JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – A 5% increase in quarter-on-quarter gold production was reported by Johannesburg- and New York-listed surface gold recovery company DRDGOLD on Wednesday.
The gold output of DRDGOLD, which reprocesses tailings at Ergo on the East Rand and at Far West Rand Gold Recoveries on the West Rand, increased to 1 284 kg and gold sold increased to 1 267 kg compared with the previous quarter ended June 30.
This was primarily owing to a 13% increase in tonnage throughput, the company stated in an operational update for the quarter ended September 30.
The operating model involves the high-pressure hydro-mining of discarded mine tailings, pumped as a slurry mix to reduction works through a network of pipelines.
Gold is recovered from the slurry through an extensively automated process and discard tailings are then deposited on a facility of a different design following contemporary management practice.
Cash operating costs per kilogramme increased to R825 630/kg from R780 054/kg, in part owing to Eskom’s winter tariffs and higher municipal power rates.
Cash operating costs per tonne of material decreased by 2% to R190/t owing to an increase in tonnage throughput.
All-in sustaining costs per kilogramme were R951 008/kg, increasing quarter-on-quarter from R921 603/kg, mainly owing to the increase in cash operating costs, and despite a decrease in sustaining capital expenditure (capex).
All-in costs per kilogramme were R1 097 718/kg, decreasing quarter-on-quarter from R1 150 641/kg, mainly owing to lower growth capex in comparison with the previous quarter.
Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation decreased by 18% from the previous quarter to R365.8-million, primarily owing to an increase in cash operating costs.
Cash and cash equivalents decreased by R973.1-million to R1 498.3-million as at September 30, after paying the final cash dividend of R559.4-million for the year ended June 30.
Capex of R275.7-million and prepayments towards the development of a solar project of R321.3-million were also incurred in the first quarter of the financial year ending June 30, DRDGOLD, headed by CEO Niël Pretorius, stated in a media release to Mining Weekly.
DRDGOLD is South Africa’s oldest continuously listed mining company still in operation, having been established in 1895, and Pretorius is a director of the World Gold Council, which is chaired by Neal Froneman, the CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater, which owns 50.1% of DRDGOLD.
Between 25-million and 30-million tonnes of material are moved a year as part of a permanent solution for scarred land, which reverses the environmental legacy of mining.
Capex includes R325-million being spent on piping and pumping infrastructure at Ergo.
At Far West Rand Gold, R162-million is being spent on the Driefontein 3 reclamation and pump station and R67-million on land for the construction of tailings storage facility infrastructure.