Theta Gold Mines has selected Digmin Group as the preferred mining contractor to develop the Theta Project in South Africa.

The move comes as Theta Gold moves to rapidly advance trial mining activities.

Digmin Group, which has been selected following a comprehensive tendering process, offers contract mining services throughout Africa and also provides bulk earthworks, mine infrastructure development as well as surface and underground drilling services.

Theta Gold Mines chairman Bill Guy said: “They have intimate knowledge of the Theta Open Pit Project having spent many months with our mining team in order to deliver a well costed schedule of works which presently remain in line with our May 2019 Feasibility Study costs.

“Having a reputable, experienced mining contractor on board adds significant credibility and will assist in financing the project development as it provides potential project financiers, of which there are several still under consideration, comfort in terms of execution and cost management.”

With the selection of Digmin, Theta will be able to rapidly mobilise trial mining operations. Upon achieving final permitting, the company expects to start the operations.

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The authorisation is expected to be received in the near term in the fourth quarter of this year.

Guy further added: “Digmin’s broad range of capabilities including mining, rehabilitation, civil and road works, and open pit and underground drilling give Theta’s project development team the flexibility to now focus on the successful build and operation of the Theta Open Pit Project.”

A trial mining phase is planned for this year end. This will involve mining of two box cuts in the future Iota and Browns Hill pits.

During this period, final mining equipment and grade control practices will be selected.

After the trial mining phase, Digmin is expected to carry out some of the bulk earthworks and civil works as part of the project infrastructure establishment.

Additionally, Digmin and Theta will facilitate local employment and social upliftment programmes in the small Pilgrim’s Rest community.