[Mining Weekly] - South Africa's DRDGOLD expects to announce the results of the first three holes drilled at its new Zimbabwe prospects before the end of 2010, CEO Niël Pretorius said on Monday.
TORONTO - South Africa’s DRDGOLD expects to announce the results of the first three holes drilled at its new Zimbabwe prospects before the end of 2010, CEO Niël Pretorius said on Monday.
Speaking in a presentation at the Denver Gold Forum, Pretorius said he was “pretty excited” about exploration in Zimbabwe.
DRDGOLD has a 50:50 joint venture with local partner Chizim Gold, and recently increased the exploration are to just over 500 ha.
Work to date is “still modest”, he said, but the firm has conducted induced polarisation surveys, and has now drilled the first three holes.
“We will be able to announce those results in about two or three months from now, by the end of this calendar year,” Pretorius said.
He commented that the deposits are shallow, almost “on-surface”.
“And it’s the sort of values that I think the explorers who first discovered the Witwatersrand gold deposits, the sort of grades that they initially encountered....it’s very nice, though, to encounter these grades on surface as opposed to 2,5 km underground.
“I’m pretty excited about Zimbabwe and I think the window of opportunity to acquire ounces there for these modest amounts that we are doing it now, that that window is probably going to be closing fairly rapidly,” Pretorius said.
DRDGOLD has an underground gold mine in South Africa, called Blyvooruitzicht, but is increasingly focused on its surface retreatment operations, which reprocess historic tailings to the south and east of Johannesburg.
The company announced earlier this month it will spend R300-million to expand the treatment capacity at its Ergo processing plant and to build a 50-km-long pipeline linking the other surface retreatment operations, Crown and City Deep, to Ergo.
DRDGOLD produced 241 194 oz of gold in the year ended June 30.
The company has its primary listing on the JSE, and a secondary listing on the Nasdaq.