to initially recover 1.08-million ounces of gold.

The project aims to produce 30 000 t a month from the Beta mine, 15 000 t a month from the Rietfontein mine, 15 000 t a month from the Frankfort mine and 10 000 t to 20 000 t a month near the end of the CDM mine’s LoM. The existing mining infrastructure will be used, with the addition of new accesses, underground development and predevelopment of the mining grids to access the planned mining areas at Beta, Frankfort and CDM.

At Rietfontein, the existing adits and underground development will be used with the addition of new development ends, a new decline and the extension of an existing decline.

The mining strategy for the underground operations is to apply mechanised longhole drilling to narrow-reef mining to selectively mine out only the reef channel, with minimal dilution at Beta, Frankfort and CDM.

Rietfontein will be mined conventionally using shrinkage stoping, with hybrid loading methods between trackless load-haul-dump and rail-bound locomotives.

The processing plant will have a feed capacity of 45 000 t/m.

Potential Job Creation
Not stated.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
In the base case, the project has a net present value, at a 10% discount rate, of $324-million at an average $1 642/oz and an internal rate of return of 65%. Based on these figures, the project has a forecast after-tax payback period of 31 months.

Capital Expenditure
The estimated development capital or peak funding requirement is $77-million.

Planned Start/End Date
First gold production is targeted for the second quarter 2024. Beta is scheduled as the first operation to start production, followed by Rietfontein and then the CDM and Frankfort mines, which will start production simultaneously.

Latest Developments
Theta Gold Mines has selected Yellow River Co (YRC), a subsidiary of Power Construction Corporation of China, for the construction of its TGME gold plant, tailings storage facility (TSF) and wastewater dams.

The parties are working on a formal engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for completion by the second quarter of 2024, with an expected contract size of $30-million.

The contract will cover the 45 000 t a month capacity gold plant, the TSF and the wastewater management dams.

Theta will pay for the EPC contract over a long-term payment schedule. YRC will be paid a fixed margin over the EPC contract value, plus a completion incentive upon completion of the project.

Theta says it is in discussions with several funders to obtain the funding necessary to meet the upfront payment commitments for TGME to advance the EPC memorandum of understanding to a contract.

Since the initial engagement in November, the Theta and YRC senior management teams have completed four site trips and have established a solid working relationship, COO Jacques Du Triou has said.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Met63 (detailed design and costing of processing plant designed for a feed capacity of 45 000 t a month) and YRC (construction of gold plant, TSF and wastewater dams).

Contact Details for Project Information
Theta Gold Mines, tel +61 2 8046 7584 or email