DRDGOLD, listed on the JSE and NYSE, has announced that its 38 % shareholder, Sibanye Gold Limited, trading as Sibanye-Stillwater, has exercised its option to acquire an additional 12 % interest in DRDGOLD.
Reclamation of tailings from the Driefontein 5 tailings facility by a remote operated high pressure water jet, ahead of retreatment at Far West Gold Recoveries’ DP2 plant to extract gold (photo: DRDGOLD).
DRDGOLD acquired the gold assets of Sibanye-Stillwater’s West Rand Tailings Retreatment Project – now known as Far West Gold Recoveries (FWGR) – in July 2018 in return for a 38,1 % stake in DRDGOLD. Sibanye-Stillwater had a 24-month option to acquire an additional 12 %.
DRDGOLD CEO Niël Pretorius commented: “Sibanye-Stillwater has been our largest shareholder for just over 17 months now and its support has been invaluable in the success of our implementation of the first phase of development of FWGR.
“This latest transaction marks the single largest investment that has ever been made by an individual shareholder in the capital of our company, and it bears testimony to a shared vision for the future of our enterprise.
“It will come in very handy in accelerating the further unlocking of value in DRDGOLD’s business and will go a long way to fund the early-stage development of FWGR Phase 2.”
Commenting on the exercise of the option, Neal Froneman, CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater, said: “By securing the majority holding in DRDGOLD, a leading surface mining and processing company, we continue to create value for all stakeholders in line with our vision. We are thrilled that the value of our initial shareholding has already increased by 147 % over 17 months.”
The FWGR acquisition increased DRDGOLD total mineral reserves at the time by approximately 82 %. Its Phase 1 development, costing R330,7 million, entailed the upgrading of the existing Driefontein 2 plant to retreat 500 000 tonnes per month (tpm) of material reclaimed from the Driefontein 5 tailings dam and of the Driefontein 4 tailings storage facility to cater for additional volumes.
Phase 1 reached commercial production on 1 April 2019 and planned throughput of 500 000 tpm during the first quarter of FY-2020, within budget and time parameters.
Phase 2 has begun with conceptual studies to evaluate options to treat the remaining reserves acquired from Sibanye-Stillwater. One option is to construct a new retreatment plant and tailings storage facility to exploit a larger, regional mineral resource, producing more gold over a longer period and rehabilitating a much larger footprint.