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Booysendal South platinum mine project, South Africa – update

Image of Low-profile load haul dumper Booysendal south mine – mechanised mining

Photo by © Creamer Media

1st September 2023

By: Sheila Barradas

Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

     

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Name of the Project
Booysendal South platinum mine project.

Location
About 35 km west of Mashishing, straddling the border of Limpopo and Mpumalanga, in South Africa.

Project Owner/s
Independent integrated platinum group metals (PGMs) producer Northam Platinum.

Project Description
Booysendal South incorporates the infrastructure of Aquarius Platinum’s former Everest mine, which Northam acquired in June 2015 for R450-million.

The acquisition of Everest included a 250 000-t-a-month concentrator, underground access and equipment, a tailings storage facility (TSF), workshops and offices, infrastructure, and access to power and water.

The South mine includes three upper group two (UG2) modules – BS1, BS2 and an additional UG2 module in the south,  BS4; and one Merensky module (BSM).

The current plan unlocks mineral reserves of almost seven-million ounces of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold, or 4E PGMs, mineable over an estimated 25-year mine life.

Booysendal South mine will sustain production at 250 000 oz of 4E PGMs for more than 25 years.

In an innovative application of engineering solutions, Northam has installed an aerial rope conveyor system to transport ore over challenging regional topography. The South aerial rope conveyor system, or Ropecon, transports ore from the central portal complex to the Booysendal South concentrator, which is almost 5 km away. The conveyor has a capacity of 1 150 t/h.
 
The first phase comprises 12 tower structures, which support the conveyor. The construction of the second phase comprises seven tower support structures.

Northam has said that expansion of the project is possible.

Potential Job Creation
The project is expected to create about 3 500 long-term jobs and benefit local and national economies.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
Not stated.

Capital Expenditure
R5.6-billion.

Planned Start/End Date
Not stated.

Latest Developments
The number of stoping crews has now reached steady state and production is averaging more than 250 000 ore tonnes a month.

Decline development at BS1 and BS2 collectively exceeded 2 700 m for the year, while 2.4-million tonnes of ore have been delivered to the South concentrator, generating almost 185 000 oz 4E in concentrate.

Development of the declines at the BSM module continues, with 3 050 m advanced to date. Ore from the BSM module, together with that from the Booysendal North (BNM) module is being fed to the South concentrator through the North aerial rope conveyor. This was commissioned, on plan, in December 2021 and is operating within design parameters. The BNM module has now ramped up to its Phase 2 capacity of about 50 000 oz/y of 4E in concentrate.

Stoping build-up continued at the BS4 UG2 module, producing almost 16 000 oz/y 4E in concentrate. Ramp-up will continue to a steady state of about 25 000 oz/y of 4E in concentrate during the remainder of 2024 financial year.

Upgrades to the concentrator circuit, together with its supporting logistical infrastructure that were completed during the previous financial year, have allowed for a throughput rate of more than 275 000 t a month. Reconfiguration of the South TSF is progressing well, while permitting for an expansion to the TSF is in progress. This will allow for more concentrator throughput, together with storage capacity for the life of the Booysendal South mine. Overall, the mine is well on track and is beyond the project phase.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
Doppelmayr Transport Technology (Ropecon); WBHO (Phase 1 contract for the establishment of the Booysendal South central road and boxcut); and DRA (engineering, procurement and construction management contractor).

Contact Details for Project Information
R&A Strategic Communications on behalf of Northam Platinum, tel +27 11 880 3924 or email northam@rasc.co.za.

 

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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