DRDGOLD Limited has announced that, just four months into construction of Phase 1 of its Far West Gold Recoveries project, commissioning is set to start on Thursday (6 December) with the pumping of reclaimed tailings into the carbon-in-leach (CIL) circuit.

CEO Niël Pretorius says the project is on track to achieve full production of 500 000tpm from Phase 1 in the first quarter of 2019.

As part of early-stage commissioning, face has been established at the Driefontein 5 tailings dam reclamation site, from which pumping of reclaimed tailings through a new 2km pipeline to the Driefontein 2 plant is set to begin. A parallel pipeline to return water from the plant to the reclamation site has been completed.

Work to upgrade the plant’s retreatment capacity is well advanced, with carbon loading –also part of the overall commissioning process – set to begin immediately.

An 8km pipeline to transport retreated tailings from the plant for cyclone deposition on the Driefontein 4 tailings dam and a parallel return water pipeline from the deposition site to the plant have also been completed.

DRDGOLD concluded its acquisition of Far West Gold Recoveries, previously the West Rand Tailings Retreatment Project, from Sibanye-Stillwater at the end of July 2018.