DRDGOLD’s Ergo Mining Proprietary Limited (Ergo) has entered into a second five-year (2022-2026) research and support agreement with the Wits University.

Through the Gold Research Group in the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, the agreement will see continued research with the objective of enhancing capacity and capability within the field. 

The research will seek to allow for more effective optimisation and improve the probability of increased gold recovery, as well as environmentally friendly treatment technologies over a period of five years by students under the supervision of their academic staff members. The technological focus areas will comprise of four inter-related and interdependent categories, namely:

  • Fluidisation and recovery technology
  • Environmental treatment technologies
  • Chemical measurements and modelling technologies
Commenting on the agreement, manager of the programme, Professor Herman Potgieter said, “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”.

He added that the research would also 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.

“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,” said Ergo’s managing director Henry Gouws.

“We look forward to working with the Gold Research Group within the School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering at Wits University as we seek to optimise and improve gold recovery as well as identify and evaluate environmentally friendly treatment technologies,” Gouws concluded.  

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