The mining right grant paves the way for completion of the definitive feasibility study on the flagship project which will facilitate declaration of the maiden ore reserve in August 2021.
Importantly, the areas not included in the reduced mining right area were non-core and do not affect the mine plan.
The global MRE has been restated at 25.91 million tonnes at 4.26 g/t for 3.55 million ounces of gold (2g/t cut-off).
West Wits has lodged applications to re-secure certain sections of the old prospecting right area and thereby reintroduce additional resources to the MRE.
The company anticipates that, subject to the acceptance of the new prospecting right (Figure 1), a significant portion of the old resource would be recaptured.
Figure 1: The Witwatersrand Basin Project’s granted mining right boundary (black line) replaces the previous prospecting right boundary (red line). The company has applied for a new prospecting right (blue line) to re-introduce areas of long-term interest.
West Wits managing director Jac van Heerden said: “The granting of the mining right was the last major hurdle for development of the Witwatersrand Basin Project.
“The restated Mineral Resource of 3.55Moz @ 4.26g/t is sizeable and provides the resource base to sustain a long life mine to underpin the growth of the Company.
“The WWI team have been busy finalising the DFS with Bara Consulting on the Qala Shallows, first stage of the project, which is due for release in August.
“The Company is looking forward to commencement of project execution with site establishment expected to commence in September and underground mine development to follow shortly after.”
Higher degree of confidence
The restated Global MRE for the mining right area results in a 918,000 ounces of gold reduction compared to the previous global MRE.
The areas impacted were deemed to be non-core and the reduction in ounces has no impact on the mine schedule, or life of mine, in the Qala Shallows definitive feasibility study (DFS) which is due to be completed in August 2021 or the scoping study over the entire WBP which was completed in 2020.
Notably, WBP’s Measured & Indicated MRE categories now contain 17.61 million tonnes at 3.98g/t for 2.25 million ounces gold (2g/t cut-off) or 63% of the global MRE.
The higher degree of confidence is fundamental in declaring a maiden ore reserve on successful completion of the DFS.
Exploration – next steps
West Wits has identified significant potential to increase the current MRE with additional drill-defined MRE generation which could be achieved by decreasing the drill hole spacing, implementing infill drilling, through strike extension drilling and by extending the drill hole depths.
Most of the recently performed infill-drilling on the Kimberley East project area did not extend below a depth of 300 metres, though high-grade mineralisation is historically known to extend to depths in excess of 1,500 metres.
Underground sampling and infill drilling will form part of the West Wits exploration team’s on-going activities upon commencement of underground mine development and production.
Such activities will inform ongoing mine planning and improve the confidence level of resources beyond the near to midterm production plan.