[miningmx.com] — EASTERN Platinum, South Africa’s sixth-largest platinum group metals producer, on Thursday said the company had the potential to increase its production to 600 000 ounces per annum.
Releasing details of its development plan for its PGM (platinum group metals) assets on the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa, Eastplats said
production from the eastern limb alone could contribute about 400,000 ounces.
The company is currently developing the Crocodile River Mine’s Crocette underground mine, which was progressing as planned with the company on track to
increase production to 210 000 ounces per annum from existing operations at CRM
by the end of 2013.
Additional expansion opportunities exist at the CRM complex on the western limb
with the potential future development of the Kareespruit underground mine.
But it is the company’s other properties that hold the key to unlocking further the
“Our multiple properties on the eastern limb provide us with several options for
further production expansion depending on market conditions,” said Eastplats
president and CEO Ian Rozier.
“We have balanced our risks through this phased approach which in our view is
both rational and achievable, and we are confident that we can execute this growth plan and deliver value to our shareholders. Phase 1 alone will increase our production by over 100% from our 2009 production level,” noted Rozier.
In terms of the company’s development plan, an increase in annual production to
325 000 ounces per annum will be achieved by developing the Mareesburg open-pit
mine and building a new 90 000 tonne per month concentrator to be located on the
Kennedy’s Vale site.
As the Mareesburg open-pit is depleted, the production level from the eastern limb
will be supplemented and increased to 135 000 ounces per annum with the
development of the Spitzkop underground mine.
Additional future production of 30 000 ounces per annum will be available from
the development of the Mareesburg underground mine, with the De Goedegevagting
(DGV) and Kennedy’s Vale deposits each having the potential to produce an
additional 120 000 ounces per annum of PGM.
“Eastplats plans to take a phased approach to development of its eastern limb
projects as this will mitigate the risks associated with multiple new mines and a new
processing facility being under construction at the same time, and optimizing capital
requirements,” Eastplats said.
It added that should market conditions permit, it has the flexibility to immediately
initiate the proposed production build-up at the Spitzkop, Mareesburg, DGV and
Kennedy’s Vale underground mines after the construction of the Kennedy’s Vale
concentrator is complete.
The capital cost for Phase 1 is estimated to be $227m and will produce about 115 000 ounces per annum of PGM.
Phase 1 build out will take approximately 18 months from approval to proceed and
will have a five year mine life, during which time the Spitzkop mine will be developed.
A number of financing options for Phase 1 are currently being considered and the
Company expects to provide an update in the second half of 2010.