At a glanceThe Pilanesberg project has matured into the Pilanesberg Platinum Mine(PPM). The first blast took place in March 2008 with open-cast mining beginning in December 2008. The UG2 plant was commissioned in March 2009 and the Merensky plant in June 2009. Production is being built up and is scheduled to reach forecast monthly steady state production of 20,000 PGM ounces (3PGM+Au) by end-2013, provided the planned volumes of waste stripping can be achieved.
As at December 31, 2010, Pilanesberg mineral resources included those on the Tuschenkomst, Ruighoek, Witkleifontein and Rooderand properties and mineral reserves on the Tuschenkomst and Ruighoek properties.
- Western limb of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa's North West Province
- 80km from Rustenburg
OwnershipSedibelo Platinum Mines Limited (formerly Platmin) – 72.39%;
Bakgatla Pallinghurst JV (Pty) Ltd (“BPJV”) – 25.96% (indirect ownership).
Total project area
- 15,019 hectares
Smelting, refining and marketing
PPM toll treats its PGM concentrate
Open-cast mining operations began at PPM in December 2008.
PPM operates a world-class concentrator with a monthly processing capacity of 417,000 tonnes and a monthly milling capacity of 285,000 tonnes. The mills are designed to process 65,000 tonnes of high-grade UG2 reef and 220,000 tonnes of silicate reefs from the Merensky contact and pothole facies which incorporate the upper and lower Pseudo reefs.
Mine and concentrator operations are outsourced to MCC Contracts (Pty) Ltd (“MCC”) and Minerals Operations Executive (Pty) Limited (“Minopex”) respectively and these companies are developing the skills base of the local community to qualify them for employment at the operations.
PPM is connected to the national electricity grid with 37MVA secured power provided by Eskom and has its own 10MVA power plant which will run either the high-grade UG2 circuit of the concentrator or top up Eskom supply in the event of rationing. Adequate water supplies are secure.
Mineral resources and reserves
- Proven and probable mineral reserve of 2.9 million ounces (3PGE+Au) (2.1 million ounces attributable)
- Measured and indicated mineral resources of 5.2 million ounces (3PGE+Au) (3.8 million ounces attributable)
- Inferred mineral resource of 5.7 million ounces (3PGE+Au) (4.1 million ounces attributable)
- Reef mining ramping up to achieve full production in FY2012
- Ore processing started in March 2009 as planned
- First concentrate delivered for smelting and refining in April 2009
- During 2011, a revised Environmental Management Plan submitted to DMR regarding mine closure, envisaging the creation of the province’s third largest water capture, storage, purification and distribution facility
- Metal sales of 60,067 PGM ounces in financial year to end December 2010 and 39, 791 ounces in H1 FY2011
- Progressive capital expenditure on concentrator and mine development increased to US$563 million at end December 2010
The Pilanesberg Platinum Mine area is characterized by outcropping reef and near-surface resources. The UG2, Merensky and Pseudo reefs are mined simultaneously in a single open pit. The Pilanesberg Mine lies within the Swartklip Facies of the western limb of the Bushveld Complex. The Upper Critical Zone is attenuated and the Merensky Reef and UG2 Chromitite Layer occur within a vertical interval of 20 to 30 meters. The Upper and Lower Pseudo reefs are located between the Merensky Reef and UG2 Chromitite Layer. Locally, additional mineralization occurs in the anorthosite footwall to the (Contact) Merensky Reef and within harzburgite below the Upper Pseudo Reef where the Merensky Reef is potholed. Strike at the Pilanesberg mine is generally north-south with dips generally to the east varying between 5° and 40°. Local variations in strike and dip do occur and are related to primary “folding or doming” within the Bushveld Complex, as well as later faulting.
In March 2011, Sedibelo Platinum Mines Limited (formerly Platmin) announced the acquisition of an incremental 5.99 million 4E PGM inferred resource ounces contained within the western portion of the Sedibelo PGM Project concession (“Sedibelo West”) from the Bakgatla Ba Kgafela Tribe and Itereleng Bakgatla Mineral Resources (Pty) Limited (“IBMR”). Sedibelo West, which is contiguous with and down-dip of the eastern boundary of Tuschenkomst, was acquired for an for an aggregate consideration of US$75 million in cash.
The acquisition of the Sedibelo West property will add significant value to Sedibelo Platinum Mines Limited by:
- materially increasing the PGM mineral base accessible from the existing pit;
- extending the life of mine significantly and
- providing operational flexibility, particularly in the north pit.