DRDGOLD has put its Zimbabwean and remaining underground assets up for sale, marking its transition to a fully fledged dump reclamation company, it said in its interim results released on Tuesday.

The century-old ERPM mine in Boksburg has a resource of 21-million ounces and a shallow part of the deposit has become available after DRDGold removed the Cason dump. It spent R12m on refurbishing and re-commissioning the old Cason shaft to access this area and it spent a further R13m on building a plant to treat material to provide funds for an exploration programme there.

"This asset is now held for sale and we will be appointing corporate advisors to assist in the process," the company said.

It is also selling four prospects in Zimbabwe it has been exploring but which are likely to be underground mines — something DRDGold is avoiding in favour of low-cost and safer surface-treatment assets.

DRDGold will commission the flotation and fine-grind circuit at its Ergo plant on the East Rand by the end of this month, chief financial officer Craig Barnes said at the results presentation.

This would raise throughput at the plant, he said. "Our key focus areas are to maintain volumes coming out of the Ergo plant … and to secure additional water supply for the plant," he said. Volumes from the Crown-Ergo pipeline topped 6-million tons in the December quarter, the second quarter of the company’s financial year. "In the preceding quarter we saw a dip in volumes as a result of the decommissioning of the Crown plant, and transferring those volumes to the Ergo plant," Mr Barnes said.

DRDGold’s production for the quarter rose by 9% to 39,013 ounces compared with the September quarter. Operating profit was 37% higher quarter-on-quarter at R238.7m — a result of both higher gold production and a 9% increase in the average rand gold price.

Headline earnings per share rose 25% to 25c. DRDGold declared an interim dividend of 14c per share.