SOUTH AFRICA – The South African department of mineral resources has given the final approval to development of the Platreef platinum group project in the heart of the Bushveld Complex. The project lies 280 km northeast of Johannesburg and is owned 64% by Vancouver’s Ivanhoe Mines, 10% by a consortium of Japanese companies, and 26% by a black economic empowerment partner.
Ivanhoe is authorized to mine and process PGMs, nickel, copper, gold, silver, cobalt, iron, vanadium and chrome at Platreef. Because the project has a high concentration of base metals, production costs are expected to be low, at an estimated US$341 per oz of Pt+Pd+Rh+Au net of by-product credits. The mining right was issued for an initial 30-year period, and may be renewed for additional periods each of which may be a maximum 30 years.
A large, mechanized underground mine is planned with a phased approach. Initially the mining rate will be 4.0 million t/y, with potential expansions to twice and three times that rate. At a processing rate of 8.0 million t/y, the project would produce 785,000 oz of PGMs and gold. Estimated pre-production capital requirements are US$1.7 billion including contingencies of US$381 million.
In March 2013, Ivanhoe put the resources at 214 million indicated tonnes grading 4.1 g/t 3PE+Au, 0.34% Ni, 0.17% and 0.17% Cu. The inferred resource was 415 million tonnes at 3.5 g/t 3PE and gold, 0.18% Ni and 0.16% Cu. A bulk sample is to be mined in the first half of 2016.
More information about the Platreef project is posted at IvanhoeMines.com.