DRDGOLD has completed the second round of its share repurchase plan, in which the company acquired 4,4-million shares, at an average price of R5,67 each in the open market, for R25m.

The company has spent R58m on its share buyback programme so far this year.

To fund the repurchase, DRDGold used a portion of the proceeds from the sale of its 74% interest in Blyvooruitzicht gold mine to Village Main Reef.

DRDGold CEO Niel Pretorius said in a statement yesterday that the repurchase was consistent with the company's policy of passing on "windfall" income to its shareholders.

Commenting on the average price the company paid for each share, Mr Pretorius said the company's shares were trading well below the average sell-side outlook, which made a repurchase a "very attractive option" for returning funds to DRDGold shareholders.

Gold production increased by 3% to 34 947 ounces during the three months, and this was attributed to the 7% increase in the total throughput to 5,613-million tons, which reflected the completion of the Crown-Ergo pipeline connecting the company's mining operations in the East Rand of Johannesburg.

Meanwhile, operating profits rose by 52% to R220,9m as the company took advantage of higher gold prices during the period. Regarding DRDGold's exploration for gold prospects beyond SA's borders, Mr Pretorius said the company was drilling for resources in the Gweru region of Zimbabwe.

Given the growing uncertainties surrounding land lease legislation in the country, Mr Pretorius said the company was adopting a cautious approach towards its capital investments.