The feasibility study released by Platinum Group Metals on the Western Bushveld Joint Venture (WBJV) has scheduled for underground production from the planned mine in late 2010. The mine design includes the construction of a concentrator to produce between 235,000 and 271,000 ounces a year of 4E (platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold) in concentrate over a steady state of nine years with a 22 year total underground mine life. The project’s average operating margin on three year trailing metals prices including minor elements and copper and nickel is estimated at US$739 per 4E ounce over the life of mine.
The partners in the WBJV are Platinum Group Metals Ltd. 37% (operator), Anglo Platinum (37%) and Wesizwe Platinum (26%).
Michael Jones, president of Platinum Group Metals says, “Since the pre-feasibility study was published we have optimised the mine design with earlier access to ore, improved the ramp-up rate on higher grade material, and added 1.12 million ounces to the mine plan. Due mainly to market cost trends we also have higher costs as compared to our earlier designs. These cost increases have been offset by higher metal prices
The capital cost for the mine and concentrator complex are R4.0 billion for peak funding and R5.5 billion for life of mine funding. The capital cost estimate includes R500 million for self-generation of the electrical requirements of the project to the end of 2012 at full production levels. This includes the entire infrastructure for power including diesel storage. These costs were not included in the January 2007 pre-feasibility study model. If grid power becomes available it will significantly reduce electricity costs. Eskom has indicated that an allocation of 2 MW should be available for the construction phase of the project.