The company has gold-producer status through its 66.6% owned Witwatersrand Basin Project (WBP) in South Africa.
Historically, the WBP produced 41 million ounces at 5 g/t and West Wits is in the process of ramping up gold mining operations.
The exploration-stage, wholly-owned Mt Cecelia and Tambina projects in the Pilbara region have WBP-style gold mineralisation.
Prolific gold mining address
The WBP comprises two historic mining centres known as the Durban Roodepoort Deep and the Rand leases.
The leases are on the northern edge of the Witwatersrand Basin in the Central Rand Goldfield immediately southwest of Johannesburg.
Mining has been taking place within these areas since the discovery of the goldfields in 1886.
During that time up to seven different gold-bearing conglomerate horizons have been mined from surface down to a depth of 3,100 metres.
Historical resource was 12.82 million ounces
The previous owners of the WBP leases had a historical mineral resource of 87.9 million tonnes grading 4.6 g/t for 12.82 million tonnes of gold.
This resource was defined with the JORC Code 1997 and is not compliant with the JORC Code 2012.
However, this resource has been used to derive a JORC 2012 compliant resource which stands at 29.6 million tonnes grading 3.4 g/t gold for 3.26 million ounces.
This resource only includes ounces to a 1,500-metre depth from surface and does not include deep underground material.
Gold production at Kimberley Central Open Pit
Open pit mining commenced at the Kimberley Central open pit in June 2017.
During the month of December 2017, 1,020 ounces of gold were produced at a cash cost of about US$800 per ounce.
After the split with joint venture partner this resulted in net cash proceeds of $400,000.
At January 2018, the current resource at the Kimberley Central open pit was sufficient to sustain production for another 10-12 months.
That said, 17 targets have been identified for both open-pit and underground development.
Building towards 100,000 ounces per annum
During April 2018, West Wits submitted two mining permit applications to enable a substantial increase in gold production.
The company expects that withstanding delays, this will facilitate a material increase in ore production within the next 4 to 6 months.
However, the main focus remains achieving acceptance of the lodged mining rights application over the entire tenement area.
Securing full mining rights is critical for achieving full production by 2021-22, as several open pit and underground operations can be run concurrently.
The next production opportunities at WBP are the Main and South Central Open Pit, and the Main and South East Open Pit.
Pilbara conglomerate-hosted gold rush
During 2017, Australia experienced a 21st-century gold rush after multiple conglomerate-hosted gold discoveries were made in the Pilbara region.
In October 2017, West Wits acquired the Mt Cecelia project, known to host Hardy Formation rock groups, part of the Lower Fortescue Group.
Two of the high profile Novo Resources’ (TSX-V:NVO) key projects are both the Lower Fortescue Group, which is the same system within Mt Cecelia’s project area.
Mt Cecelia’s geology is consistent with the Witwatersrand-style conglomerate gold mineralisation found in South Africa.
This put the company in a unique position to be able to leverage its geology team’s hands-on experience in the Witwatersrand Basin to expedite understanding the Mt Cecelia project area.
Tambina Project already has three granted mining leases
In January 2018, West Wits completed the acquisition of its second Pilbara project, Tambina.
The project’s key point of difference is the project’s three granted mining leases, which fast-tracks the commencement of any identified opportunity for mining operations materially faster than many peers.
The acquisition included a substantial exploration database including drilling, geophysics and sampling data.
In March 2018, West Wits commenced preparations for their inaugural field trip to confirm the location of conglomerate hosted gold targets.
The intention is to re-commence small-scale mining operations as soon as feasible.