An updated mineral resource estimate at gold miner Pan African Resources’ Barberton mine Royal Sheba project has revealed a 150% increase in mineral resources to 899 000 oz, the Johannesburg- and London-listed company reported on Thursday.
The company is continuing with an exploration drilling programme at Royal Sheba, the results of which Pan African CEO Cobus Loots said on Thursday were exceeding the company’s expectations.
“Significantly, the drilling programme has indicated the orebody extends to surface, with the potential to establish a new openpit mining operation in the short term, transitioning to an underground mining operation only after a number of years.”
The near surface resource of Royal Sheba is estimated at 347 000 oz, while the underground resource is delineated at 552 000 oz.
The surface drilling programme, comprising 1 645 m of drilling in phase 1 and 2, has confirmed robust mineralisation extending from the surface along an 850 m strike and 150 m down dip of the Royal Sheba deposit.
The company states that the mineralisation ranges in width from 5 m to 25 m with in-situ gold grades ranging between 0.5 g/t to 174 g/t and averaging 3.27 g/t.
Further, Phase 3 of the drilling at the Royal Sheba deposit has begun testing a 600 m strike length, which is within the Sheba mine’s mining right.
Pan African sees Royal Sheba’s opencast orebody as a potential way to increase production from the company’s flagship Barberton operations at a very competitive cost, aligned with its strategic positioning as a low cost gold producer.
Loots said that the results of a definitive feasibility study would be published in February, with the view of starting project development in the near term.
Pan African has also embarked on an extended exploration programme within Barberton mine’s mining right at both the Sheba and New Consort mines around historic workings and for potential new satellite deposits.