A giant goldfield – The Eastern Transvaal Gold Fields
A ‘NEW’ Goldfield in South Africa with resources from the surface is awakening.
Theta Gold Mines Limited controls and dominates the Eastern Transvaal Gold Fields, where South Africa’s gold mining industry began almost 130 years ago. And we’re bringing this large forgotten historical shallow goldfield back to life.
The Transvaal Gold System sits geological on the eastern side of Bushveld Complex the largest igneous intrusion on earth (Figure 1), where 40-50% of the world’s gold production came out of the globally-known Witwatersrand Goldfield.
We have already generated and delivered one of the largest gold resources on the ASX not controlled by major mining houses. The Theta team is active onsite to deliver our Organic Growth Strategy starting with three mines being brought on stream in near future and expanding to six mines over 5 years to targeting a production profile of 160,000 oz Au a year.
Figure 1. TGME Gold Project Local and Regional Geology
The gold plant is near the towns of Pilgrim’s Rest and Sabie in Mpumalanga Province, 370km northeast of Johannesburg. The tenements are held by Transvaal Gold Mining Estate Ltd (TGME), South Africa’s first incorporated gold mining company (1895). The regional project is known as the TGME Underground Project in honour of its historical roots and its importance to the South African gold Industry. The Company plans to bring 6 mines back into production starting with TGME Underground Project (Initial first 3 Mines).
The TGME Project has more than 43 historical mines identified across the vast prospective goldfield of 620 square km (or 62,000 hectares). In the last three years, the JORC(2012) Resources has double through systematic exploration. The Resource now stands at 45.48Mt @ 4.17 g/t Au for 6.1 Moz (See JORC tables).
Theta Gold Mines owns 74% of the TGME Project company, the balance of shareholding is held by Black Economic Empowerment (“BEE”) entities as part of the country’s ESG initiatives. The BEE shareholding in TGME and Sabie Mines is comprised of a combination of local community trusts, an employee trust and a strategic entrepreneurial partner.
“ When you look around the world, it’s rare – in size and nature – to have both the vertical and horizontal reefs systems within one goldfield. The geology is amazing where there are Structural Traps as well as Chemical Traps both causing deposition of Gold. The gold mineralising fluid coming from the famous Bushveld Complex – the worlds largest layered igneous intrusion. We’re yet to find a geologically similar gold deposit, globally.
Here, because of the geometry of the reefs, nearly every square inch of that ground has some exploration potential. We have an entire goldfield to tap into with ready-made targets, and most importantly, 6 Moz Au existing resources as a base.
The company has installed a new team of harden South African miners to develop the mines and deliver the project. Initial project economics looking good on Phase 1 and see a bright future for Theta.
TGME – Transvaal Gold Mining Estates
A number of insignificant gold deposits were discovered in the northern parts of South Africa between 1840 and 1870. The first gold rush in South Africa took place in 1873 when payable gold was discovered on the farm Geelhoutboom near the town of Sabie approximately 5 km from Pilgrims Rest. In September 1873 Pilgrims Rest was officially proclaimed as a goldfield.
The gold that the early diggers targeted was alluvial gold – mainly gold dust recovered by washing the gravel from the beds and banks of streams but nuggets were also found. The largest recorded nugget from the Pilgrims Rest area was the Breda Nugget, weighing in at 214 oz (more than 6 kg).
Early prospectors in the Sabie-Pilgrims Rest Goldfield successfully traced sub-crops of the different reef horizons along strike where they were not obscured by slumped strata, although mining continued from the 1880s until 1972.
The TGME Project portfolio has more than 43 historical mines across the large tenement area of 62,000 hectares. In addition to the 6.1 Moz Au in resources, the area has a number of underexplored old mines and shallow exploration targets containing gold-bearing ore leftover from almost a century of mining. Over 6.7Moz Au was recovered historically and we believe a lot more than that can be found in the tenements.
Historically, the region was so rich in resources, with gold reefs outcropping on the side hills and to this day the South African Gold Panning Championships are held on Theta ground holdings. Most of the underground mining were stopped during World War II, as men departed for foreign shores.
Over a century later, modern mining techniques and high-powered machinery for open-pit, combined with accurate laser surveying, resource modelling and modern processing technology will allow us to explore and develop these old prospects and mines.
History has provided Theta with a wealth of infrastructure, a permitted plant area, permitted tailings dam, roads, sheds, administration buildings, 10’s of kilometres of underground mine developments, water and electrical power to the plant site. Now we can leverage off this infrastructure to build a modern Multi-Mine low-CapEx mining operation.
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