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Dual-listed DRDGold subsidiary Ergo Mining has begun reclamation – at a R3.8-million set-up cost – of the 2.7-million-tonne 4L25 mine dump.

The reclamation of this dump was integral to sustaining production at Ergo and would free up a considerable land patch, DRDGold said in a statement on August 5.

The dump is within the 4A8 reclamation area, less than 5 km from Johannesburg’s central business district, near Ergo’s City Deep milling and pumping plant.

With an average grade of 0.308 g/t, the 4L25 dump is estimated to contain about 850 kg of gold.

During the reclamation, 4L25 slimes will be recovered at a rate of up to 300 000 t a month over a period of 10 to 12 months, with supplemental tonnage coming from the 4L2 dump, reclamation of which is ramping down.

This will sustain City Deep’s production levels for a further 12 months until the larger 4L3 and 4L4 reclamation sites begin.

The 4L25 slimes will be reclaimed by a remote-controlled, high-pressure water gun positioned on top of the dump, and will be combined with 4L2 slimes, and then pumped via a 40 km pipeline to Ergo’s metallurgical plant, in Brakpan, for gold recovery.

Besides sustaining City Deep’s production for longer, 4L25’s reclamation forms part of the extensive land rehabilitation programme DRDGold is executing under its “rolling back gold mining’s environmental legacy” banner.

The partially reclaimed dump will now be removed completely to liberate some 37 ha of land for rehabilitation and sustainable land use.

Further, remnant material from other clean-up sites will be reclaimed and trucked to the 4L25 site, and the newly installed pumping and piping infrastructure there will also relay this to the Brakpan plant for processing.

DRDGold is in discussion with the land owner iProp to ensure DRDGold’s redevelopment goal is achieved after its rehabilitation of the land is completed.