The ASX-lister recently completed an infill drilling program, aiming to upgrade part of the indicated and inferred gold resource, over Witwatersrand’s Kimberley East Project and the Qala Shallows region.
West Wit’s upgrade in gold ounces has positively impacted the project’s measured, JORC-compliant estimate, which now stands at 7.33 million tonnes of resource at an increased 4.5 g/t grade for 1.06 million gold ounces at a 2 g/t cut-off.
The increase means the Witwatersrand gold play now hosts a global MRE totalling 32.78 million tonnes of resource at 4.24 g/t for 4.47 million gold ounces at the same cut-off grade.
Of this, 65% of the resource, or 2.9 million gold ounces at 4.13 g/t, falls into the measured or indicated category.
Overall, West Wits considers the MRE update a critical step towards establishing the project’s maiden ore reserve, which is expected after an independent definitive feasibility study is completed.
Infill exploration advances mine plan
West Wits managing director Jac van Heerden said: “The successful completion of the infill exploration program has significantly advanced the company’s mine plan on the Qala Shallows area of the project where the first mining is to be undertaken.
“A healthy 149,000 ounces were added to the measured mineral resource category and a pleasing uplift in grade was also seen.
“The updated MRE will underpin West Wits’ capacity to declare a maiden ore reserve for the Qala Shallows upon completion of the DFS which is scheduled for August 2021.
“The team have been busy advancing mine development planning in parallel to the mining right application process.”
The infill drilling campaign
To increase the MRE, West Wits embarked on an infill drilling campaign at the Kimberley East project and the Qala Shallows late last year.
The program covered the upper 300 metres of the Qala Shallows area, which involved around 2,500 metres of diamond core and percussion drilling.
Drilling targeted the Kimberley reef bands, aiming to upgrade the project’s inferred resources to higher confidence indicated and measured categories.
Promisingly, the program’s K9B assays are the key driver in the global MRE’s grade increase to 4.24 g/t gold.
This is highlighted by the infill drilling campaign’s best result, with hole RLKDD-44 intersecting 1.68 metres at 5.81 g/t gold from 123 metres, including 0.98 metres 9.07 g/t.
A lucrative Witswatersrand gold play
West Wit’s pioneer gold play is situated within South Africa’s Central Rand Goldfield. The company’s Witswaterand Basin Project forms part of a largely underground geological formation that surfaces in the Witwatersrand — a major, globally renowned gold region.
This region hosts the world's largest known gold reserves and has produced over 1.5 billion ounces, which represents about 22% of all the gold accounted for above the surface.
Ultimately, West Wits hopes to produce 60,000 ounces of gold per annum from Witswatersrand over the project’s 15-year mine life.