Shaft 1 at Ivanhoe Mines’ Platreef platinum project has reached a depth of 500 m below surface, more than half way to the planned final depth of 980 m.The 7.25 m diameter Shaft 1, which is expected to reach the Flatreef mineralisation at a depth of approximately 783 m in the third quarter of 2018, will be used for initial access to the Flatreef platinum deposit and early underground development.
The first shaft station, completed in September this year at a depth of 450 m, will be used as an intermediate location for water pumping and shaft-cable termination. As shaft sinking advances, an additional three shaft stations will be developed at mine working depths of 750 m, 850 m and 950 m.
“Our focus is to keep advancing the Platreef project along its critical path,” says Ivanhoe Mines’ executive chairman Robert Friedland.
“Our continued development of shafts 1 and 2 will provide access to the Flatreef deposit and help to ensure that the project is able to meet the scheduled, first phase start-up of the underground mine and concentrator by 2022.”
“Our team is dedicated to building a state-of-the-art mine that will produce metals that are essential to our urbanising planet. It is a mine that matters to all of our stakeholders and an achievement that we will be able to proudly recount to our grandchildren. Building a major, new platinum-group-metals mine in the current market takes long-term vision, unwavering resolve and a clear focus,” Friedland added.
The sinking of Shaft 1 is continuing to advance at a rate of 40 to 50 m/month. Approximately 40% of Platreef’s shaft-sinking team now is comprised of employees from local communities who had no previous mining experience. New employees received intensive, on-site training for underground-mining and completed a workplace-safety induction programme.
“We pride ourselves on having a highly-skilled, safety-focused workforce, and we have been impressed by the willingness of our senior staff to help pass on these skills to the next generation of miners,” says Ivanplats’ MD Dr. Patricia Makhesha.
Platreef development work focused on initial production by 2022
The Platreef project, which contains the Flatreef deposit, is a Tier One discovery by Ivanhoe Mines’ geologists on the Northern Limb of South Africa’s Bushveld Igneous Complex, the world’s premier platinum producing region. Ivanhoe plans to develop the Platreef mine in three phases:
1) An initial rate of 4 Mtpa to establish an operating platform to support future expansions;
2) a doubling of production to eight Mtpa; and
3) expansion to a steady-state 12 Mtpa.
Feature image credit: Ivanplats