Heerden has extensive experience across the mining lifecycle having fulfilled technical, operating and management roles at companies that include Aquarius Platinum Ltd and ERG S.p.A (BIT:ERG, FRA:ER9) Africa.
West Wits chairman Michael Quinert said: “The board is delighted to hire experienced mining executive, Jac Van Heerden, as West Wits MLI’s CEO as the company continues to grow its South African operation.
"The hiring coincides with management reaching agreement with key landowners at WBP, completing a critical phase of the application process and moving the company closer to full-scale development.
“Separately, monitoring of activity in the East Pilbara region the company has noted significant expansion of Rio Tinto (Limited)’s holdings which now neighbour over half of West Wits’ Mt Cecelia project application area.”
West Wits has reached agreement with key landowners on WBP’s mining licence application areas, including the City of Johannesburg.
Agreement with key landowners will trigger the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) Environmental Authorization (EA) stage for the two mining permit application areas.
Rescheduling of the mine plan has Pit 3 (above) operational until April 2019
West Wits is confident that the significant community stakeholder support and work to date will facilitate and accelerate respective EA processes and the potential completion of the granting process.
The DMR will now complete its assessment of West Wits’ final scoping report on the broader mining right application.
The company’s next step is to run the Environmental Impact Report phase which is currently progressing as planned with the potential granting process forecast to be completed in 2Q 2019.
Toll processing for October delivered a recovered grade of 2.114 g/t gold, a 46% increase on September’s quarterly result.
Ore processed for the month was 9,157 tonnes, lower than the target. However, production hit the target range as 1,680 tonnes ore at a head grade of 2.6g/t was stockpiled on the plant floor at month end.
The increase in recovered grade is promising as it significantly increases West Wits’ gold allocation and lowers processing costs per gold ounce.
WBP, a route to increased production
West Wits has planned multiple activities in the near term at WBP as the company continues to grow its production. These include:
Commissioning scoping and pre-feasibility studies of the first underground mine target (Kimberley East);
Extending open-pit operations, increasing toll processing requirements; and
Continuing to work with community groups to deliver positive social outcomes.
Mt Cecelia Project in the Pilbara region
The East Pilbara and Paterson Province in Western Australia has seen a significant increase in activity over the past 12 months which has largely been driven by Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX:RIO) increasing its’ tenement area from about 1,000 square kilometres to over 11,000 square kilometres in the region.
West Wits’ Mt Cecelia project application area is still in the granting process.
Mt Cecelia and neighbouring East Kimberley tenements
The company has recently entered the National Native Title Tribunal process to facilitate negotiations regarding the Alternative Heritage Agreements with Native Title Parties.
The process is expected to enable the project to progress, ensuring the agreement is suitable for an exploration program and benefits all parties.
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