Theta Gold Mines is close to securing full project permitting for its TGME Underground Project by the first quarter of 2023 after being granted two key environmental licences.

It has received the Atmospheric Emissions License from the South African Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and Environment, which provides the necessary approval for operation of the gold processing plant.

Additionally, Theta Gold Mines (ASX:TGM) has also been issued a State Forest Licence – a requirement in this instance as the forestry company is also the landowner at the Frankfort Mine.

The grant of the two licences follows an extensive period of engagement with domestic regulators which required the satisfaction of a broad range of criteria to meet the standards set out by federal government departments.

It also marks a key step forward in the multi-year approval process to establish the 6.1Moz TGME project as a major low-cost producer.

The company is continuing to advance the long-term environmental approvals process for Mining Right 83.

Chairman Bill Guy said securing the licences was great progress for the project and the company was now keenly awaiting the DFFE minister’s decision on the continuation of mining within the Forestry Reserve at MR83.

“Frankfort Mine – which sits outside the Forestry Reserve – now only requires a Water Use Licence (WUL) to be fully permitted for mining. A final WUL decision is expected in Q4 2022,” he added.

“The Frankfort Mine is already predeveloped with good access to gold ore, and the company will examine options for Frankfort Mine once all the permits are in place.”

TGME project

The TGME project is located within an existing historical goldfield about 370km northeast of Johannesburg by road which hosts multiple pre-developed, shallow, historical god mines that are ready to be brought back into production.

While Theta has already defined a resource of 6.1Moz at an average grade of 4.17 grams per tonne gold, there is plenty of room for growth as more than 40 other existing pre-developed shallow underground mines are not reflected in the resource.

A feasibility study has already been completed with full front-end engineering designs already in place for the project, which has very palatable start-up capital costs of less than US$100m to reach production of more than 90,000oz of gold per annum within two years.

Production costs are also expected to be the lowest in South Africa at less than US$900/oz, which is expected to drive the project’s self-funded expansion to more than 160,000oz per annum within five years.

Pre-tax net present value and internal rate of return – both measures of a project’s profitability – has been estimated at US$324m and 65% respectively while payback from the start of mining is expected within 18 months with first gold pour occurring as early as the second quarter of 2024.




This article was developed in collaboration with Theta Gold Mines (ASX:TGM), a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.