TSX-listed Ivanhoe Mines’ South African subsidiary, Ivanplats, is fast-tracking a feasibility study on a smaller-scale, early-stage development plan using Shaft 1 as a production shaft at its Platreef palladium, platinum, nickel, copper, gold and rhodium mining licence, in Limpopo, South Africa.
The spot prices of palladium and rhodium have soared in recent months, which Ivanhoe co-chairpersons Robert Friedland and Yufeng Miles Sun say have “propelled Platreef’s metals price basket to a new, all-time high”.
Palladium prices continue to surge to record highs globally, topping $2 100/oz as stricter air-quality rules boost demand for the metal used in vehicle pollution-control devices.
The price of rhodium has surged 32% already this month, attaining a price of more than $8 200/oz – the highest price since it hit more than $10 000/oz in 2008.
About 80% of the world's rhodium supply comes from mines in South Africa and global production is only about one-million ounces a year.
Following the results of the feasibility study, Ivanhoe’s plans would accelerate the mine’s first production by using Shaft 1 as the mine’s initial production shaft, followed by expansions to the production rate outlined in the project’s 2017 definitive feasibility study.
Ivanhoe’s smaller-scale mine design is also optimised to target the highest-grade areas of the mineral resource in close vicinity to Shaft 1.
Platreef’s Shaft 1 is at a depth of 957 m below surface and is scheduled to be completed to a final depth of about 1 000 m by the end of July.
Work on Shaft 1’s 950-m-level station – the shaft’s third and final station – is expected to be completed in March.