South Africa – TSX/NYSE-listed platinum company Platinum Group Metals has expanded the current budget for its Waterberg project from US $8 million to $8.5 million for the annual period ending March 31, 2016.
The budget is fully funded by joint venture partner the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC). Platinum Group holds a direct and indirect interest of 58.62% in Waterberg and is the project operator.
The current budget has been expanded by moving funding forward from the next budget period. This provides for immediate new drilling targeted to expand recently identified shallow areas of F Zone mineralisation of greater than 10 m in thickness.
The objective is to delineate indicated category resources with the best grade thickness that are accessible early in the project from decline ramps.
Twelve drill rigs are being mobilised to the Waterberg site. The expanded drill programme is to be completed by 31 March 2016, followed shortly by an updated resource calculation, which will be incorporated into a pre-feasibility study already in progress for the project.
Additional drilling will also be focused on expanding upon an intercept of the T Zone grading 5.84 g/t platinum, palladium and gold (3E) (1.80 g/t Pt, 2.86 g/t Pd, 1.18 g/t Au) over 19 m (15 m true width) at a depth of 812 m – 831 m.
These thicker F and T Zones are in contrast to typical South African platinum deposits with a thickness of 1 m that are mined manually.
The current deposit scale is more than 360 Mt. The objective of the current drilling is to target the best grade thickness in the shallowest locations.
The deposit has shallow regions where grid areas measuring 250 m x 250 m are estimated to host more than 0.5 million 3E resource ounces each. Targeting the best areas of shallow mineralisation within these regions along the 13 km open strike length of the Waterberg project is critical to optimising the pre-feasibility design.
Additional resources above 200 m deep may play an important role in the initial years of the ramp-up profile of the pre-feasibility mine design.
“We are very fortunate to have a sound technical partner in JOGMEC. Their commitment allows us to execute one of the most active drill programmes in southern Africa with the objective of growing indicated resources in a world-class project for an on-going pre-feasibility study,” says R. Michael Jones, President, CEO and Co-founder of Platinum Group.
“The ongoing work programs and large potential at Waterberg combined with the commissioning of our first platinum mine at the WBJV Project 1 demonstrate a level of business activity that is in contrast to current market conditions. Project 1 is in hot commissioning now and is scheduled for first production shortly.”
Pre-feasibility engineering on the Waterberg deposit, including optimisation of the metallurgical flow sheet using South African and Japanese expertise, is continuing. Engagement with utilities for the delivery of bulk services also continues. Mine planning and optimisation using fully mechanised methods is also ongoing.
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