West Wits Mining has started trial mining at its Derewo River Gold Project in Indonesia’s Papua Province. The trial mining began after the company completed an airstrip at the remote site, which is 110km northwest of Freeport McMoRan’s Grasberg complex.

The trial mining will be carried out using a conventional alluvial recovery circuit prior to receiving the concentrator on order from Malaysia. This recovery circuit is being broken down into sections and weighed for transport with the boxes being flown in by helicopter starting this week.

West Wits says that final airstrip works, such as installation of wind socks as well minor widening of one section of the strip is being carried out and that it would be capable of receiving aircraft by the end of the week.

The excavator used for the airstrip will install a number of culverts on the access road to further improve drainage.

The Derewo project is a high grade placer deposit that shows early stage similarities with discoveries on the PNG side of New Guinea island, including Porgera, Edie Creek and Wau.

Last year West Wits entered into a business alliance for the Derewo River project with PT Tobacom Del Mandiri (TDM). TDM is required to deliver clear and clean certificates for the Derewo IUP and forestry permits in addition to managing site access and security.

TDM is part of the PT Toba Sejahtra group of companies which has interests in energy and plantation resources. The group was founded in 2004 and has four major business areas – coal, oil and gas, power plants and agriculture. One of its subsidiaries, PT Toba Bara Sejahtra focuses on coal production and is listed on the Indonesian Stock Exchange.

At the time, West Wits director responsible for managing Indonesia, Vincent Savage, said, “Whilst Derewo has been an incredibly challenging project for the company, we have remained focused on recommencing the stalled alluvial mining operations and initiating exploration. The project’s size and opportunity has not reduced.

“We are delighted to have formed this new alliance with TDM, a group with significant experience in the resources industry in Indonesia. We are looking forward to forming a strong working relationship with TDM and developing Derewo – a project that deserves to be thoroughly explored.”


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