Crocodile River mine 
Vancouver, Canada — 14 June 2012 – As a result of continued issues facing the platinum industry, Eastern Platinum Limited “’ Canada’s leading platinum group metals producer “’ is to temporarily suspend stoping at Zandfontein section of its Crocodile River mine (CRM), and to embark on a 12 to 18 month development programme.

The company, which last month halted funding of its Mareesburg mine and Kennedy’s Vale concentrator plant in South Africa, also ended a US$100 million financing package to develop the Mareesburg mine.

A company statement issued here said the CRM development programme “would focus on on-reef development by ‘wideraising/winzing’ in preparation for increased future stoping production, as well as off-reef development of the new service decline and the 5, 6 and 7-level footwall drives.  Over 18 months, this plan would result in the completion of up to 28 raise lines available for mining, as well as providing production of UG2 reef for plant feed,” it said.  

“Combined with the continued construction and equipping of underground infrastructure and the new chairlift-conveyor, this development plan would provide the necessary stope availability to sustain significantly greater production levels over the long term with lower unit costs,” the statement added. “Additionally, the deeper levels of the mine will be developed for production securing the long-term future of the operation”.  

At the Maroelabult section, on-reef mining operations would continue, along with the development of major conveyor development ends, with the objective of achieving a sustainable production target of 30,000tpm. Overhead and administrative costs across the company’s operations would also be targeted for reduction, and non-critical capital expenditures would be deferred to beyond 2013.

In keeping with the South African Labour Relations Act, CRM management will commence the required consultation process with potentially affected employees and their representatives to review the need for possible restructuring and the potential implications to staffing levels as a result of the proposed plan.

The capital expenditure required to implement the proposed development plan would be funded by cash generated from on-reef mining operations at both Zandfontein and Maroelabult, cash on hand, and the sale of mining equipment and real estate assets owned by CRM that are surplus to requirements.  

Following the consultation period and final costing exercise to be conducted over the next 30 days, the company says it will be in a position to provide guidance for production for both 2012 and 2013.

Eastern Platinum is the second producer to react this week to the negative issues facing the platinum industry. Falling prices have also forced Aquarius Platinum Limited “’ the world’s fourth-largest platinum producer “’ to announce that it would suspend operations at its Marikana joint venture in South Africa.

Source: Eastern Platinum Limited. For more information, click here.