Platinum Group Metals Ltd. is based in Vancouver, BC, Canada and Johannesburg, South Africa. Platinum Group has a solid management team with successful track records of more than 20 years in exploration, mine discovery, mine construction and mine operations.
The Company was formed in 2000 and is focused on the development of platinum operations. It holds significant mineral rights in the Bushveld Igneous Complex of South Africa, host to 80% of the World's platinum production. View a demonstration of how the Bushveld was formed.
The Company is focused on moving its first, high-grade, near-surface Western Bushveld Joint Venture (WBJV) platinum deposit to production - Project 1. A positive Final Feasibility Study for the Project 1 platinum mine was published on July 7, 2008.
Subject to regulatory and other approvals and the completion of definitive agreements Platinum Group will have a 74% ownership of Project 1 under the restructuring announced September 2nd.
Platinum Group also holds a 100 square kilometre position in the Sable Joint Venture adjoining a recent Xstrata takeover land position.
Famed investor George Soros' Soros Fund Management disclosed a couple updates to positions Monday. After a flurry of stock activity on Oct. 22, the fund disclosed holdings of 15.5 million shares, or a 9.7% stake, in Platinum Group Metals Ltd., a mining firm based in Vancouver, Canada and Johannesburg, South Africa. According to FactSet Lionshares, Soros had a 1.5 million-share stake in the firm at the end of June
The Waterberg project is located north of the known North Limb of the Bushveld Complex. This extension of the Bushveld was discovered in 2011 by Platinum Group Metals after execution of a drilling program, through the covering Waterberg sedimentary rock package, guided by geophysics and soil sampling.
An initial 6.6 million ounce 3E (Platinum, Palladium and Gold) inferred mineral resource estimate for the newly discovered deposit was announced on September 5th, 2012 (see details at www.sedar.com). The inferred mineral resource estimate includes both "T" and "F" mineralized layers. The most important layers are the 3 to 6 metre thick "T1" and "T2" layers. The T layers are very well correlated in terms of geochemical markers and lithology and have a characteristic metal split of approximately 48% Palladium, 29% Platinum and 23% Gold. Within the "F" layer are two sub-layers which are approximately 5.27 metres thick on average, having an approximate metal split of 63% Palladium and 33% Platinum with 4% Gold. The resource considers the first 16 holes of 34 holes completed.
On September 17th 2012, the Company announced the new discovery area of layered mineralization had been significantly explanded outside of the declared inferred resources of 6.6 million ounces. The initial resource covers a strike length of 1.8 kilometres on the T layers and 2.8 kilometers on the "F" layers. Intercepts have been made on the T1 and T2 layers that expand the area for approximately 1.5 kilometers northeast from the initial resource area and on the "FH" and "FP" the layers new intercepts have also expanded this area for approximately 2.5 kilometers.
Exploration Potential and Plans
Waterberg is Extraordinary Because:
- It is a discovery of a new section of the Bushveld Complex - the complex is a geological wonder of the world.
- The Waterberg deposit has grade thickness that exceeds many of the world's platinum mines.
- The deposit comes within 100m of a surface at a time when deep shafts are the norm.
- The deposit is open along strike, drilling has recently doubled its size beyond the initial resource and it is still open.
- The basket metal price for T1 and T2 reefs is attractive and high in gold.
History of the Waterberg Discovery
How Could this Happen?
In 2009, Platinum Group Metals filed prospecting permits by application covering 137 square kilometers of the north end of the known North Limb of the Bushveld Complex. The idea for the acquisition of the claims came from the formation of a "New Business Unit" in 2007. Top South African academic and industry geologists were retained on a consulting basis with the specific task of coming up with brand new ideas for platinum exploration beyond the limits of the classic model of the Bushveld Complex, which dates back to 80 years ago. This group cam up with 85 ideas and ranked them. Platinum Group Metals staked the top four ideas, with Waterberg being one of them. We continue to examine greenfield and brownfield exploration opportunities that are "out of the box" based on historic assumptions. This work took place while exploration for PGMs was declining.
In Octover 2009, a joint venture agreement with JOGMEC to earn a 37% project interest for $3.2 million in exploration work was finalized. Exploration work commenced in 2010. Platinum Group Metals retained a 37% interest, while a Black Economic Empowerment
group held a 26% interest. On November 7, 2011, Platinum Group Metals acquired 49.9% of the issued and outstanding shares of the BEE company from the existing shareholders in exchange for cash payments totaling R 1.2 million. The Company also assumed the duty to pay for the BEE company's 26% share of project costs to feasibility. When combined with the Company's 37% direct interest in the Waterberg Project, the 12.974% indirect interest acquired through the BEE company brings Platinum Group Metals' effective project interest to 49.974%. The BEE company remains over 50% held and controlled by historically disadvantaged South Africans. Platinum Group Metals is the operator of the project.
The basic idea for exploration at Waterberg was based on the potential for an extension of the Bushveld Complex where almost no exploration had occurred before. JOGMEC funded detailed work over a large area including geology, gravity and magnetic surveys.
The likelihood the Bushveld existed under sedimentary cover at shallow depths was quite high with geochemistry indicating a unique geological setting. Soils hundreds of meters above the Bushveld contained elevated levels of copper, nickel and platinum group elements. The first holes intersected shallow Bushveld with the first mineralized layers becoming apparent in the third drill hole WESTERN BUSHVELD JV
The WBJV Project 1 has advanced to construction. We are currently focused on developing our underground access decline tunnels.
Operations on site have included the establishment of surface infrastructure, connection to the grid and pipelines for power and water, completion of two surface "box cut" excavations for getting at hard rock and the commencement of underground tunneling of twin declines. All of this has been done with a team of approximately 370 people over one year. We have done this safely and efficiently.
The WBJV Project 1 Platinum Mine is owned 74% by Platinum Group Metals Ltd. and 26% by Wesizwe Platinum Limited (WEZ-JSE). Wesizwe is owned 45% by Jinchuan Group, a state owned company from China. Wesizwe is building the adjoining Bakubung Platinum Mine, a deeper mine with a cost recently estimated at USD$1.5 billion. The WBJV Project 1 operating level company Maseve has worked well with Wesizwe to research potential synergies over the past year. A proposal for a joint processing facility with Wesizwe-Jinchuan has been discussed but no decision has been made to move forward at this time.
The mine building teams in the area of the WBJV are also working well together. The Wesizwe-Jinchuan, Royal Bafokeng Platinum and Platinum Group Metals teams meet regularly to discuss synergies from basic infrastructure to training and security. Social and training responsibilities are an area where synergies are being achieved. For example, the training center at the adjoining Royal Bafokeng Platinum BRPM mine is being accessed by WBJV Project 1 contractors.
Operations and construction at the WBJV Project 1 Platinum Mine have proceeded uninterrupted through 2012. Underground development has steadily accelerated due to good underground rock conditions and consistent, systematic operating procedures. Our mining contractor, JIC Mining Services has adopted our operating, communication and local hiring approaches.
Platinum Group Metals added to its operating team during the year including project management and safety supervision personnel. DRA Group, an experienced EPCM (Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management) engineering firm, has also provided additional management support. The teams have worked well together and this is reflected in the solid development performance.
The second phase of the mine development involving the south declines and the construction of the mill facilities will proceed immediately upon completion of the senior loan facility and equity financing. However, the south box cut, originally in the Phase 2 plan, was added to our Phase 1 construction program and has now been completed. The south underground declines are ready to start.
The planned mining method is "conventional" with mechanized development. The conventional mining method involves a large labour component and is a proven reliable, safe mining method with less dilution of the ore with surrounding waste rock compared to full mechanized mining.
The target of early mining is the Merensky Reef which is higher in grade than the UG-2 layer, also mined in the Western Limb of the Bushveld Complex. In our case, both layers are near to surface. The UG-2 layer will be mined in the second half of the mine plan.
From a smelting perspective, Merensky concentrate is more attractive than UG-2 concentrate as it has lower chrome content and requires less processing. Chrome is a penalty element in platinum smelters. The majority of platinum mined in South Africa is now UG2 associated resulting in significant demand for Merensky based concentrate. The desirability of the WBJV Merensky concentrate has been confirmed by the recent off-take agreement in process with Anglo Platinum, the world's largest PGM producer.
The mill is designed to process 140,000 to 160,000 tonnes per month of ore from the underground mine. The target for commissioning of the plant is in 2014.
|Project Objective: ||To develop a world class, safe, modern, profitable platinum mine |
|Safety Record: ||940,000 man hours worked with only two minor lost time incidents, 370 persons on site at time of writing |
|Completed: || |
- Surface infrastructure, power and water connection, civil engineering and North Box Cut
- a 700m of twin decline tunnel development
- a 5m by 5m and 6m by 4m tunnels, lateral connections underground
- a South Decline Box Cut
|Scale: ||275,000 ounces of Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium and Gold/yr 4E Steady State |
|Metals Rations Merensky: ||64% PT, 27% Pd, 4% Rh, 5% Au |
|Metals Ratio UG-2: ||63% Pt, 26% Pd, 10% Rh, 1% Au |
|Production Target: ||2014 |
|Permit Stage: ||Mining Right approved on April 4, 2012 |
|Access & Infrastructure: ||Paved highway, 30 min from Rustenburg smelters, power and water connected, adjacent to 70% of world's platinum mines |
|Initial Investment: ||USD$100M funded and near completion |
|Estimated Capital Cost: ||USD$506 million |
|Resources: ||8.2 million ounces 4E just on Project 1 (M+1) |
|Reserves: ||4.7 million ounces 4E (P+P) |
|Mine Life: ||20 years+ |
|By Products: ||Nickel, Copper, Iridium and Osmium |
|Project Debt Planned: ||USD$260 million |
|Project Advance: ||700 meters of twin underground development |
|Ore Intercept Target: ||Calendar early 2013 |
|Project Schedule: ||10 weeks behind target set in January 2011 |
|Banking Mandate Leads: ||Barclays/Absa, Standard Bank, Societe Generale and CAT |
|Banking Stage: ||Technical and legal due diligence complete and now in final credit committee approval process |
|Hedging: ||Pt minimal, focused on by-products Pd, Au, Base Metals |