DRDGOLD Limited’s flagship metallurgical plant, Ergo Mining Proprietary Limited (Ergo), has joined forces for yet another five year period (2022-2026) in a research and support agreement with the University of the Witswatersrand (Wits University) to continue with research to enhancing capacity and capability within the field.
Through research by the Gold Research Group in the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering at Wits University, the agreement will seek to allow for more effective optimisation and improve the probability of increased gold recovery, as well as environmentally-friendly treatment technologies by students under the supervision of their academic staff members.
Focus areas will be four inter-related and interdependent categories, namely:
- Alternative leaching technologies
- Fluidisation and recovery technology
- Environmental treatment technologies
- Chemical measurements and modelling technologies
Manager of the programme, Professor Herman Potgieter, explains, “Through the four categories, Wits University will assist Ergo in developing new leaching processes and using alternative leachants and ligands for a wide range of sulphides, develop fluidisation and packed bed technology for a new gas phase technology for a wide range of sulphides.
“They will also obtain a detailed and thorough understanding of the environmental impact of the Ergo plant operations in terms of energy usage, effluents, and emissions during the liberation of the gold contained in the sulphides. The research will assist Ergo in developing new measurement techniques to reliably quantify small amounts of gold in the leached solutions and predict the optimum reagents to use based on density functional theory (DFT) calculations and modelling techniques applied to various parts of the process.”
Ergo’s managing director, Henry Gouws concludes, “At DRDGOLD, we remain committed to engaging with educational institutions within the areas in which we operate to set up programmes aimed at upskilling our youth, to empower them to make an active contribution to our economy.”