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Large hoist shaft establishment nears milestone

PLATREEF PROJECT
Phase 1 of the project is expected to be brought into production by the third quarter of 2024

PLATREEF PROJECT Phase 1 of the project is expected to be brought into production by the third quarter of 2024

15th December 2023

     

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In the closing quarter of 2023, the Platreef project, operated by base and precious metals developer Ivanhoe Mines and situated on the Northern Limb of South Africa’s Bushveld Igneous Complex, reported that it was gearing up for Shaft 2 becoming one of the world’s largest hoisting shafts, following the completion of its concrete headgear structure in the first quarter of 2023.

Progress towards the internal structural steel construction and the imminent delivery of sinking winders signifies substantial progress towards the project's completion, with installation slated for the first quarter of 2024.

During the presentation of its third-quarter results on November 6, the miner confirmed that the Platreef project was also on course to embrace sustainable energy solutions with the completion of its first 5 MW solar power plant scheduled for the first quarter of 2024.

Recent deliveries of the plant’s inverter and solar panels underscore the commitment to reducing the project's environmental footprint, the miner said, adding that once operational, the solar facility will provide essential support to Platreef's ongoing activities, aligning with broader efforts to integrate renewable-energy sources into mining operations.

Ivanhoe Mines is also repurposing Shaft 3 in a strategic move designed to derisk Phase 1 mining operations and potentially expedite the ramp-up of Phase 2 activities. Originally conceived as a ventilation and secondary escape shaft, Shaft 3 is now being equipped for hoisting, adding crucial capacity for ore and waste removal from the underground mine.

The ongoing reaming process, with a target diameter of 5.1 m, is progressing towards completion before the end of 2023, the miner said in November.

Recent Developments

Since 2007, Ivanhoe Mines has dedicated effort to defining and advancing the down-dip extension of the Platreef project, culminating in the discovery of the Flatreef deposit.

With Shaft 1 now operational, the project is reaching the final stages of Phase 1 development, currently at 63% completion.

The focus remains on bringing Phase 1 into production by the third quarter of 2024, the miner confirmed.

In addition, over 2 000 m of lateral development work have been completed across the 750 m, 850 m and 950 m levels.

The construction of an underground crushing and loading feeder on the 950 m level is set to enhance ore and waste hoisting efficiency.

The expected increase to 400 m of lateral underground development a month by the end of 2023 is indicative of the project's operational momentum.

Meanwhile, the Phase 1 concentrator, scheduled for first production in the third quarter of 2024, is progressing as planned.

Major civil structures are nearing completion, and over 95% of Phase 1 orders have been placed, Ivanhoe Mines notes.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

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