The latest mineral resource update from South Africa gold hunter West Wits Mining (ASX: WWI) adds another 702,000 ounces to the Witwatersrand Basin project, bringing the total to 4.37 million ounces at an average grade of 3.88 grams per tonne gold.
The resource update covers the Kimberley East deposit within the broader project, which is located in the Central Rand goldfield of South Africa.
The Witwatersrand Basin is a largely underground geological formation which surfaces in the Witwatersrand.
It holds the world’s largest known gold reserves and has produced over 1.5 billion ounces (more than 40,000 tonnes), which represents about 22% of all the gold accounted for above the surface.
Not only has the new estimate increased the project’s global resource by more than 700,000oz, but the average grade has been lifted by 0.48g/t.
The JORC compliant mineral resource estimate for the K9A reef now stands at 1.05Moz at 5.3g/t gold.
Gives boost to final feasibility study
The company said the resource upgrade offers substantial improvements to the economic potential of the Witwatersrand Basin project as progress is made on the bankable feasibility study.
Commenting on the report, West Wits managing director Jac van Heerden said the upgrade to West Wits’ flagship project provides a “tremendous” boost to confidence in the mineralisation and mine modelling now under way.
“We are confident in the anticipated granting of the mining right and that we will be able to bring the Witwatersrand Basin project into production relatively quickly given our plan for toll treatment at nearby facilities and easy access to the underground workings,” he added.
The company’s development strategy is to produce 60,000oz per annum over a 15-plus year mine life.
The latest mineral resource results add several new areas to the K9A reef and provide additional information for the K9B reef.
West Wits increased resources over four years
West Wits has increased the project’s JORC compliant resource estimate since it reported a maiden 1.34Moz resource in January 2016.
DRD Gold, the previous owners of this mining area, declared a 12.8Moz JORC (1997) resource in 2000.
West Wits said its strategic exploration objective has been the conversion of DRD’s historical resource into a JORC (2012) compliant estimate with a focus on areas above 400m, or areas above 1,500m, which engineering studies have identified as accessible through the inclusion of a water pillar.
Meanwhile, in Western Australia, West Wits is exploring for gold and copper at the Mt Cecilia project in a district that supports several world-class projects such as the Woodie Woodie manganese mine and the Nifty copper and Telfer copper-silver mines.