Tag Archives: rhodium

Ivanhoe advances Platreef development studies after Moolmans completes sinking

Ivanhoe Mines has announced another milestone at the Platreef platinum group metals project in South Africa, with construction complete at the 996-m level station of Shaft 1.

The achievement, completed well ahead of the contractual schedule, according to Ivanhoe, positions the company to equip Platreef’s initial production shaft, if it chooses to proceed with phased development of the mine on the Northern Limb of South Africa’s Bushveld Complex.

Sinking was carried out by contractor Moolmans, with the project remaining ‘Fall-of-Ground’ incident free since shaft sinking operations began in July 2016, the company said. On top of this, in June 2020, Moolmans and the Platreef team achieved South Africa shaft sinking industry leader status in terms of safety performance, according to Ivanhoe, which owns 64% of the project through Ivanplats.

Ivanhoe’s Co-Chairmen, Robert Friedland and Yufeng “Miles” Sun, said: “Given the flurry of recent transactions in precious metals markets, we are actively exploring a number of options that can help us unlock Platreef’s extraordinary value for the benefit of all Ivanhoe stakeholders.

“After all, Platreef is among this planet’s largest precious metals deposits.”

Platreef now has a completed shaft within a few hundred metres of the initial high-grade mining zone, according to Friedland and Sun.

“We have a mining licence, we have water and we have a team of highly-skilled employees,” they said. “The deposit has enormous quantities of palladium, platinum, rhodium, nickel and copper; and it has more ounces of gold than many leading gold mines.”

They concluded: “Given the current precious metals environment, I am confident that the pending studies will showcase the exceptional economics that one would expect from such a thick, high-grade and flat-lying deposit.”

Ivanhoe is updating the Platreef project’s 2017 definitive feasibility study (DFS) to account for development schedule advancement since 2017 when the DFS was completed, as well as updated costs and refreshed metal prices and foreign exchange assumptions.

The DFS for Platreef covered the first phase of production at an initial mining rate of 4 Mt/y, estimating Platreef’s initial average annual production rate would be 476,000 oz of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold, plus 21 MIb (9,525 t) of nickel and 13 MIb (5,897 t) of copper.

Concurrently, Ivanhoe is finalising a preliminary economic assessment for the phased development production plan for Platreef. The plan targets significantly lower initial capital to accelerate first production by using Shaft 1 as the mine’s initial production shaft, followed by expansions to the production rate as outlined in the 2017 DFS, Ivanhoe said.

“The re-evaluation is being done in parallel with the ongoing mine development work to access the thick, high-grade, flat-lying Flatreef deposit that was discovered in 2010 and outlined in the Platreef 2017 feasibility study,” it said.

The new auxiliary winder for the 7.25 m diameter Shaft 1, which is scheduled to be delivered to Platreef later this year, will be used to assist in equipping the shaft; and thereafter for logistics, shaft examination and auxiliary functions. The auxiliary winder will provide a second means of ingress and egress from the shaft after removal of the stage winder.

Shaft 1 is around 350 m away from a high-grade area of the Flatreef orebody, planned for bulk-scale, mechanised mining.

Ivanhoe looks to align Platreef mine advance with palladium, rhodium price run

Ivanhoe Mines says it is fast-tracking a feasibility study on a smaller-scale, early-stage development plan at its Platreef palladium, platinum, nickel, copper, gold and rhodium project, in the Bushveld Complex of South Africa.

The move comes as spot prices of palladium and rhodium – two key metals contained in the Platreef ore – have soared in recent months. This has propelled Platreef’s ‘metals-price basket’ to a new, all-time high, Ivanhoe said.

Palladium prices surpassed a record $2,100/oz recently as stricter air-quality rules continue to boost demand for the metal used in vehicle pollution-control devices, while the price of rhodium has surged 32% already this month, attaining a price of more than $8,200/oz – the highest price since it hit more than $10,000/oz in 2008.

Ivanhoe’s plan would accelerate the mine’s first production by using Shaft 1 as the mine’s initial production shaft, followed by expansions to the production rate outlined in the project’s 2017 definitive feasibility study (DFS), it said. Ivanhoe’s smaller-scale mine design would also be optimised to target the highest-grade areas of the mineral resource in close vicinity to Shaft 1.

Platreef’s Shaft 1 currently is at a depth of 957 m below surface. It is scheduled to be completed to a final depth of around 1,000 m by the end of July. Work on Shaft 1’s 950-m-level station (pictured) – the shaft’s third and final station – is expected to be completed in March 2020.

Shaft 1 was previously expected to become the primary ventilation shaft during the project’s initial 4 Mt/y production case, with Shaft 2, around 100 m northeast of Shaft 1, providing primary access to the mining zones.

Platreef has an estimated 26.8 Moz of palladium in indicated resources, and an additional 43 Moz in inferred resources. This is in addition to an estimated 1.8 Moz of rhodium in indicated resources and an additional 3.1 Moz in inferred resources. Both of these are at a 2 g/t 3PE+gold cutoff.

In July 2017, Ivanhoe, which indirectly owns 64% of the Platreef project through its subsidiary, Ivanplats, issued an independent DFS for Platreef covering the first phase of production at an initial mining rate of 4 Mt/y. The DFS estimated Platreef’s initial average annual production rate would be 476,000 oz of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold, plus 21 MIb (9,525 t) of nickel and 13 MIb (5,897 t) of copper.

Pre-sink of Shaft 2 at Ivanhoe’s Platreef underground project months away

In a review of exploration and development activities in 2018, Ivanhoe Mines has gone into some detail on developments at Shaft 2 at the Platreef PGM-nickel-copper-gold project on the northern limb of South Africa’s Bushveld Complex.

This follows a project update issued just after the Mining Indaba event in February.

Shaft 1, expected to reach its final depth of 982 m below surface in early 2020, will ultimately become the primary ventilation shaft during the project’s initial 4 Mt/y production case, but Shaft 2, around 100 m northeast of Shaft 1, will provide primary access to the mining zones.

Ivanhoe said Shaft 2 will have an internal diameter of 10 m, will be lined with concrete and sunk to a planned, final depth of more than 1,104 m below surface.

It will be equipped with two 40-t rock-hoisting skips capable of hoisting a total of 6 Mt/y of ore – the single largest hoisting capacity at any mine in Africa. The headgear for the permanent hoisting facility was designed by South Africa-based Murray & Roberts Cementation.

Ivanhoe said nine blasts were successfully completed in 2018 enabling the excavation of Shaft 2’s box cut to a depth of approximately 29 m below surface and the construction of the concrete hitch (shaft collar foundation) for the 103-m-tall concrete headgear (preparations pictured here) that will house the shaft’s permanent hoisting facilities and support the shaft collar.

Excavation of the box cut and construction of the hitch foundation is expected to be completed in the June quarter, enabling the beginning of the pre-sink, that will extend 84 m below surface, it said.

In July 2017, Ivanhoe, which indirectly owns 64% of the Platreef project through its subsidiary, Ivanplats, issued an independent, definitive feasibility study (DFS) for Platreef covering the first phase of production at an initial mining rate of 4 Mt/y. The DFS estimated Platreef’s initial, average annual production rate would be 476,000 oz of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold, plus 21 MIb (9,525 t) of nickel and 13 MIb (5,897 t) of copper.

Eurasia and Uralmetmash agree on West Kytlim PGM-gold mining contract

Eurasia Mining has signed a mining contract for the 2019 season at its West Kytlim platinum, palladium, rhodium, iridium and gold mine in the Ural mountains of Russia.

Kosvinsky Kamen (KK), Eurasia’s subsidiary, and Uralmetmash (formerly Techstroy) have signed a pact that will see the latter carry out mining of platinum group metals and gold at West Kytlim.
Mining at West Kytlim is seasonal as the alluvial process relies heavily on running water. Work normally commences as the snow melts on site in late March or early April and proceeds until November.

The directors of Techstroy, the contractor employed at the West Kytlim mine for the 2018 season which achieved production well in excess of target (a total of 165 kg raw platinum against a targeted 100 kg), registered a new company, Uralmetmash, as a special purpose vehicle to focus on the West Kytlim.

Eurasia said the roles and responsibilities of each of the parties shall remain largely as before, with Uralmetmash responsible for pit development, mining, ore trucking, washing and disintegration, and KK responsible for concentrate upgrade, shipment of mine product and distribution of metal sales revenues.

The London-listed mining company said Uralmetmash intended to move on site immediately to prepare for mining, to include stripping of overburden and stockpiling of ore in preparation for washing, which can commence once the seasonal thaw is underway. The thaw can be expected sometime in April 2019.

The work will continue initially at the Kluchiki area, where work ended on schedule in November.

As part of the deal with Uralmetmash, the platinum revenues will be split on a 65%/35% basis, in favour of the contractor.

In the meantime, the refinery contract between KK and the Urals precious metal refinery has also been renegotiated to include an extra percent payment on the LME platinum prices (now at 98% LME, from 97% in 2018).

Eurasia Mining Executive Chairman, Christian Schaffalitzky, said: “We are pleased to be working again with the team that proved so effective during 2018. They were a very efficient operator last year, with a zero accident record, and financially motivated to develop the asset in a sensible manner.

“Furthermore, we are looking at ways to improve metal recoveries, based on the measured efficiency of the existing process flowsheet. We look forward to updating shareholders on progress and also our longer term development strategy for the West Kytlim reserves and resources before the season commences.”

Eurasia and KK personnel continue to work on an enlarged exploration programme for West Kytlim, to include the recently approved Flanks exploration licence and ensure adequate reserves are available for future mining seasons.

Work on analysis of the previous mining season’s performance has commenced and a sampling programme has been outlined for the tailings of the 2018 season. This information will be inputted to proposed modifications to the current circuit, with the possible addition of a jig to recover finer raw platinum fractions. The addition of a hopper to better control the loading of gravels to the front of the circuit, and achieve a more constant flow of material into the trommel, is also expected to improve recoveries during the 2019 season.