Johannesburg’s born again miner Blyvoor Gold may seek listing

BLYVOOR Gold, the company that bought the 81-year old Blyvooruitzicht gold mine out of liquidation, is considering listing the company, its executive chairperson said.

“We have corporate activity in our near term future,” said Alan Smith last week at the Joburg Indaba conference.

“What that ends up being I’m not too sure, but when you borrow money from these funders globally they look for a near term exit. So it is on our horizon.”

Orion Resource Partners, an $8.5bn asset manager headquartered in New York, pumped R900m into Blyvoor Gold in return for a 20% stake. It is thought a listing will also be part of a fresh capital raising exercise.

Blyvoor is currently operating at a run-rate of 100,000 ounces of gold a year, but there are ambitions to push that to 200,000 oz/year.

If achieved, it would mark an extraordinary turnaround in the fortunes of the mine. Established in 1937 and producing its first gold in 1942, Blyvooruitzicht is a storied asset in South Africa’s gold mining industry.

It was the richest orebody in the West Wits line of gold discoveries but fell into disrepair when closed by Village Main Reef leaving thousands of employees facing poverty. The mine was plundered by thieves until it was bought out of liquidation by the late Peter Skeat, a renowned gold industry entrepreneur.

The mine was completely re-equipped and despite the hiatus of Covid-19 lockdowns resumed production of about 30,000 oz/year in 2021.

Smith said the mine’s historic six grams per ton grades – considered high in the industry – persist and can be accessed through No. 5 shaft. Indicated and measured resources are enough to sustain operations for an estimated 25 years.

The mine currently produces gold at an all-in cost of around $1,200/oz but there are plans to reduce this cost profile to as low as $800/oz.

Given that the current rand gold price is R1.16m per kilogram – a 23% increase over the last 12 months – that would be the basis for a deeply profitable company.

Blyvoor Gold also owns gold in discarded dumps which Pan African Resources considered buying before allowing the transaction to collapse earlier this year. Cobus Loots, CEO of Pan African, says it’s possible his company could revisit the project again in time.