Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 29 October 2008 – Emerging South African platinum producer Wesizwe Platinum Limited is going ahead with plans to develop its flagship mine which it views as viable in the long term despite current weak metal prices.
Reuters reports that the black-owned company – which has transformed itself this year from an exploration player into a platinum producer – is working on the Frischgewaagd-Ledig project on the Western Bushveld with a view to starting production in 2011, and reaching full output by 2016.
The estimated life of the project is 35 years, producing an average of 350 000 ounces per annum of platinum group metals by 2016, and it is due to start earning cash between 2013 and 2016. It will have an underground mine and a surface concentrator plant.
The company says it expects the markets to recover over the next five years. Platinum hit a record high of US$2290 an ounce in March, but the metal has fallen in price to near five-year lows after vehicle makers cut demand.
Current PGM prices are untenably low and should correct to more realistic levels by 2011, Wesizwe said.
"We are reluctant to risk shareholder value further by delaying the Frischgewaagd-Ledig project unnecessarily because of current market conditions, while losing sight of inevitable future corrections to the market that should manifest before or at the time we commence production,” Wesizwe CEO Michael Solomon said in a statement.