DRDGOLD comprises two subsidiaries: Ergo located some 50km east of Johannesburg in Brakpan; and Far West Gold Recoveries (FWGR) near Carletonville, west of Johannesburg.
The Ergo and the Knights plant in Germiston, with a combined capacity of 1.8mtpm, comprise arguably the world’s largest gold surface tailings retreatment facility. Both plants deposit on to the Brakpan/Withok tailings storage facility with a capacity of 2.0Mtpm. Material processed by Ergo is sourced from primary surface sources namely, sand and slime. FWGR comprises Driefontein plant 2, with a capacity of 600 000tpm and the Driefontein 4 tailings storage facility with a capacity of 500 000tpm.
Ours is an on-surface, technology driven, mechanised process. The low grade of our resource demands economies of scale achievable only through mechanised mining and plant extraction efficiencies that require accurate analysis. We reclaim mine tailings mainly by way of high pressure hydromechanical mining. Reclaimed gold bearing materials are transported over tens of kilometres through a network of pipelines to our metallurgical plants and process water returned by way of a closed circuit to the reclamation sites. After processing, the ensuing residue tail is disposed of on two distinct tailings storage facilities that are managed to a set of standards and parameters that ensure their safety and stability and that contain their impact on the environment. A unique characteristic of our operations and part of our strategy is that we perform rehabilitation concurrently, the goal being to only have limited rehabilitation left once a site has been depleted of gold bearing material. All sites are mined until all mine waste is removed.