• Harmony Gold and White Rivers seal joint venture
• Heaven-Sent agrees to buy Village Main Reef
SOUTH African investors will have a new gold company to consider by the end of the year when White Rivers Exploration brings a host of gold, coal and gas projects to the market.
White Rivers, an Australian firm majority-owned and fully funded by Mark Creasy, has tied up a large number of gold tenements in SA’s Witwatersrand gold basin, the world’s single richest source of gold. Mr Creasy is a wealthy prospector and mining investor based in Australia.
White Rivers executive chairman Neil Warburton said on the sidelines of the Mining Indaba on Wednesday that the company would secure a lead manager around May this year to steer it towards a primary listing in either London or Hong Kong with a secondary listing on the JSE.
The listing will coincide with the release of a code-compliant resource statement on the Beisa joint venture project White Rivers has agreed with Harmony Gold at its Target mines in the Free State. The Beisa joint venture is a block of ground lapping across Target 2 shaft’s western boundary and the eastern boundary of White Rivers’ exploration tenement.
White Rivers is funding the exploration work and geological modelling that Mr Warburton said should show a resource of between 6-million and 10-million ounces of gold as well as uranium. He said the resources statement should be released in September, with the listing to follow in October or November.
White Resources owns 65% of the joint venture and Harmony the balance. The Australian firm has a bigger stake on account of it providing all the funding and interpretation of historical drilling data to compile a geological model of how the package of 29 reefs looks underground.
A prefeasibility study into the project should be completed by June next year and a bankable study a year later. If all goes to plan and the project is economically viable, then Harmony will vend its infrastructure at Target 2 into the venture as well as processing plants to gain 51% of the project and managerial control. White Rivers will own the balance.
White Rivers’ strategy in unlocking more than 32 prospecting opportunities is to piggyback on existing mining infrastructure. It has no appetite to sink its own capital-hungry and time-consuming shafts and developing an underground mine, a process that normally takes about a decade and could cost billions of rand.
Mr Warburton argued there could be additional ounces unlocked in the Target 2 area immediately next to the joint venture, which White Rivers’ modelling of the ore bodies could reveal. The mine, which is at least 50 years old, is extracting reef far to the north and White Rivers’ geologists suspect there are untapped ounces left behind.
If these ounces are proved, it remains to be decided how they will benefit White Rivers.
Harmony has recently closed its Target 3 shaft to the south of the joint venture. If White Rivers is correct in its assumptions and projections, this would be a relatively cheap and easy way for Harmony to extend the life of its Target 2 mine at no risk to itself.
Mr Warburton said White Rivers had a second, larger tenement to the north next to Village Main Reef’s Tau Lekoa mine.
The Australian company planned to speak to the mine’s new Chinese owners, Heaven-Sent, once they bought Village to see if the joint venture model could be replicated there.
Article courtesy of BDLive.