The Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) has accepted TSX- and NYSE-listed Platinum Group Metals’ (PTM’s) mining right application for the large-scale Waterberg platinum group metals (PGMs) project.
The application comprises a mining work programme, social and labour plan, and associated environmental applications.
The application is supported by all the Waterberg joint venture partners, including Impala Platinum (Implats), Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (Jogmec) and Mnombo Wethu Consultants.
The process of consultation under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act and the Environmental Assessment regulations has started.
Waterberg represents a large resource of PGMs, with an attractive risk profile. Given its shallow nature and ability to support a fully mechanised operation, the project has the potential to be among the lowest-cost producers in the PGM sector globally.
A definitive feasibility study (DFS) is in progress and is anticipated to be completed in the first quarter of 2019.
The DFS considers two options, including the 600 000 t a month mine plan outlined in the prefeasibility study, and a phased approach starting with a smaller 250 000 t to 350 000 t a month production profile.
Stantec Consulting International and DRA Projects South Africa are the lead independent project engineers for the DFS.
PTM currently holds an effective 50.02% interest in the Waterberg project.
Implats holds a 15% interest, Mnombo a 26% interest and Jogmec 21.95%.
Implats has the option to increase its interest in the project to 50.01% following completion of the DFS.
Implats has identified Waterberg as a potential low-cost alternative to deep conventional PGM mining, with an attractive metal balance for the future.
Palladium has been gaining market interest based on continued strong demand from the automotive sector, where there are growing trends towards gasoline engines and hybrids that use palladium dominant catalysts.