DRDGold spends $4m on Zim exploration

HARARE - Johannesburg Securities Exchange-listed miner, DRDGold says it has spent more than $4 million to date in its Zimbabwean exploration work.

The company operates a 50 percent joint venture with Chizim Investments in an early-stage gold exploration project on the country’s greenstone belt.

“We’re finding some gold. We won’t be spending a lot of capital on an underground mine in Zimbabwe” DRDGold chief executive Niël Pretorius said.

South Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer has 25 000 hectares of exploration land with a drilling and exploration target near Gweru while its analysing and compiling geochemical reports on the Leny, Ascot and John Bull prospects near Norton.

The company early this year said diamond drilling at Leny had been completed with an intersection of 7,7 grams per tonne over 60 cm being followed up.

The miner said a geochemical survey had shown interesting results and will need to be followed up with a further survey over a smaller grid and, possibly, drilling.

At Ascot, DRDGold’s geophysical and geochemical surveys are being undertaken while at John Bull, trenching revealed a high of 24,5 grammes per tonne with strike lengths of more than 600 metres.

Three of six drill holes were completed, the third of which intersected two promising areas, the 50cm and the other five metres thick.

The miner however, said at this stage, it had not been asked to pay ground rentals adding the potential exposure to higher lease prices was being looked into.

In its quarterly report ,DRDGOLD posted a 51 percent improvement in operating profit  to R173,7 million and produced 35 815 ounces of gold on the back of higher yield in the September quarter, an 11 percent increase quarter-on-quarter.

The company with a market value of R2,25 billion said it had managed to contain its cash operating cost in the period under review.

Going forward, the listed miner said it would focus on business innovation rather than volume growth.
“We are looking for technology to match our recovery goals. Our focus for now is that what we’ve got, we’re going to do properly.

Our business is no longer exposed to typical underground mining, but we have a different risk of making sure we maintain the volumes and recoveries,” Pretorius said.

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