Elikhulu Gold

Client: Pan African Recourse
Location: South Africa
Value: US$121 million
Period: August 2017- August 2018
Scope: EPCM of the Gold Tailings Retreatment Project

Following the successful outcome of a DRA Global prepared Definitive Feasibility Study (DFS) in 2016, the organisation was appointed by JSE-listed Pan African Resources to deliver full engineering services for the Elikhulu Gold Tailings Retreatment Plant facility located in South Africa. The ZAR1.74-billion Elikhulu project, which uses a conventional carbon-in-leach circuit with a proprietary pre-oxidation process, will process one-million tons a month of tailings at an all-in sustaining cost of production of between $650/oz and $700/oz. The project is expected to produce about 55 000 oz/y of gold for 14 years and has created 400 permanent jobs.

Advanced management of this low-cost, long-life project was executed by DRA Global together with the Pan African owners’ team, which included detailed engineering, procurement, construction and full commissioning of the Elikhulu plant and the tailings facility. DRA designed and built a plant which retreats 1.2 million tonnes of tailings per month. This operation consists of a technologically advanced, automated plant with a minimal labour requirement. Elikhulu highlights DRA's ability to conceptualise, plan and complete substantial expansion projects.

Over the last 10 years, water infrastructure for the Elikhulu mine had played a critical role in the success and advancement of this project. Water supply was a challenge from day one, with many others failing to find a lasting and reliable water source for the project. DRA GLobal, through years of experience and a continued focus on innovation, engineered a water source that finally offered a solution to supply water to the plant as a whole. 

The project broke ground in 2017 and involved 2.5-million manhours, 2 000 t of steel, 40 000 m3 of concrete and 63 000 m3 of earthworks. First gold was poured in 2018. This project was completed in just under 12 months. Having been involved from the DFS phase, the DRA Global team was able to implement detailed planning and share key insights with the client from the onset.