Waterberg project partners mull concentrate processing, offtake alternatives

14th July 2022

By: Marleny Arnoldi

Deputy Editor Online


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Canada-headquartered mining company Platinum Group Metals (PTM) has informed shareholders that it is considering commercial alternatives for mine development, financing and concentrate offtake for the Waterberg palladium project, in South Africa’s Limpopo province.

The company confirms that studies are under way to assess the economic feasibility of building a dedicated matte furnace to process Waterberg’s concentrate as an alternative to a traditional concentrate offtake arrangement.

PTM and technical representatives from the project’s joint venture (JV) partners – Impala Platinum Holdings, Mnombo Wethu Consultants, Hanwa and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation – are working to advance the project to a financing and construction decision.

The decision is, however, dependent on arrangements for project concentrate offtake or processing.

The definitive feasibility study technical study on the project, published in October 2019, mentions that additional smelting capacity may need to be implemented in the industry to be able to treat the flotation concentrate from Waterberg and the other potential platinum reef miners.

“Discussions with potential participating partners in a possible matte furnace facility are in process. Parallel discussions are also under way with South African smelter operators considering concentrate offtake arrangements for the project,” PTM confirms.

Meanwhile, PTM has spent $2.6-million on the Waterberg project in the nine months ended May 31, excluding JV partner reimbursements.

The JV partners approved a $2.7-million budget for the 12 months to August 31.  

At May 31, $43-million in accumulated net costs had been capitalised to the Waterberg project, while total expenditures on the property since inception from all investor sources stood at $80-million.

PTM, the operator of the project, explains that the company’s general and administrative expenses for the nine months ended May 31, at $3.26-million, compared with $2.91-million in the corresponding nine months of last year, owing to legal fees for the Africa Wide trial.

PTM nonetheless managed to repay $9.4-million of principal debt towards its 2019 Sprott facility and fully repaid $20-million of convertible notes in the nine months under review.

The Africa Wide trial took place during October 2021 and March this year.

On June 14, the High Court of South Africa delivered a judgment dismissing the legal challenge brought by Africa Wide Mineral Prospecting and Exploration – a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wesizwe Platinum – to the 2018 sale of the Maseve mine to Royal Bafokeng Platinum.

In its judgment, the court dismissed all of the claims for which Africa Wide contended and ordered Africa Wide to pay the defendant’s costs.

The court found that Africa Wide had failed to make its case on the evidence and that, having failed to challenge the transaction within the time limit prescribed by the Companies Act, Africa Wide’s case was statutorily barred.

Africa Wide subsequently filed an application for leave to appeal the judgment, and PTM intends to oppose the application.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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