Bullion producer DRDGold Limited on Monday announced that commissioning is set to start this week at its Far West gold recoveries project in Gauteng. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi/African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - Bullion producer DRDGold Limited on Monday announced that commissioning is set to start this week at its Far West gold recoveries project in Gauteng with the pumping of reclaimed tailings into the carbon-in-leach circuit, just four months into construction of the first phase. 

In July, DRDGold concluded its acquisition of Sibanye-Stillwater’s West Rand Tailings Retreatment Project, which will now be known as Far West Gold Recoveries, in a bid to increase its gold reserves by 90 percent. The project is set to be one of the largest tailings recovery operations in South Africa. 

Niël Pretorius, DRDGold chief executive, said the project was on track to achieve full production of 500,000 tonnes per month from Phase 1 in the first quarter of 2019.

As part of early-stage commissioning, Pretorius said face has been established at the Driefontein 5 tailings dam reclamation site, from which pumping of reclaimed tailings through a new 2km pipeline to the Driefontein 2 plant is set to begin. A parallel pipeline to return water from the plant to the reclamation site has also been completed.

Pretorius said work to upgrade the plant's retreatment capacity was well advanced, with carbon loading –also part of the overall commissioning process – set to begin immediately.

An eight-kilometre pipeline to transport retreated tailings from the plant for cyclone deposition on the Driefontein 4 tailings dam and a parallel return water pipeline from the deposition site to the plant have also been completed.

- African News Agency (ANA)