WHITE Rivers Exploration, which is majority-owned by an Australian entrepreneur, will bring an 11.5-million ounce gold project it shares with Harmony Gold to the London and Johannesburg bourses in 2017.
White Rivers owns a number of gold and energy prospects in SA. It is the 65% owner of the prospect contiguous to Harmony’s Target mining operations in the Free State. The company is largely funded by Mark Creasy, a prospector and mining investor based in Australia.
The partners had defined a resource of 11.5-million ounces at a grade of 8.89g a tonne, which will deliver more than 6.7-million ounces over a 30-year life, White Rivers said on Thursday.
The prospect “represents one of the world’s largest unmined, high-grade gold resources”, the company said, adding that it planned to list in London and Johannesburg in 2017, without being specific.
The partners had agreed to advance the prospect into a prefeasibility study. “The [joint venture] project’s close proximity to Harmony Gold’s Target Mine provides direct access to existing infrastructure, thereby limiting capital funding required and facilitating a fast-track development resulting in a pay-back of under four years,” it said.
Harmony was more circumspect in its comments on the project, which did not form part of its plans to grow production to 1.5-million ounces in three years, from 1-million ounces it produced in its 2016 financial year. “It is still early days for the Harmony-White Rivers joint venture project. We will keep our shareholders informed about numbers once all studies have been completed,” Harmony CEO Peter Steenkamp said.
Harmony is gathering its financial firepower to fund the first phase of the Golpu copper and gold project it shares in Papua New Guinea with Australia’s Newcrest Mining, as well as one or more acquisitions of producing gold mines in Africa to achieve its new production target.
Target’s 3 Shaft would need to be rehabilitated to access the joint venture’s ground, as the 2 Shaft would need to be re-equipped to hoist all production tonnes a decade into the project, the scoping study said, without giving any financial data on the capital costs involved to bring the resource to account.