Platinum in South Africa


"Platinum the principal gainer in African power crisis" (Source: Mineweb)

"South African supply decider for 2008 platinum prices"

Note on the geology of the Bushveld Complex, South Africa

The Bushveld Complex is the world's largest source of platinum group metals (PGMs). (In 2006 South Africa supplied 77,5% of global supply - 5,4 million oz of the total 7 million oz of supply and 7,02 million oz of demand.) It is an igneous intrusion measuring approximately 450 km east to west and 300 km north to south, with a thickness of between 7 and 9 km. The complex comprises a variety of diverse igneous rocks which range in composition from ultramafic to felsic, with the lateral persistence and regularity of its layers an outstanding characteristic. The Rustenburg Layered Suite, in which both the Merensky Reef and the UG2 Chromitite Layer are found, comprises a well-layered ultramafic to mafic succession. These two horizons are exploited for PGMs and base metals. The PGMs - platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, osmium and iridium - are recovered along with small amounts of gold, and quantities of associated nickel, copper and cobalt. The Bushveld Igneous Complex is also host to the largest resources of chromium and vanadium in the world.Click HERE for THE PLATINUM AND PALLADIUM RESOURCES OF THE BUSHVELD COMPLEX (South African Journal of Science)

Anglo Platinum Ltd produced 2,453,200 oz in 2005 from

  • Rustenburg Platinum Mines (RPM)
  • Rustenburg Section
  • Amandelbult Section
  • Union Section
  • Northam Platinum Mine (22,5%)
  • Potgietersrust Platinums (PPRust)
  • Lebowa Platinum Mines (LEPLATS)
  • Bafokeng-Rasimone Platinum Mine (BRPM)
  • Modikwa Platinum Mine (50%, African Rainbow Minerals Ltd - 50%))
  • Kroondal Pooling and Sharing Agreement ( PSA)
  • Total reserves, measured and indicated: 290,600,000 oz
Anglo Platinum said in September, 2007, it would sell assets and shares worth R10.9bn to black-owned companies and employees in an effort to meet South Africa’s mining legislation.

The company unveiled three transactions the first of which is to sell 51% of its Lebowa mine in the northern Bushveld to Canadian and Johannesburg-listed Anooraq Resources, as well as 1% in the Ga-Phasha resource – effectively control – in a deal worth R3.6bn.

In the second leg of its empowerment effort, Anglo Platinum will sell a 50% stake in Booysendal, another untapped platinum resource, and its 22.4% stake in Northam Platinum to Johannesburg listed Mvelaphanda Resources. This transaction is estimated to be worth R4bn.

Thirdly, Anglo Platinum announced plans to distribute up to 1.5% of its issued share capital, worth R3.3bn at current market values, to employees in an ESOP.

Anglo Platinum reported a six percent drop in platinum production to 2.47 million oz for 2007 and a 12% reduction in refined platinum to 2.47 million oz. The company is forecasting a decline in production for 2008 to 2.4 million oz because of the power crisis. Anglo Platinum is also unable to give a production forecast for 2009 and 2010 and advised the market to discard the previously used metric of using 5% growth a year.

Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd (JSE:IMP) (South Africa and Zimbabwe) produced 1,815,000 oz in 2005 from
  • Impala Platinum mine
  • Marula Platinum mine ( 87,5%, Tubatse Platinum and the Marula Community Trust-15%, Mmakau Mining -7,5%)
  • Mimosa mine (50%) (Zimbabwe)
  • Zimplats (86%) (Zimbabwe)
  • Total reserves, as all categories of mineral resources: 215,100,000 oz
  • The company has plans to boost production to 2,3 million oz by 2010 and by another 500 000 oz per year of platinum beyond that.
  • In February, 2007, Impala made a cash takeover bid of 297m pounds (R4.2bn) for African Platinum, the AIM-traded company. Afplats has resources of 92 million oz on the southern portion of the Western Limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex. It was involved in developing a R2,3bn, 1,35km deep mine at Leeuwkop to produce 300,000 oz of platinum group metals in concentrate for treatment at Impala’s facilities starting in just over four year’s time.

Lonmin plc produced 916,420 oz in 2005 from
  • Western Platinum Mine
  • Eastern Platinum Mine
  • Karee Mine
  • Lonmin Platinum Limpopo (formerly Messina) Mine
  • Total reserves, as 3PGE+Au: 143,340,000 oz

Northam Platinum Ltd (JSE:NHM) produced 325,214 oz in 2005 from
  • Northam Platinum Mine
  • Reserves, as all categories, 3PGE+Au: 30,115,000 oz
  • The platinum transaction between Northam, Mvela Resources and Anglo Platinum said to have transformed Mvela into the fourth large platinum producer in South Africa, has been found wanting as Northam has found the Booysendal 4PGE resource lower than estimated.
    The parties announced in January, 2008, that Northam - more than 60% owned by Mvela after the transaction - will now pay Mvela 4m new shares less for a larger property as its independent due diligence study has found 94 million oz of 4PGE (platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold) on the Booysendal property instead of 112 million oz of 4PGE originally sold to it.
Aquarius Platinum Ltd (AIM:AQP) (South Africa and Zimbabwe) produced 327,669 oz in 2005 from
  • Kroondal Mine
  • Marikana Mine
  • Mimosa Mine (50%) (Zimbabwe)
  • Chromite Tailings Retreatment Plant
  • Everest Mine being established, planned production 225,000 oz per annum
  • Total reserves, proved and probable, 3PGE+Au: 9,410,000 oz
  • Aquarius’ Everest production stopped after contractor leaves (Source: Mining Weekly)

    Aquarius Pt sells non-core assets for R755m
    David McKay | Thu, 30 Jan 2014 16:11
    [] – AQUARIUS Platinum has bolstered its cash reserves selling non-core assets for a gross of $67m (R755m) including Blue Ridge and Sheba's Ridge, platinum resources that once comprised the UK-listed Ridge Mining.

    Aquarius Platinum bought Ridge Mining in an all-share offer in 2009 but technical and safety problems at the then R1.3bn Blue Ridge project meant the asset under-performed. It was shut in 2011.

    Blue Ridge, situated near Groblersdal on the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex consisted of two decline shafts which at full capacity were expected to mine 120,000 tonnes a month of ore over a projected economic life of 18 years.

    The project was expected to produce at a rate of 150,000 ounces a year of platinum group metals (PGM), while sister deposit, Sheba's Ridge contained 1.4 million tonnes (mt) of nickel, 19 million ounces of PGM and 0.5mt of copper.

    A 2007 study estimated that a mine could be developed at Sheba's Ridge at a cost of $690m producing 12,000t/year copper; 24,000t/year nickel and 390,000oz/year of PGM. Ridge Mining once said in 2007 that it was considering selling a stake in the project to China's Zijn Mining, valuing the total project at $700m.

    Instead, the assets have been sold for a total of $37m, an indication of how much of the enthusiasm for platinum expansion of less than five years ago, has been replaced by hard economic reality. The buyer is the improbably named China National Arts & Crafts Corporation. Of the $37m, some $4m will be forwarded to Blue Ridge.

    Conclusion of the transaction is dependent on approvals from the Chinese authorities, which can be a lengthy process. Aquarius Platinum said the outside date for deal closure had been fixed at June 30, but could be extended if required.

    Aquarius Platinum has also sold prospecting rights to Kruidfontein for some $30m of which $10.8m is due to the original vendor and which can be paid in Aquarius Platinum shares, the company said.

    The buyer is Sedibelo Platinum, the Pallinghurst Resources company that is expected to debut its platinum firm on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange later this year. The sale is conditional on the transfer of ownership and renewal of prospecting rights - a matter that's in the hands of the Department of Mineral Resources.

    Cash resources for Aquarius Platinum is critical. Analysts have said the company has to start generating cash as it seeks a way of refinancing some $270m in convertible debt which is due in the 2015 calendar year.

    The company's cash position improved to $90.1m in the September quarter from $77.8m in the previous June quarter. The company recently turned in another credible operating performance for the December quarter, producing some 84,528 ounces of attributable platinum representing a 7% increase over the corresponding quarter in the previous financial year.

African Rainbow Minerals Ltd (JSE:ARM) produced 105,482 oz in 2005 from
  • Modikwa Platinum mine (50%)
  • Nkomati Nickel mine (50%)
  • Two Rivers Platinum project (55%) to produce 220,000 oz per year
  • Kalplats PGM Exploration Project
  • Reserves, Modikwa, 3PGE+Au: 2,460,000 oz (UG2)
  • Reserves, Two Rivers, 5PGE+Au: 5,230,000 oz (UG2)
  • Inferred resource, Kalplats, 3PGE+Au: 2,820,000 oz
Barplats Investments Ltd (Eastplats 74%) produced 74,943 oz in concentrate in 2006 from
  • Crocodile River mine
  • Total resources, all categories, 89,700,000 t at a grade of 4,40 g/t 3PGE+Au or 12,680,000 oz.
  • Kennedy's Vale Project:
  • Indicated UG2 reserve of 152,100,000 t at a grade of 5,41 g/t 5PGE+Au or 26,475,000 oz PGM (11,813,000 oz platinum)
  • Indicated Merensky Reef reserve of 96,500,000 t at a grade of 3,88/t 5PGE+Au or 12,038,000 oz PGM (10,500,000 oz platinum)

Eland Platinum Holdings Ltd started mining in South Africa
  • Elandsfontein Platinum Mine. The opencast operation will deliver 160,000 oz of the four platinum group elements, while the underground operations will boost output to 270,000 oz of the four elements. Eland had a stockpile of 60,000 tonnes of ore in March, 2007, which was in line with the schedule for the project just over half way to completion. On 21 December 2006 the mine was awarded a mining right covering both the original Elandsfontein prospecting area, acquired from Rustenburg Platinum Mines Limited, and the contiguous `triangle' land owned by the state. In January 2007, the group announced the following SAMREC-compliant UG2 mineral reserve estimate for Elandsfontein Platinum Mine: 42,029 million tonnes at 3,41 g/t 4E or 4,617 million oz of contained metal (4E). It was announced in January 2007 that the DME had consented to the transfer to Eland Platinum of prospecting rights over the Zilkaatsnek properties, which add approximately 1,5 km of UG2 outcrop to the mine's resource base. Work has begun to determine the nature and extent of theUG2 deposit on the Zilkaatsnek properties.
  • Total UG2 resource, all categories, 165,400,000 t at a grade of 4,05 g/t 4PGE+AU or 21,580,000 oz.
Eland Platinum Holdings is to sell shares raising R350m, to a Bahrain-registered investment house, Al Rajhi Holdings, taking its overall stake in Eland Platinum to some eight million shares, equal to 11.2% of the listed company.
Diversified miner Xstrata said in August, 2007, that it had made a friendly offer to buy Eland for R7,5-billion (about $1-billion) in cash, or R105 a share. Eland will have its JSE listing suspended on November 19, 2007. Xstrata management would then take over the company, which would fall under Xstrata Alloys.

Other companies exploring for platinum

African Platinum plc ([AIM:APP, being acquired by Implats for R3,7 bn) (South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique)

  • The Greater Leeuwkop property in the Bushveld Complex has a resource of 92 million oz of four PGMs.
AfriOre Ltd (TSX:AFO; AIM:AFO, acquired by Lonmin for R3,2 bn).
  • The Akanani project in the Bushveld Complex has a resource of 33,7 million oz of three PGMs.

  • The Mokopane Project is located within the Platreef zone on the northern limb of the Bushveld Complex. The company has prospecting rights covering an area of 960 hectares and first right of refusal over a further 3,000 hectares. The project area includes five known mineralized areas: Southwest, West, Northwest, Northeast and Far North. In the Southwest area, the mineralised Platreef is approximately 800 metres long and up to 250 metres wide in outcrop, and dips at 25 to 50 degrees towards the southwest. Approximately 15,330 metres of drilling was undertaken by previous explorers from 1989 to 1992, mostly on the Southwest Deposit. The Southwest Deposit has a JORC-compliant Inferred Resource (at a zero cut off grade) estimated to be 39,7 million tonnes at 0,146% nickel, 0,085% copper, 0,22 g/t platinum and 0,33 g/t palladium.
Anooraq Resources Corporation (TSXv:ARQ; AMEX:ANO)Anglo Platinum Ltd is to sell 51% of its Lebowa mine in the northern Bushveld to Canadian and Johannesburg-listed Anooraq Resources, as well as 1% in the Ga-Phasha resource – effectively control – in a deal worth R3.6bn.
Completion of the Anglo Platinum transaction would see PGM reserves and resources controlled by Anooraq increase from roughly 50 million 4E (platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold) oz to more than 110 million oz 4E. This would give Anooraq the third biggest PGM resources base in South Africa, and one of the top five in the world. The group would go forward with just one producer, LePlats, and hopes of successful capital raisings.

  • Barrick Gold Corporation is exploring the Sedibelo platinum project, a large deposit on the eastern limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex, South Africa. Currently in the pre-feasibility study stage, the deposit contains platinum measured and indicated mineral resources of 3,8 million ounces and inferred resources of 5,3 million ounces, and palladium measured and indicated mineral resources of 1,7 million and inferred resources of 2,5 million ounces (100% basis). Sedibelo’s average platinum to palladium ratio is 2:1. Overall, the average metal breakdown is 60 per cent platinum, 30 per cent palladium, 8.5 per cent rhodium and 1.5 per cent gold. Barrick has a right to earn a 50 percent interest in Sedibelo by funding exploration and completing a feasibility study on the project and then jointly making a construction decision. Its joint venture partner is the Bakgatla Ba-Kgafela tribal community in South Africa. The company drilled 56,000 meters on the property in 2006 and plans to complete the pre-feasibility study by late 2007, at which point work on the feasibility study would begin. The company aims to complete its Sedibelo feasibility study by mid 2008.

Beartooth Platinum Corporation (USA and South Africa)
  • Beartooth has an option agreement to acquire a 70% interest in the Doornfontein property. Lenaka Mining (Pty) Ltd, a private South African company, holds the Platinum Group Metals (PGM) mineral exploration rights to the Doornfontein property, a land package totaling approximately 7,500 hectares, located approximately 10 kilometers west of Lonmin's Limpopo mine property in Limpopo Province of South Africa. Under the terms of the deal, in order to earn its interest in the property, Beartooth will pay 100% of the exploration costs incurred on the property until a bankable feasibility study is completed. After that point in time, Lenaka Mining (Pty) Ltd. will pay 30% and Beartooth 70% of all costs to production. The Doornfontein magnetic anomaly was noticed during the acquisition of regional geophysical data in support of Beartooth's 2006 exploration efforts on the Zebediela project, which lies to the east. As with Zebediela, the target at Doornfontein is Bushveld Critical Zone rocks beneath Karoo cover.
  • The Rooipoort PGE/Au/Ni/Cu Prospect was aquired by Eersteling Gold Mines from Rustenburg Platinum, owned by Anglo Platinum Limited. The property is located approximately 30 km southwest of the Eersteling Gold Mine property and is located in an area that saw a surge in platinum group metal exploration along the "Platreef". In 2004, Caledonia purchased and acquired prospecting rights over an additional 342 hectares on the farm Grasvally, immediately adjacent to and south of the Rooipoort property. To date Caledonia has drilled a total of 18,450 meters in 54 holes on the Rooipoort PGE/Au/Ni/Cu Exploration Project. This drilling covers the full 6 km strike length that makes up the project area. Estimated inferred resource is 18,128 million tonnes at a grade of 1,1-1,34 2PGE+Au.
Central African Mining and Exploration Company plc (CAMEC) has acquired 44.5% of Pfula Investments Limited (“Pfula”). Pfula owns the rights to 51% and 40% respectively of the Inkosi and Imbasa Platinum Group Element (“PGE”) projects, located on the western limb of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa and is the Black Economic Empowerment Partner of African Platinum plc (“Afplats”) in these projects. The combined inferred resource estimate for the two projects, recently published by Afplats, was 38,8 million oz 4E, i.e. platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold. Pfula has agreed in principle with Afplats to consolidate the Inkosi and Imbasa properties into a new entity. Pfula, as Afplats’ Black Empowerment Partner for the project area, will control a 47% stake post consolidation with Afplats retaining a 53% stake. CAMEC will therefore have a 20.9% interest in the project, representing 8,1 million oz 4E. It is the intention of CAMEC to discuss with Afplats a strategy to ensure the project is advanced in the most efficient and expeditious manner.Drilling and assaying of 14 new exploration boreholes was completed on the Imbasa and Inkosi properties in May 2006. An inferred resource of 181 million tonnes at a grade of 4,6g/t 4E - equivalent to 26,9 million oz 4E - was calculated for the UG2 Reef on the Imbasa and Inkosi areas. An additional inferred resource of 176 million tonnes at a grade of 2,1g/t 4E (11,9 million oz 4E) is contained in the Merensky Reef. This PGE resource lies along strike from Afplats’ flagship Leeuwkop project, which has a measured, indicated and inferred resource of 5 million oz 4E, 8,7 million oz 4E and 39,4 million oz 4E respectively.

Eastern Platinum Ltd (South Africa and Canada)

  • Eastern Platinum (Eastplats) controls the Crocodile River, Spitzkop, Kennedy's Vale and Mareesburg projects in South Africa's Bushveld Complex. In December, 2007, it released revised reserve and resource estimates for its South African properties, totaling more than 100-million ounces of platinum-group metals (PGMs). PGMs ounces attributable to Eastplats amounted to 86-million ounces.
  • Great Australian Resources announced on 5 October, 2007, the consolidation of its strategic platinum projects in South Africa after reaching agreement to buy the outstanding 50 per cent shareholding in Platinum Mining Ventures Ltd. The move to 100 per cent will give Great Australian full ownership of the Mooiplats project and two additional grassroots exploration projects. Sylvania Resources, a small platinum producer in South Africa, now owns 19.9% of ASX-listed Great Australian Resources,

Jubilee Platinum plc (South Africa and Madagascar)

In a friendly takeover bid announced on 28 October 2007, Xstrata offered to purchase all of the shares of Jubilee for $23 per share. The offer is due to close on February 15, 2008.
  • Tjate Project (48%) which comprises a total 5 143 hectares with an inferred resource of 282 million tonnes containing 65 million oz 5 PGE (platinum group elements: platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium and ruthenium) and gold. Mitsubishi Corporation loan of US$16 million entitles them to a 20% stake. Jubilee plans to raise its stake in Tjate to 63%, subject to regulatory approval. The Tjate project consists of three licenses on properties contiguous both to Anglo Platinum’s [JSE:AMS] Twickenham and Impala Platinum’s [JSE:IMP] Marula mines, which holds out the possibility of joint ventures or consolidation with one of those companies in the future.
  • Grass Valley Project (70%, MSA Projects (Pty) Ltd-30%) which comprises 663 hectares with five kilometres of potential Platreef identified in outcrop located between the War Springs, Rooipoort and Volspruit deposits. Inferred resource of 93 million tonnes containing 3,6 million oz.
  • Dullstroom Platinum Project which comprises 2 500 hectares south of Anglo Platinum's Der Brochen Project and on projected Merensky and UG2 overlain by Transvaal Supergroup rocks.
  • Applied for prospecting rights over Bokfontein JQ448 and Elandsdrift JQ467 PGM properties in the western Bushveld, Buffelsvallei JS170/Zaaiplaats JS157 in the Groblersdal district, Sallies SlootKS718/Swartkop KS720 near Marble Hall.
Lesego Platinum on January 25, 2008, announced an inferred resource estimate of 27-million ounces at its Phoshiri project, on the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex. Lesego is a 50:50 joint venture between MinEx Projects (37%), and Umbono Platinum and Financial Services (63%), and holds a 100% interest in the Phoshiri project.

Mvela Resources currently owns 22.4% of Northam, a platinum group metals (PGMs) mining company listed on the Securities Exchange South Africa (JSE). It currently produces about 325,000 oz per annum platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold (3PGM+Au) from a single operating mine situated on the western limb of the Bushveld Complex. Afripalm Resources, headed by the former CEO Lazarus Zim of Anglo American's South African unit, bought a 31% stake in Mvela Resources for R1, 15 bn in December 2006.
Other projects include,
  • The Booysendal Joint Venture (50%, Anglo Platinum-50%). Booysendal embraces 138 km2 on 10 contiguous farms at the southern end of the eastern limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex. Booysendal is underlain by the Merensky and UG2 horizons and has been thoroughly explored by Anglo Platinum. Measured, indicated and inferred resources – after a 24% allowance for geological losses – total 76,800,000 oz on the UG2 horizon and 47,600,000 oz on the Merensky horizon. The platinum transaction between Northam, Mvela Resources and Anglo Platinum said to have transformed Mvela into the fourth large platinum producer in South Africa, has been found wanting as Northam has found the Booysendal 4PGE resource lower than estimated.
    The parties announced in January, 2008, that Northam - more than 60% owned by Mvela after the transaction - will now pay Mvela 4m new shares less for a larger property as its independent due diligence study has found 94 million oz of 4PGE (platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold) on the Booysendal property instead of 112 million oz of 4PGE originally sold to it.
  • The Pandora Joint Venture (7,5%, Lonmin holds balance)
  • The Dwaalkop Joint Venture (50%, Lonmin-50%) Adjoins Lonmin's Limpopo Mine.
  • Garatouw project. Nkwe Platinum Limited acquired a 74% interest in the Genorah farms (De Kom and Garatouw) from Genorah Resources (Pty ) Ltd. The Genorah farms are located down dip from both Anglo American’s Modikwa and Implats’ Marula Platinum Mines. SRK Consulting have reported that the expected target mineralization on these properties is 15 million oz 3PGE + Au oz at depths of 0-1000m and an additional 20 million oz 3PGE + Au at depths of 1000m-2000m. Genorah plans to vend another three neighbouring farms on strike into Nkwe. The three farms will boost Nkwe’s in-situ resources at the project up to 150 million oz. Anglo Platinum has taken the Department of Minerals and Energy and Genorah, the black-owned company and owner of the new-order prospecting rights to the farms, to court to prove it has the rights to the property, which Genorah acquired after the change in South African mineral legislation in 2004. The matter is expected to come before the courts in June 2007. Public comments were made subsequently by Anglo Platinum executives that the world’s largest platinum producer wants to resolve their legal claim over a number of platinum deposits through negotiations with the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) rather than going through the courts.The disputed platinum deposits include the two Eastern Limb farms Nkwe has in its portfolio and the three in the Genorah stable. Nkwe Platinum said in January, 2008, that the most recent set of drilling results from its Eerste Geluk and Nooitverwacht farms had exceeded expectations. The company said that high-grade results on the UG2 reef averaged 7,34 g/t of platinum-group metals plus gold, over 780-mm-plus intersections.
  • De Wildt Project. Inferred resource of 4,400,000 oz 5 PGE+Au (grade 3,4 g/t)
  • Pilanesberg Project. Indicated\inferred resource of 4,500,000 oz 3 PGE+Au (grade 3,8 g/t)
  • Kliprivier Project. Inferred resource of 5,300,000 oz 3 PGE+Au (grade 2,3 g/t)
  • Ghost Mountain Project. Initial exploratory drilling of target complete. Assays pending.
  • Doornloop Project. Exploratory drilling of target area currently being undertaken.
  • Nkwe Platinum's partner, Blue Nightingale Trading 709 (Pty) Ltd (30%), has an interest in the Mphahlele Platinum project adjacent to the Lonmin Limpopo operation. This project contains an inferred resource of 11,8 million oz from surface down to a depth of 1,000m.

Platinum Australia Ltd (Australia and South Africa)

  • Platinum Australia ("PLA") has an 80% interest in the Smokey Hills Project, on the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex, with the balance held as to 5% by the local community and 15% by Corridor Mining Resources, a company owned by the Limpopo Provincial Government. It is planned initially as an open cut operation which will progress into a shallow underground mine. During the initial phase of mining, whilst the processing plant is being constructed, PLA proposes to toll treat the ore through a nearby plant to generate early cash flow. This phase would last 9-12 months, after which ore would be treated through the on-site plant at an annual rate of 720,000t to produce approximately 95,000 oz 4E PGM in a flotation concentrate which would be toll treated or sold to any one of a number of smelters in South Africa. Depending on the timing of the issue of the necessary permits, PLA plans to begin construction and mining operations in mid-2007, with plant commissioning 9-12 months later. Platinum Australia has been granted a mining right from the South African government for its $40m Smokey Hills project, the company announced in November, 2007. Mining is due to start in January, 2008. Initial production from Smokey Hills is expected to be 90,000 oz of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold. Platinum Australia has signed an offtake agreement with Impala Refining Services for the concentrate to be produced from the Smokey Hills mine, it said in December, 2008. The agreement covers the seven-year life-of-mine production of about 95 000 oz/y of 4E platinum, gold, palladium, rhodium platinum-group metals (PGMs).
  • The Kalplats project, located 330 km west of Johannesburg, is a joint venture with African Rainbow Minerals in which the company is earning a 49% interest by completing a bankable feasibility study and providing the right for the project to use the patented Panton metallurgical process to treat the ore. Seven known deposits, together with three other prospects, identified over a 12km strike length of the Stella Layered Intrusive are being explored. The project currently has indicated and inferred resources of 3,4 million oz 3E PGM, including a high grade component of 1,4 million oz 3E PGM, contained within the seven separate deposits. As part of the JV the two companies have applied for a prospecting right covering an area extending approximately 20 km to the north and 18 km to the south of the Kalplats project area, increasing the total strike length held over the Stella Layered Intrusion to almost 50 km. The company believes the existing Kalplats resource will support development of an open pit operation producing 200,000 oz per year 3E PGM, and further success from the drilling programme could increase this to 300,000 oz per year. A new estimate for Crater, the most northerly of the deposits, in November, 2007, amounted to 11.2m tonnes grading 1.65g/t 3E PGM (approximately 600,000 contained oz) in the Measured, Indicated and Inferred categories. Within this total, the Main Reef package is 5.1 m tonnes averaging 2.4g/t 3E PGM for 394,000 contained oz, a 19p.c. increase. The High Grade resource totals 2.92 million tonnes at a grade of 3.40 g/t 3E PGM for 320,000 contained oz, an increase of over 12p.c. Platinum Australia plans further drilling following encouraging assay results from the Kalahari Platinum (Kalplats) project, the company announced in January, 2008. The company said assays from the Sirius prospect within Kalplats have identified 'wide zones of good grade'. Based on work by Genalysis Laboratory of Perth, these include 19 metres with 2.73 grammes of platinum group metals (PGMs) per tonne of ore and five metres with 3.03 grammes a tonne of PGMs. The company hoped its new drilling programme will allow it to increase the already established indicated and inferred resource of 3.4 million oz of '3E PGMs' (platinum, palladium and gold) at an average grade of 3.6 grammes a tonne at Kalplats.
Platinum Group Metals Ltd (PTM) (South Africa and Canada)
  • Western Bushveld Joint Venture (WBJV) Joint Venture with Anglo Platinum and Africa Wide Mining and covers 67 square kilometers bringing together PTM's Onderstepoort and Elandsfontein properties along with portions of Anglo Platinum's Elandsfontein, Frischgewaagd and Koedoesfontein properties. Adjoins both Anglo Platinum's Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine and Styldrift Projects. Indicated Resource of 2,57 million oz platinum, palladium, rhodium, and gold (4E): Merensky Reef 5,81 million tonnes at 6,91 g/t 4E, UG2 Reef 14,63 million tonnes at 2,72 g/t 4E. Platinum Group Metals hopes to complete a bankable feasibility study (BFS) on its Western Bushveld joint venture in the third quarter of 2007, following the completion of its prefeasiblity study, which backed the establishment of a 155 000-oz per year platinum mine.
  • PTM, which initially planned to complete the bankable feasibility study December 2006, reported that the prefeasiblity study had showed that the deposit could support an underground mine, producing 250 000 oz per year of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold (4E) in concentrate, over 18 years.
    PTM and its partners in the venture, Anglo Platinum (37%) and Africa Wide (26%), said that they expected to make a final decision on building the mine later in 2007, with first production expected in either 2010 or 2013.
    The BFS would look into building either a vertical shaft system, estimated to cost R2,14-billion, or an early access decline and vertical shaft system combination, at a cost of R2,04-billion. The vertical shaft option would see first production in 2013, while the decline/shaft combination would fast-track production to start in 2010.
    PTM reported that the average life-of-mine cash operating cost to produce and deliver concentrate was estimated at $47/t and $328/4E oz. The scope of the Western Bushveld Joint Venture has been expanded with the formal contribution to the WBJV of a 50% interest in the mineral rights to the adjacent 494 hectare Portion 11 of the Farm Frischgewaagd 96 JQ ("Portion 11") by Rustenburg Platinum Mines Ltd., a subsidiary of Anglo Platinum Limited.
    The other 50% interest in the mineral rights to Portion 11 is held by Wesizwe Platinum Limited (JSE: WEZ). Wesizwe has published an independently prepared estimate of mineral resources and a pre-feasibility study that include reference to Portion 11.
    The WBJV and Wesizwe also share a total estimated 3,0 million oz inferred resource on a 50/50 basis on the 293 ha property known as RE 4 of the Farm Frischgewaagd 96 JQ adjacent to Portion 11 (18,49 million t grading 5,05 g/t 4E, platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold) as announced by the company on February 7, 2007.
  • War Springs Property, Northern Limb (70%). Inferred resource of 980,000 oz of platinum, palladium, and gold (29,6 million tonnes grading 1,03 g/t 2PGE+Au (0,31 g/t Pt, 0,63 g/t Pd, 0,09 g/t Au), 0,13% Nickel, 0.11% Copper)
  • Tweespalk Property, Northern Limb(70%). Initial exploration results at Tweespalk were encouraging with a reef intersection of four metres grading 4,4 g/t 3 PGEs (platinum, palladium, and gold). Further drilling by PTM did not confirm the up-dip continuity of the economic values in this drilling and the results are being evaluated and modelled to determine if further drilling is warranted on Tweespalk.

Karrick Ltd has a stake in Platmin of approximately 19.9% of the issued share capital of Platmin. Karrick is a Guernsey-registered company and is wholly-owned by Karrick Trust established for various members of the Lakshmi Mittal family.

  • The Plilanesberg project on its Tuschenkomst and Ruighoek properties has the following resources: Tuschenkomst - a measured and indicated mineral resource estimate of 66,8 million tonnes at 2,09 g/t (3PGE+Au) for a total of 4,49 million oz has been defined by SRK at Tuschenkomst. The mineral resource estimate is in the context of bulk mining; Ruighoek -an indicated mineral resource (0-200m below surface) to 12,0 million t at 3,07 g/t (3PGE+Au) for a total of 1,18 million oz. Lonmin increased its stake in this junior platinum stock to 22%, during July, 2007, at C$9.00 a share. Platmin owns the asset base and uncommitted concentrate to graduate to a 500 000 ounce a year fully integrated PGM (platinum group metal) producer by 2012. Mineral Securities Limited ("Minsec") announced in November, 2007, that it had entered into an agreement to purchase, in three tranches, 11,122,049 common shares representing up to 11.5% of the issued and outstanding shares of Platmin Limited ("Platmin"). After completion of the acquisition, Minsec will own 26,351,819 shares representing 27.2% of the issued and outstanding common shares of Platmin. In the 2007 fiscal year, the Company upgraded the resources and completed a Definitive Feasibility Study on the Tuschenkomst and Ruighoek Properties. Further earlier stage exploration remained ongoing on several of the other properties comprising the Pilanesberg Project. In addition four of the properties were transferred into a special purpose vehicle "Pilanesberg Platinum Mines" which then made application for a Mining Right covering Tuschenkomst, Witkleifontein, Rooderand (Portion3) and Ruighoek (various portions). In addition to general exploration, significant expenditure has also been incurred on the Definitive Feasibility Study. The summarized
    results of the DFS are presented below: The positive results of the Pilanesberg Project Feasibility Study ("FS") confirm a robust project. Platmin's Board of Directors has given approval to proceed with the development of the project. DFS completed by SRK Consulting ("SRK"), based on Proven and Probable PGE Mineral Reserves totalling 4.4 million oz of 3PGEs + Au (3.2 Moz attributable to Platmin). Life of Mine is 16 years with production planned to commence early 2009 with an average production rate of 250,000 oz/year 3PGE+Au in concentrate for the first 11 years.
Ridge Mining plc (AIM:RDG)Ridge Mining was back in the black, posting profit of $9.2 million (R63.7 million) in the six months to June, 2007, compared with a loss of $1.6 million in the same period the previous year. The turnaround was due mainly to the sale of the mining group's Fountain Ridge project for $9.8 million. Earnings in the half-year were also boosted by the receipts of $2 million to settle a dispute on the Tjarte project.
The company is developing the $143 million Blue Ridge mine in Mpumalanga. The mine is expected to start production in the fourth quarter of next year, while a feasibility study for its Sheba Ridge project is expected to be completed in December 2007.
Ridge Mining announced in December, 2007, that it had agreed the sale of its 30% interest in C&L Mining & Resources (Pty) Ltd ("C&L") (the company which holds the Western Ridge exploration project) to Sweet Sensation 161 (Pty) Ltd and a number of black empowerment parties. Ridge's share of the consideration after payment of sale commission is Rand 35 million (US$5.1 million).
Following the award of the prospecting licence to C&L, limited exploration has taken place on Western Ridge which is located south of Anglo Platinum's Union Mine on the Western Limb of the Bushveld Complex of South Africa.

  • Blue Ridge Project. Eastern limb of Bushveld Complex. Reserves, proved and probable, of 2,8 million oz (at a grade of 2,8 g/t 4E) and an inferred resource of 5,34 million oz 4E. Trial mining commenced in 2005. Entered into an agreement with Imbani Platinum (Pty) Ltd whereby Imbani will earn 78% by arranging finance for the project. After that Zijin Mining of China paid US$15 million for a 20% stake. The mine was originally expected to produce 125,000 oz a year of four platinum group metals, platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold. Iridium and ruthenium were excluded from the calculation but after the sharp increase in the prices of iridium and ruthenium, the inclusion of these metals could increase forecast production to 150,000 oz a year of the six platinum group metals
  • Sheba's Ridge Project (65%). Eastern limb of Bushveld Complex. Joint venture with Anglo Platinum Ltd. A pre-feasibility study at Sheba’s Ridge, showed a resource of 19 million oz of platinum, palladium and rhodium, together with 1,4 million metric tonnes of nickel and 0,5 million metric tonnes of copper (Pt+ Pd+ Au grade is 0,94 g/t). Feasibility study of the project in which it holds a 60% interest and Anglo Platinum holds 40% commenced in 2005 and should be completed by the end of 2007. Sheba’s Ridge is relatively close to Blue Ridge.
  • Fountain Ridge Project. Western limb of Bushveld Complex. Holds 51% of Madibeng Platinum (Pty) Ltd (Mmakau Mining-30%, and others hold balance) which has a prospecting licence over 3 238 hectares underlain by UG2. Drilling commenced in 2005, but to focus on its two core projects, Ridge sold its 51% interest in the Fountain Ridge property to Madibeng Platinum for R70 million ($9.7 million) and its interests in Fonte Verde, Rooikraal and Red Bush Ridge to Bushveld Platinum plc for R20 million ($2.77 million) in 2006.
  • Fonte Verde Project. The mineralization at the Fonte Verde project is contained within a Bushveld Complex satellite body located approximately 50 kilometres south-east of Pretoria.
  • Red Bush Ridge Project.The Red Bush Ridge, covering 4 462 hectares, comprises the farms Het Fort 329Kt, Corndale 330KT and Landsend 364 KT. The project is down-dip of the Kennedy's Vale project on the Eastern Limb of the Bushveld Complex.

  • Specialises in extracting platinum group metals and chrome from tailings dumps, most of which are owned by Samancor and has a 25% stake in the Chrome Tailings Retreatment Project, in which Aquarius Platinum has a 50% holding. Platinum production started in June, 2007, from its 74% owned projects, with 690 oz a month. It will build up to almost 6,700 oz/month in 18 months when all four planned platinum recovery plants are in operation. Cash costs are predicted to be roughly half those of the platinum miners.
  • Sylvania is also drilling its portion of the Everest North project. Eastern Platinum owns two thirds of the deposit and Sylvania the other third.The resource estimate is 833,000 oz of platinum group metals in the UG2 reef. Platinum makes up 54%, palladium 34% and rhodium 11% of the metals.
  • Wesizwe's portfolio of exploration assets are primarily located on the western limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex comprising Ledig 909JQ, and portions of the farms Frischgewaagd 96JQ, , Mimosa 81JQ and Zandrivierspoort 210JP. The total area is 4,676 hectares. The properties are situated near Rustenburg and are to the south of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve and Sun City, and are referred to as the "Pilanesberg Project". The total inferred mineral resources at the time of listing totalled 63,608 million tonnes at an average grade of 5,09 g/t of 4E (comprising platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold), amounting to 10,417 million oz, of which 6,463 million oz were attributable to Wesizwe. Between the listing and the end of September 2006, the resource estimates indicated and inferred resources increased to 73,519 million tonnes at an average grade of 5,03 g/t PGM(4) for the Pilanesburg Project. Wesizwe's attributable oz increased by 12,6 per cent to 7,272 million oz. During this period, the resources attributed to Wesizwe were 1,478 million oz in the indicated category and 5,794 oz in the inferred category. Wesizwe said in September, 2007, that its attributable resource grew by 19.31% to 8.954 million oz of platinum group metals (PGM) in the six months to June, 2007. The total mineral resource at its Pilanesberg project rose 10.7% to 13.470 million ounces.
    Wesizwe is conducting a bankable feasibility study, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2008 for the project, which is expected to produce around 260 000 ounces of PGMs a year.
As shares triple, analyst says it’s a good time to sell platinum explorer Wesizwe
Platinum high flyer, Wesizwe, may be rated too highly by the market to attract a cash take-over bid from one of the platinum majors.

Author: Tessa Kruger

Posted: Wednesday , 18 Apr 2007

Platinum exploration junior Wesizwe shares are expensive when analysed on the basis of price per resource ounce, making the company an unlikely cash takeover target.
A local analyst said Tuesday that although the share prices of platinum juniors surged over the past few weeks, Wesizwe's performance was exceptional considering its price of US$112.64 per resource ounce (4 PGMs).
The company--with a relatively small resource of 7.2 million ounces on the western limb of the Bushveld complex--did not only climb from R6.45 (US 91-cents) two months ago to an all-time high of R13.70 (US$1.94), but increased steeply from R9.75 (US$1.38) at the beginning of the month April.
Its current price-per-resource ounce exceeded that of other juniors such as Eland Platinum (US$51.06), currently suspected to be in takeover talks, Afplats (US$7.72) for whom Impala has made a bid, and AfriOre, acquired by Lonmin, at US$16.05 per ounce. Wesizwe's price also exceeds that of Eastern Platinum (US$15.92) that has taken over Barplats (US$8.81) and Ridge Mining's price at US$13.26.
"If you consider the platinum junior takeover transactions that were announced this year and the prices that Impala Platinum paid for Afplats, Lonmin paid for AfriOre and Eastern Platinum for Barplats, then there is no chance that a major or other company can make a cash offer for Wesizwe," the analyst said.
Wesizwe was most likely to be bought by a neighbour, but that the deal would have to be done with paper, according to the analyst.
The company is surrounded by the Western Bushveld Joint Venture (WBJV) and Styldrift properties, respectively owned by Platinum Group Metals and Anglo Platinum, and a joint venture between Royal Bafokeng Resources and Anglo Platinum.
The analyst noted that "there has been a rumour of a Wesizwe takeover and a great amount of excitement around corporate action in the platinum industry, but it would not make sense at the price at which it is currently trading."
Wesizwe has not boosted its relative small resource of 7.2 million ounces, nor completed a feasibility study. The spot platinum price should not have a great impact on its share price yet as the company will only start producing platinum in about five years.
"If you really are a long term investor you would have to look at what the price will do in the long term," the analyst advised. He added that there was no other basis to evaluate the explorer than the basis of cost-per-resource ounce, as it had no earnings, turnaround or cash flow yet.
Chief Executive Officer of Wesizwe, Mike Solomon, has stated that the junior company could not be evaluated on this basis.
However, in the analyst's view, now was a good time to sell the share that made a bull run since October, tripling some investors' money.
Solomon told Mineweb earlier that the company would likely be involved in "corporate activity" this year, and that it would like to see one large mine comprising its Ledig-Frisch project and the neighbouring resources of the Western Bushveld Joint Venture. If the projects merged, a platinum mine producing 600,000 ounces of platinum group metals (PGM) annually could result.
Investec Securities platinum analyst Leon Esterhuyzen said there had been a valuation gap in the junior platinum sector, as this was the South African market's first experience of junior mining companies.
He also indicated that investors could not easily expect a repetition of the recent run in the Wesizwe price. (Source: Mineweb)

Wesizwe Platinum announced in April 2007 that had agreed to buy a 26 percent stake in the Western Bushveld joint venture for 650 million rand ($92.50 million).Wesizwe, the investment vehicle for South Africa's Bakubung Ba-Ratheo Tribe, said it would buy African Wide Mineral Prospecting and Exploration Ltd by issuing new shares. That would give it a 26 percent stake in a joint venture with the world's biggest platinum miner Anglo Platinum and Toronto-listed exploration firm Platinum Group Metals.
Wesizwe will issue 62 million shares at 10.48 rand each. The deal also gives it stakes in Platinum Group Metal's exploration projects north of the Western Bushveld project.
Anglo Platinum and Platinum Group Metals each hold 37 percent of the Western Bushveld Joint Venture.

  • The 90%-owned Platreef PGE project is Ivanplat's most well publicized endeavour and sits on the highly prospective northern limb, which could be the next evolutionary stage for South Africa's prolific Bushveld complex, located around 280 km northeast of Johannesburg. Major PGE producer Anglo Platinum operates its Mogalakwena group of properties along strike to the north, and Michael Jones' Vancouver-based Platinum Group Metals is exploring its Waterberg PGE joint venture with the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) even farther north along the Platreef horizon. Ivanplats near term focus at Platreef is an inferred resource identified as containing "favourable PGE grades, and attractive thickness and geometry." The company has identified 175 million inferred tonnes grading 4.6 g/t Pt-Pd-Rh, 0.41% Ni and 0.2% Cu that is looking promising for non-bulk underground mining. According to technical documents the resource lies within a gently dipping portion of the Platreef at depths of between 700 metres and 1,000 metres. Average vertical thickness clocks in at 16.8 metres, with an average grade thickness of 77 grams/metre/tonne Pt-Pd-Rh. Metallurgical flotation test work on high grade portions of Platreef mineralization completed in 2010 returned recoveries to concentrates totalling 63% to 67% Ni, and 63% to 71% Pt-Pd-Rh. Ivanplats maintains there is significant exploration upside to the resource, which remains open along strike for several kilometres, as well as down dip. With two earlier stage drill targets and a 40-km2 swathe of untested ground on its 107-km2 land package, the company appears to have significant blue sky. Over the next 12 months Ivanplat's is focusing on updating its mineral resource at Platreef, as well as applying for permits that would see it receive its mining rights by early 2013. The company intends to break ground on an exploration shaft during the first quarter. To gauge Platreef's potential value it isn’t necessary to look further than a deal Ivanplats cut with Japanese interests Itochu Corporation and ITC Platinum in June 2011. The Japanese companies finalized a deal to purchase an effective 10% in the Platreef project for US$290 million.