Pan African Resources held a sod-turning ceremony for the R1.7 billion Elikhulu Tailings Re-treatment Project on Friday, 8 September.
This marked the official start of the construction of the plant that is expected to produce an average of 50 000 ounces of gold per year for the next 13 years.
Mr Cobus Loots, Pan African African Resources CEO, said: “Elikhulu’s capital expenditure of approximately R1.7 billion is a substantial investment in the South African mining industry and is expected to contribute materially to economic development and employment in the Mpumalanga province.
“Elikhulu is scheduled to produce the first gold in the final quarter of the 2018 calendar year and deliver an average of 50 000 ounces per annum for the next 13 years, at an all-in sustaining cost of less than US$5050/ounce.”
The Elikhulu project entails establishing facilities and infrastructure at Evander Gold Mining (Pty) Ltd, owned and operated by Pan African Resources, to retreat historic gold plant tailings at a rate of one million tonnes per month.
The definitive feasibility study on the project was undertaken by DRA Projects SA (Pty) LTD, which has been appointed as the engineering, processing and construction contractors to the project.
Three existing tailings storage facilities will be reclaimed in the following order: Kinross, Leslie and Winkelhaak.
The facilities will after processing be consolidated into a single enlarged Kinross facility, thus reducing Evander Mine’s environmental footprint and associated environmental impact.
The project will create more than 700 jobs during construction and approximately 250 direct permanent jobs once the plant is in production.
The combined mineral reserve contains an estimated 1.7 million ounces of which an estimated of 688 000 ounces will be recovered over the life of the project.
This estimate excludes the inferred resource of 244 398 ounces of gold contained in the soil beneath the existing tailing dumps which could potentially increase the project life.
The mineral reserve estimate assumes a non-selective mining method whereby the whole of the mineral deposit is mined in a predetermined sequence.
The mining method allows for complete extraction of the targeted mineral deposit.
Hydraulic mining has been selected as the mining method as it is a proven technology, cost effective and technically and operationally well understood.
Mr Eric Kholwane, MEC of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism, was pleased that the province is doing well economically and that this project will create jobs.
“We all know that 70 per cent of the province’s population consists of the youth and we still face a challenge of unemployment among especially women and the youth.
“The government and the private sector must unite and have dialogues on how this problems can be addressed.
“I have noted that it is not that there are always no job opportunities, but the biggest problem is that most people do not have the necessary skills to get the jobs.
“I hope this mine contributes to skills development.”
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