• Site was formerly operated by DRDGold, Village Main Reef
  • Randlord headed by former Aflease Chairman Peter Skeat

Randlord Consolidated Mines (Pty) Ltd., chaired by South African mining entrepreneur Peter Skeat, plans to spend more than 100 million rand ($6.2 million) reviving surface operations at the Blyvooruitzicht gold mine, west of Johannesburg.

The company aims to get the operations up and running this year and will then consider expanding underground, which requires “a substantially larger capital investment,” it said in an e-mailed response to questions. Skeat has been involved in South African gold miners including Afrikander Lease Ltd., Mintails Ltd. and Galaxy Gold Mining Ltd.

Blyvooruitzicht, or happy prospect in Afrikaans, was overrun by illegal miners and thieves taking equipment in 2013 after a dispute between DRDGold Ltd. and Village Main Reef Ltd., the last two operators, led to both walking away. Falling gold prices made it uneconomic and about 1,700 people lost their jobs when the mine was put into liquidation proceedings.

Randlord agreed to take over the mine in December and a processing plant a year earlier, the company said, declining to say how much it paid. Blyvooruitzicht’s shaft and underground operations were "defunct" after extensive theft, Leigh Roering, a director at liquidator Harvard Corporate Recovery Services, said by phone. “We were trying to sell the surface assets for best value and we’re happy to sell them at the price we did.”

In 2014, Goldrich Holdings (Pty) Ltd. agreed to operate the mine but was eventually removed from the property after failing to fulfill conditions of its deal. A director and adviser to Goldrich were sued as part of the collapse of Aurora Empowerment Systems Ltd., found to have stripped assets from other aging gold mines near Johannesburg.

“It’s not the same situation we had with Goldrich, where we had an operating mine and they came in under the guise of restarting operations but then we subsequently found out that wasn’t the intention,” Roering said. The deal with Randlord “provides a real future.”

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