Mineral explorer and developer White Rivers Exploration (WRE) and Harmony Gold have formed a 65:35 joint venture (JV) to explore and develop gold resources in South Africa.
Under the deal, WRE will explore gold resources at its Beisa project, which is adjacent to Harmony's exploration areas in the Free State.
WRE will fund works up to the pre-feasibility study stage and the partners will fund the subsequent bankable feasibility studies (BFS), as per their share in the JV.
WRE executive chairperson Neil Warburton said: "The partnership with Harmony, one of the world's biggest gold miners, is a significant step forward on our path to production on our large South African prospective gold projects."
After completion of the BFS, Harmony will own a 51% stake in the JV, while WRE will hold the remaining 49%.
"If the future exploration programme proves significant gold resources as expected, then access to Harmony's neighbouring infrastructure will enable the mining and production of the JV resources to be fast-tracked with limited capital funding required," Warburton added.
"This exploration JV has the potential to position WRE as a substantial mining operation. We will be looking at a number of funding options as the venture progresses, including potential listings on the Johannesburg and London stock exchanges."
In January, WRE announced its plans to sign joint ventures for several projects around the Witwatersrand Basin, where the Beisa mine is located across an area of 80.7km². It contains uranium and gold reefs and open cast coal potential. The mine is adjacent to Harmony Gold's Target mine.
In August, Harmony placed its Target 3 shaft on care and maintenance citing the current gold price scenario and significant capital investments required to be made in the property. The shaft employed 1,500 workers, most of whom were offered voluntary separation packages or transfers to other assets of the company.
Image: White Rivers and Harmony will jointly explore gold resources in South Africa. Photo: courtesy of White Rivers Exploration.