South Africa – 17 drill rigs are on site and have commenced drilling with the objectives of defining the shallowest areas of the current 102 Mt reserve for increased confidence and detailed mine planning and to upgrade a portion of the indicated resources to measured resources for reserve consideration in the DFS. Immediate areas for in-fill drilling include the Northern and Boundary Super F zones.
The scope of work and plans for the DFS during 2017 and 2018 have been agreed in detail by the Technical Committee. Members of the committee represent the Company and all other Waterberg Project partners; Impala Platinum, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) and Mnombo Wethu Consultants.
Stantec Consulting International LLC and DRA Projects SA have been selected as the lead independent project engineers based on a detailed, professionally supervised tendering process. Stantec will focus on underground mining engineering and design and reserve estimation. DRA will focus on metallurgy, plant design, infrastructure and cost estimation.
The Waterberg project has a number of highly attractive characteristics, which indicate it will be a low-cost, shallow, bulk mineable project with significant scale and growth potential.
The recent participation of Implats, the world’s second largest platinum producer with fully integrated mine to market operations, represents a significant step in the advancement of the Waterberg Project towards potential development and production.
“We are very pleased with the work completed by the Technical Committee. The mine building and operating experience of the technical team, including Implats and the newly appointed engineers, alongside our own discovery team, are working with an excellent “best for value of the project” attitude,” says R. Michael Jones, CEO of Platinum Group.
“In our joint venture we have perspectives ranging from geology to metals marketing, including contributions from South Africa, the USA, Canada and Japan. Waterberg, which is palladium dominant, is modelled for fully mechanised production and has the potential to be amongst the lowest operating cost mines in the PGM sector.”
Current PGE probable reserves at the Waterberg project (100%) are 12.3 Moz, comprising 61% palladium, 30% platinum, 8% gold and 1% rhodium plus 191 million and 333 million pounds of copper and nickel respectively and will be updated as part of the DFS.
Much of the Waterberg project area remains to be drilled and assessed. The deposit remains open down dip and along strike.
The detailed scope of work for the DFS will investigate two options:
- Option 1; a 600 000 tpm mine (744 000 oz PGEs per year) as outlined in the PFS, and
- Option 2; a lower capital option at 250 000 – 350 000 tpm. Early optimisation work by the project team to detail the potential for Option 2 using the three decline mechanised mining modules in sequence are encouraging with the potential to optimise the mine plan.
Current drilling at Waterberg is focused on the higher-grade areas of the large-scale deposit.
The estimation of mineral reserves has taken into account environmental, permitting and legal, title, taxation, socio-economic, marketing and political factors. Based on the cut-off grade and a maximum depth cut-off of 1 250 m the probable reserve will support an 18-year mine life.