JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – South Africa’s State-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has issued a written expression of interest and indicative funding terms in connection with the financing of Qala Shallows, which form part of the Witwatersrand Basin Project of West Wits Mining.
A proposed IDC debt facility of R300-million ($15.9-million) for development capital for the project aligns with customary conditions for loan facilities and showcases the IDC's confidence in the Qala Shallows gold project, Australian Stock Exchange-listed West Wits stated in a July 11 media release.
“This is a testament to the immense potential and confidence in our vision for the Witwatersrand Basin Project,” West Wits chairperson Michael Quinert stated in a release to Mining Weekly.
The Witwatersrand Basin Project is described as a 4.28-million-ounce gold project at 4.58 g/t in a largely underground geological formation.
“We can now proceed to expedite the due diligence process, secure final approval, and embark on a transformative journey. This milestone validates our unwavering commitment to growth, innovation, and sustainable success," Quinert added.
Funding on the terms indicated by the IDC would provide the foundation for the financing of the entire development plan as outlined in the definitive feasibility study (DFS).
Initial funds would be for mobilising the mining contractor and acquiring essential equipment to initiate operations, enabling the West Wits team to establish a 30 000 t ore stockpile and facilitating delivery of 15 000 t a month to Sibanye-Stillwater’s plant.
Within a timeline of six to eight months from commencement of production, the project will generate revenues from gold production, the West Wits release stated.
A mine build-up towards supporting steady-state production of 5 000 oz of gold a month is targeted.
Qala Shallows, the first stage of the Witwatersrand Basin Project, is focused on the development of the Kimberley Reef. This is one of three reef packages that form part of West Wits’ mining right area in the Witwatersrand basin, the other two being Bird reef and Main reef.
The combination of the existing infrastructure and accessible shallow mineral resources allows access for production on a fast-tracked timeframe relative to most global opportunities for underground gold mining.
West Wits commenced early works at Qala Shallows in September 2021. Information gathered on underground inspections has advanced knowledge of the orebody and motivated a review and update of the DFS in 2022 and the further update due for release soon. The early works successfully delivered surface infrastructure and refurbishment of historical underground workings.
In October 2022, West Wits secured a toll treatment agreement with Sibanye-Stillwater’s subsidiary. A state of operational readiness continues to be maintained at the Qala Shallows project, which will enable mining operations to recommence once project finance is secured.
Bara Consulting is reportedly conducting a review and update of the Qala Shallows DFS.