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Ivanhoe Mines has secured long-term supply of treated bulk water for its Platreef platinum, palladium, nickel, copper and gold mine in South Africa.

Robert Friedland, executive chairman of Ivanhoe Mines and CEO Lars-Eric Johansson,  announced a new agreement that provide local, treated water to supply most of the bulk water needed for the first phase of production at the Platreef platinum-group metals, nickel, copper and gold mine now being constructed in South Africa.

Ivanhoe Mines' 64%-owned subsidiary, Ivanplats, signed a memorandum of agreement on 3 May 2018, with the Mogalakwena local Municipality for the supply of a minimum of five million litres of treated water a day for 32 years, beginning in 2022, from the town of Mokopane’s new Masodi Treatment Works.

Ivanplats expects to begin receiving a small quantity of processed wastewater this year after the Masodi plant has been commissioned.

Further treatment will be conducted at the Platreef Mine’s on-site filtration plant to ensure compliance with Ivanplats’ quality standards.

The initial supply will be used in Platreef’s ongoing underground mine development, including drilling, and surface infrastructure construction.

Friedland notes that the agreement is an important milestone in Platreef’s development.

“Our ability to re-use this assured supply of extensively upgraded wastewater that can be produced by the modern Masodi plant from flows it receives from local households and offices is a cost-effective and sustainable approach," says Friedland.

"Similar, industrial-quality water has long been used in some mining operations.

“Masodi will provide most of the water we need to process our ore and, at the same time, help to minimize Platreef’s environmental footprint.

"Our commitment to effectively manage environmental impacts of our operations is central to Ivanhoe’s undertaking to build some of the ‘greenest’ mines in the world,” he adds.

“We are on course to develop Platreef into South Africa’s next great platinum-group metals mine, while ensuring that we do it in a way that is environmentally responsible and resource efficient," notes Ivanplats’ MD Dr. Patricia Makhesha.

"Our water-supply partnership with Mogalakwena is an important step toward our goal of achieving a balance of economic prosperity, environmental stewardship and social responsibility," she continues.

In July 2017, Ivanplats published its independent, definitive feasibility study for the first phase, four-million-tonne-per-annum (Mtpa) development of the Platreef Mine, approximately eight kilometres from Mokopane.

Processing of ore at the mine is projected to begin in 2022.

Ivanplats estimates that it will require approximately 7.5 million litres/day (Ml/day) of bulk water during the first-phase of steady-state production.

A water-balance model developed for the mine calls for the bulk water for the first phase of production to consist of five Ml/day from the Masodi treatment plant, with the balance provided from ground water from local, licensed boreholes and rainwater collected in storage ponds at the mine.