Northam’s Zondereinde
mine in the North West
Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 20 August 2010 – Following a year of mixed fortunes, Northam Platinum Limited “’ the only fully independent, black-owned and controlled PGM producer in South Africa “’ reported a solid set of results for the year ended 30 June 2010, underpinned by a creditable operating performance from its Zondereinde mine.  

Commenting on the year’s developments chief executive Glyn Lewis said today that it had been a busy year on many fronts for Northam. “It’s fair to say that the Zondereinde mine again posted a respectable operating performance, with solid production, and sales volumes reaching record levels at almost 400 000oz,” he pointed out.

Lewis said that smelter downtime owing to an incident in the precipitator in the second half of the financial year had been short-lived, and had little impact on output. Following the installation of a temporary bypass around the precipitator the smelter was back in operation, while the final repairs should be completed in the second quarter of the new financial year.

“Importantly, however,” said Lewis, “we now have board approval for the Booysendal project – which promises to be more robust than the initial feasibility work suggested. We are also optimistic about the feasibility of establishing a ConRoast smelting facility in Mpumalanga province – which provides us with more smelting optionality, while reducing our reliance on Eskom,” he added.

Since the completion of the Booysendal feasibility study and the subsequent optimisation exercise, the board has given approval for development of the mine to proceed. “The optimisation study suggests that the project could support a production rate of 187 500 tonnes per month, or 162 000 oz (3PGM+Au) per annum. The capital requirement for this mine would be approximately R3.6 billion,” Lewis revealed.

Activities planned for the early works programme “’ namely detailed engineering, procurement of long lead items, construction of the on-reef box-cut, off-site establishment of employee recruitment, training and accommodation facilities, safe road access to site, and the establishment of construction, power and water facilities “’ are progressing according to plan. Capital expenditure on the project to date is R132.4 million, and the primary construction activities will start as soon as certain outstanding regulatory approvals are obtained.