Witwatersrand Consolidated Gold Resources Limited
('Wits Gold' or the 'Company')
Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa
(Registration Number 2002/031365/06)
JSE Share Code: WGR ISIN: ZAE000079703
TSX Share Code: WGR CUSIP Number: S98297104
WITS GOLD: MINING RIGHT APPLICATION ACCEPTED FOR FREE STATE PROJECTS
JOHANNESBURG, Feb. 22, 2012 /CNW/ - Witwatersrand Consolidated Gold Resources or "Wits Gold" (JSE&TSX: WGR; ADR: WIWTY) is pleased to announce that the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has accepted the Company's application for a Mining Right for gold, silver and uranium over its combined Prospecting Rights in the southern Free State goldfield. The total area measures 14 965 hectares (149.65km2) and includes the De Bron-Merriespruit (DBM), Bloemhoek, Robijn and Hakkies Project areas. The granting of the Mining Right is expected over the next 12 months once the Company complies with requirements in terms of the Minerals Act, such as obligations in terms of feasibility studies, environmental compliance as well as Social and Labour Plan commitments.
The Company's DBM Project area, where mining will start at 480 metres below surface, will be the focal point for the first phase of mining activity. A pre-feasibility study is currently being fast-tracked at the DBM Project for completion by May 2012, which will also provide a more detailed timeline for the new mine's development.
On 10 January 2012 Wits Gold reported a revised Indicated gold and uranium Mineral Resource* of 7.5Moz (41.8Mt at 5.5g/t Au) and 8.2Mlbs U3O8 (21.7Mt at 0.17kg/t U3O8) at the DBM Project, the bulk of which is situated at depths of between 480 and 1 000 metres below surface. This Mineral Resource includes a high-grade zone containing 3.6Moz gold at an average grade of 8.1g/t. This shallow mineralisation in multiple reefs at the DBM Project may also allow for safer and more efficient mechanised mining methods.
Commenting on the acceptance of the Mining Right application, Wits Gold CEO, Mr Philip Kotze said, "This application demonstrates Wits Gold commitment to growth and creating value for shareholders by taking our projects up the value chain. Our teams have done excellent work in compiling the Mining Right application in such a short time frame. Wits Gold has been making good progress in delivering into its new three-tiered strategy with the recent announcement of the Evander acquisition and now taking our flagship DBM Project to the next stage. This project has the potential to create a significant number of new job opportunities and enhance economic growth in the southern Free State and we are looking forward to working with the DMR to expedite the granting of the Mining Right for the benefit of all stakeholders".
At the end of January 2012, the Company delivered into the first leg of its new strategy when it announced the acquisition of Evander Gold Mines Limited (Evander) from Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited (Harmony), in a 50-50 JV with Pan African Resources. The transaction will become effective on 2 April 2012. In the quarter ended December 2011, Harmony reported that the Evander operations produced 27 039 ounces of gold at a cash operating cost of R214,379/kg (US$824/oz), and an operating profit of R183,7 million (US$22.7 million).
The Evander acquisition includes a pipeline of advanced development projects in the form of Poplar, Rolspruit and Evander South, as well as surface tailings resources. These Evander development projects, together with Wits Gold's own projects, will be advanced as part of the exploration leg of the Company's three-tier strategy in order to move these projects up the value curve.
*The updated Mineral Resource estimates for the DBM Project were calculated using an accumulation cut-off of 300cm.g/t Au. These numbers are reported in accordance with the Canadian Institute of Mining Definition Standards and the SAMREC Code. Exploration activities by Wits Gold have been conducted under the supervision of Mr Dirk Muntingh, the Company's Qualified Person and Exploration Manager. Mr Muntingh (M.Sc Geology) is a registered Pr.Sci.Nat with SACNASP and has 20 years of experience in gold exploration. The updated Mineral Resource Estimate was prepared by George Gilchrist, who is a full time employee of Snowden and independent of Wits Gold. Mr Gilchrist is a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. Mr Gilchrist (B.Sc Geology) is a registered Professional Natural Scientist ("Pr.Sci.Nat.") with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professionals ("SACNASP") and has more than 11 years of experience in gold exploration and Mineral Resource estimation. Mr Gilchrist verified the news release announcing the updated Mineral Resource Estimate in the Company's SENS announcement dated 10 January 2012.
Information concerning the geology, mineral occurrences, nature of mineralisation, rock types, quality assurance and quality control measures applied, geological controls, sampling data, analytical or testing procedures and the names of analytical laboratories used are communicated in Wits Gold's filed NI 43-101 Independent Technical Report dated April 6, 2011, entitled "Witwatersrand Consolidated Gold Resources Limited: Mineral Properties in the DBM Project, South Africa", prepared by George Gilchrist of Snowden Mining Industry Consultants which can be viewed at www.sedar.com.
About the Company
Wits Gold holds 14 new order Prospecting Rights over 1 195km2 in the southern Free State, Potchefstroom and Klerksdorp goldfields. The Company is currently focused on fast-tracking two advanced projects, DBM and Bloemhoek, located next to each other in the southern Free State goldfield and adjacent to the Beatrix mine operated by Gold Fields, and the Joel mine operated by Harmony.
On 31 January 2012, the Company jointly announced, with Pan African Resources, the acquisition of the Evander Gold Mine from Harmony. Evander is located in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa and is situated in a sub-basin of the main Wits Basin. In the 3 months ended December 2011 Harmony, in their "Operating and financial results for the second quarter FY12 and six months ended 31 December 2011" published on 6 February 2012, reported to shareholders that the Evander operations produced 27,039 ounces of gold at a cash operating cost of $824/oz.
Forward Looking Information
Certain statements in this news release may constitute forward-looking information within the meaning of securities laws. In some cases, forward looking information can be identified by use of terms such as "may", "will", "should", "expect", "believe", "plan", "scheduled", "intend", "estimate", "forecast", "predict", "potential", "continue", "anticipate" or other similar expressions concerning matters that are not historical facts. Forward-looking information may relate to management's future outlook and anticipated events or results, and may include statements or information regarding the future plans or prospects of the Company. Without limitation, statements about the timing of a pre-feasibility study, the anticipated period in which the grant of a mining right may be expected, and the effective date of the Evander transaction are forward-looking information.
Forward looking information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from the future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward looking information. Such risks, uncertainties and other important factors include among others: economic, business and political conditions in South Africa; decreases in the market price of gold; hazards associated with underground and surface gold mining; the ability to attract and retain qualified personnel; labour disruptions; changes in laws and government regulations, particularly environmental regulations and mineral rights legislation including risks relating to the acquisition of the necessary licences and permits; changes in exchange rates; currency devaluations and inflation and other macro-economic factors; risk of changes in capital and operating costs, financing, capitalisation and liquidity risks, including the risk that the financing required to fund all currently planned exploration and related activities may not be available on satisfactory terms, or at all; the ability to maximise the value of any economic resources. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this news release.
You should not place undue importance on forward-looking information and should not rely upon this information as of any other date. The Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly or release any revisions to these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this document or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events except where required by applicable laws.
For further information:
Chief Executive Officer
Tel: +27 11 832 1749
Executive: Investor Relations
Tel: +27 11 832 1749
22 February 2012