Private South African mineral explorer and developer White Rivers Exploration Pty Ltd (WRE) has entered into an Exploration Joint Venture (EJV) South Africa’s third largest gold miner, Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited (Harmony), to explore and develop potential gold resources at WRE’s Beisa Project and abutting exploration areas within Harmony’s adjacent producing Target Mine in South Africa.
WRE Executive Chairman Neil Warburton said the EJV was a major development for the company.
“This partnership with Harmony is a significant step forward on our path to commercialising through to production our large South African prospective gold projects. If the future exploration programme proves up significant gold resources as expected, then access to Harmony’s neighbouring infrastructure will enable the mining and production of the EJV resources to be fast-tracked. Therefore limited capital funding will be required by the EJV partners.
“This EJV will position White Rivers to a substantial potential mining operation and places the company’s future firmly within its own hands through managing the exploration programme. We will be looking at a number of funding options as the venture progresses including potential listings on the Johannesburg and London stock exchanges,” Mr Warburton said.
Terms of the Agreement
Under the terms of the Agreement, WRE and Harmony will have an initial and fixed 65% and 35% interest respectively in the EJV, with WRE funding and managing exploration activities to Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) level.
Both parties will subsequently contribute to the completion of any Bankable Feasibility Study (BFS) based on their initial percentage interests. Once a positive BFS is completed, the EJV will be transferred into a Mining Joint Venture (MJV).
If the most viable mining option is to use Harmony’s Infrastructure then Harmony and WRE’s interest in the MJV will be initially set at 51% and 49% respectively. Harmony agrees to place its neighbouring Target Mine Complex infrastructure at the disposal of the MJV if it
is the most commercially viable option and it does not materially negatively impact the current Target Mine operations.
If the BFS indicates that the most viable option to proceed to mining is not to use Harmony’s Infrastructure then the MJV equity will be set at WRE 65% and Harmony 35%.
Once a decision to mine is approved, Harmony will manage mining operations on the MJV area(s) and each party will contribute on a proportionate equity basis.
The EJV assets will include the prospecting and portion of mining rights for the relevant Beisa and Target Mine areas as well as historic and future exploration information around the EJV properties. To assist with exploration activities, the EJV will make use of Harmony’s above-ground and underground infrastructure where possible.
Located next to Harmony’s Target Gold Mine in the Witwatersrand Basin within the Free State the area contains multiple gold reef targets that have been intersected by previous drilling.
The neighbouring Target Mine lies on strike of Beisa and contains one operating mine and two additional shafts (Target 2 &3). Ore is processed at the Target plant adjacent to the Target 1 shaft. Target 2 is in close proximity to Beisa and is currently only used for ventilation and as a secondary escape. At Target 1 operations, both mechanised and conventional mining occurs on the Basal, Elsburg and Dreyerskraal Reefs, with mining operations extending to a depth of some 2,350 metres. The Target Mine contains total gold resources of 11.2 million ounces (Moz) of and during FY13 produced 5,593kg of gold.