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DRDGOLD’s business model is ESG in action

20th February 2024

By: Tracy Hancock

Creamer Media Contributing Editor

     

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Considering that environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects have become increasingly important over the years, especially in the mining industry, gold producer DRDGOLD emphasises that its tailings retreatment business model was built to realise ESG compliance.

“Essentially what we do is environmental cleanup, and through that, we empower communities that live very close to our sites to have a better life,” highlights DRDGOLD CFO Riaan Davel.

The company has high governance standards being listed not only on the JSE but also the New York Stock Exchange through an American Depository Receipt programme.

Davel says while it is undeniable that the world needs mining to produce critical minerals to facilitate the global energy transition, for example, DRDGOLD’s story highlights that if planned correctly from day one and not left to the last year of the life-of-mine (LoM), environmental reparation is possible.

“I really believe that this will change the image of mining. While we operate in a very unique place in the world, in theory, our business model can be replicated anywhere where large-scale mining has taken place. Existing infrastructure can be upgraded to accommodate our large volume model and settle environmental liabilities and leave the site in a pristine position.”

When attending the Mining Indaba or any events around it, DRDGOLD always aims to make more and more investors, communities and stakeholders aware of the benefits of its business model, which it believes in and wants to continue to advance.

In line with its ESG goals, the company is building a 60 MW solar plant with 160 MW battery energy storage at its surface gold tailings retreatment operation Ergo, in Gauteng.

“Not only does this project create cost certainty over the long term, as we execute our LoM, but it also delivers on our ‘green’ gold story. As I've mentioned, we take mining waste and reprocess that. Our gold production does not create any additional waste. We try to always use as much recycled water in our process as possible and have managed to achieve potable water reduction of up to 60% over the last ten years, and we'll continue to work on that,” states Davel.

DRDGOLD is also planning an 800-million-ton tailings storage facility at its Far West Gold Recoveries operation that will consolidate all the material on the far west of Johannesburg. This will, ultimately, create a model that reverses the environmental damage caused by mining while being economical and profitable to benefit the company and all its stakeholders.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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