Search this website

The West Rand Tailings Retreatment Project (WRTRP) is a large-scale, long-life surface tailings retreatment opportunity with economic viability secured by the acquisition of the Cooke assets in 2014.

The combined WRTRP reserves amount to 677.3Mt of the historic Driefontein, Kloof and Cooke tailings storage facilities (TSFs), containing estimated gold and uranium mineral reserves of 6.2Moz and 97.2Mlb respectively.

The definitive feasibility study for this project as well as the front-end engineering design were completed during the fourth quarter of 2016, rendering the WRTRP construction-ready.

Key to the successful execution of this project is the permitting and construction of a high-volume capacity network of pipelines connecting reclamation stations, thickeners and processing plants for economical extraction of gold and uranium from the historic TSFs. In addition, the project must permit and construct a single large regional TSF covering 1,350ha in accordance with modern, sustainable deposition practices.

Permitting for the WRTRP is well advanced with the regulators due to award permits during the second quarter of 2017.

The scope of the initial ‘Get into Business’ strategy included reclamation of four key anchor resources accounting for 210Mt, ~2.3Moz Au and ~54Mlb U3O8. The gold-rich Driefontein 3 and 5 TSFs and the Cooke 4 South tailings dams will be reclaimed sequentially at a rate of 1Mtpm concurrently with the uranium-rich Cooke tailings dam at a rate of 400,000tpm. The resultant tailings will be deposited onto the new regional TSF.

Steady-state annual production of ~100,000oz of gold and 900,000lb of uranium is planned during the first phase, allowing for the recovery of ~2.7Moz of saleable gold and ~31.1Mlb of saleable uranium over the first 40 years of the project.

The project team will continue to drive and close out the required regulatory approvals and pilot plant implementation as we advance potential funding solutions.

A pilot plant is currently being constructed and a commissioning date of June 2017 has been proposed. The pilot plant will be established to optimise gold and uranium recoveries ahead of the large-scale WRTRP implementation and substantially reduce any process-related uncertainty.

Execution of the WRTRP will therefore not take place until further notice.

For more information, see: