FreePay owns 25% of the Middelvlei Gold mine (surface and underground gold project) which is situated within the West Rand Goldfield some 35km west of Johannesburg. The project abuts the now closed Venterspost underground mine, which produced +13 million ounces over 40 years, to the south and to the east the Cooke 1 & 2 mines operated by Sibanye Gold.
Middelvlei lies within a unique geological window provided by NNE trending West Rand fault up-throwing the Middelvlei block. Here the Middelvlei Reef outcrops, the only exposed position within the Witwatersrand basin. The area was explored in the past by several the major mining houses but never developed largely due to the much higher-grade underground opportunities in the surrounding area..
Throughout the Witwatersrand basin there are numerous existing operations which have surplus milling/processing capacity. Middelvlei ore will processed via a “toll milling” arrangement with a nearby processor which precludes the need for the operation to support the development and operation of its own processing facility.
Surplus milling capability provides the further unique opportunity to develop new resource projects without the requirement of processing plant capital expenditure.Additionally, production can be established with shorter lead times with smaller projects than the industry norm and this will insure the production targets OroTree requires over the next 5 years.
The last full resource update of the Middelvlei mine was reported in November 2012 by MSA comprising a total of 1.70Moz Au Measured, Indicated and Inferred categories covering open cut and underground resources. OroTree is currently advancing an infill and step out diamond drilling program to build on the currently established resource base and optimise Phase 1 surface mining operations.
Several highly prospective targets exist, and these will be tested in the initial drilling program to support ramp up in production over the first 12 months. In parallel work is commencing on the higher-grade underground resource targets which should deliver longer term sustainability to the project.