The company said that the matters raised by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) were not major and were likely to be resolved within a short timeframe.
WWI received correspondence from the DMR on October 30 requesting clarification on specific points in relation to the Mine Works Program as well as consultation with certain interested and affected parties.
This correspondence stipulated a deadline of December 2, 2019, for the company’s response to the queries.
Formal response underway
Management immediately engaged relevant parties and it is expected a formal response will be provided to the DMR this week, more than two weeks before the deadline.
After review with specialists and consultants on the matters raised by the DMR, the company is confident the items can be adequately addressed.
West Wits’ chairman Michael Quinert said, “Whilst the company has been frustrated by delays to the mining right application process the board has been encouraged by the ongoing positive engagement and feedback from the DMR in respect to the company’s application.
“Advice received from leading specialists in South African mining law on the DMR’s recent correspondence provided a high degree of comfort that the application is still on track albeit outside the stipulated timeframe.”
Request to remove open pits
One matter worth noting was the DMR’s request for the company to remove two proposed open-pit areas from the Mine Works Program, Roodepoort Main Pit and Rugby Club Main Reef Pit.
Following the DMR’s visit to the proposed mining area in September, the DMR raised concerns about the proximity of communities and housing developments to the two open-pits.
WWI reviewed the DMR’s request and assessed the impact to not be material to the overall resource and project with the project’s value centred on the underground mine targets.
The company will remove the two open-pits from the Mine Works Program which will assist the DMR to progress West Wits’ mining right application.
WBP’s Mining Right application area with the two open-pit areas requested to be removed highlighted by the stars.
“Confident of positive outcome”
Quinert said, “The management team continues to prioritise activities to expedite the granting of the MR and is confident a positive outcome will be reached in the near-term.”
As the DMR’s stipulated 107-day review period to provide a recommendation on the company’s EIAR document to the Minister has expired, the company is in a position to press the DMR to progress the application.
WWI will continue to work with the DMR to facilitate the granting of the Mining Right in the near future.
Once the DMR has approved the EIAR, a further 30-day period is allowed for interested and affected parties to consider the matter before the mining right can be officially granted.