Eastplats to study PGM tailings project from mothballed Crocodile River mine

EASTERN Platinum (Eastplats) is to assess the feasibility of building a 20,000 to 30,000 ton per month platinum group metals (PGMs) tailings re-treatment plant at its Zandfontein deposit, the company said today.

It signed a ‘project framework agreement’ with black-owned Advanced Beneficiation Technologies (ABT), part of the Omang Group which is led by CEO, Sipho Mofokeng, the former head of project development at Mvelaphanda Resources.

ABT will fund the study which, if accepted, will form the foundation of a joint venture between it and Barplats, a subsidiary of Eastplats. The two entities will then seek funding for the project.

Barplats will supply the material and related infrastructure for PGMs processing from the Zandfontein Tailings Dam, establish an appropriate off-take agreement, and support the project through both executive management and administration, it said. ABT will operate the plant.

“This venture is a new potential revenue source for the company without any additional capital funding obligations and an opportunity to recover PGMs from the tailings redeposited onto the Zandfontein Tailings Dam,” said Diana Hu, CEO of Eastplats.

Eastplats currently processes tailings at Zandfontein UG2 tailings facility from which it extracts chrome concentrate.

Commenting on the effects of Covid-19, Eastplats said it could not estimate the impact of the virus on the project, current operations, new lockdowns or policies imposed by the South African government “… all of which could potentially have material adverse effects on the company’s business, liquidity and cashflows”.