Social, environmental consulting under way

23rd August 2013

By: Chantelle Kotze


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Environmental consulting company Digby Wells is finalising a scoping report for Africa-focused project developer Ivanplats’ Platreef platinum-group metals, nickel, copper and gold project, on the northern limb of the Bushveld Complex, which will be submitted to the regulatory authorities this month.

This will be followed by specialist studies and the completion of the environmental- and social-impact assessment (ESIA) and environmental management plan (EMP) in support of Ivanplats’ application for a mining right that was filed with the Department of Mineral Resources in June, Digby Wells principal environmental consultant Grant Beringer tells Mining Weekly.

Since being appointed by Ivanplats in 2012 to undertake and manage the submission of an ESIA and an EMP, as required by the National Environmental Management Act No 107 of 1998 and the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Act No 28 of 2002, Digby Wells has completed the draft scoping report and the stakeholder engagement associated with it.

A significant aspect of work that Digby Wells will undertake at the project from an environmental perspective, is that several communities are in the vicinity of the project area, which is 8 km north of Mokopane, a regional urban centre and mining and transportation hub and about 280 km north-east of Johannesburg.

Ivanplats has initiated a comprehensive, on-going consultation process with residents of the area and all stages of the planned development will be closely monitored by Digby Wells, says Beringer.

Ivanplats has also appointed project management company DRA Mineral Projects as the principal prefeasibility consultant for the project, and subconsultants professional services company Stantec, ground engineer-ing and environmental services firm Golder Associates, global resource consulting group SRK Consulting and specialist mine residue disposal consultant Geotail.

The Platreef project, which is 90%-owned by Ivanplats and 10%-owned by a Japanese consortium comprising Itochu Corporation, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corpor-ation and JGC Corporation, includes a recently discovered underground deposit of thick, platinum-group element (PGE)/nickel/copper mineralisation.

In conjunction with the recent mining right application and in compliance with South African ownership requirements under the Mining Charter, Ivanplats will modifiy the Platreef project ownership struc- ture to include a broad-based black eco-nomic-empowerment (BBBEE) partner that represents local communities, women, children and employees.

Upon receipt of the mining right, the BBBEE partner will acquire a 26% interest in the Platreef project through a private company incorporated in South Africa –BBBEE SPV – that will represent the inter- ests of the Platreef Communities Umbrella Trust, the Platreef Women’s and Children’s Trust and the Platreef Equity Participation Trust.

Host communities directly affected by the Platreef project will be the initial beneficiaries of the Platreef Communities Umbrella Trust.

A mining right entitles a company to process minerals from and optimally mine the specific area for a period of 30 years, which may be extended upon application.

An application for a mining right or renewal must be motivated based on the size of the resource and the planned mining rate, adhering to the principles of sustainable development, including social impacts, health and safety, environmental rehabilitation and responsible mining.

Platreef Resource Estimates
The PGE/nickel/copper mineralisation is hosted within the Platreef, a mineralised sequence that is traced more than 30 km along strike.

Ivanplats’ Platreef project hosts the south-ern sector of the Platreef on three contiguous properties – Turfspruit, Macalacaskop and Rietfontein.

The northernmost property, Turfspruit, is contiguous with, and along strike from world’s number one platinum producer Anglo American Platinum’s (Amplats’) Mogalakwena group of properties and mining operations.

Amplats’ Mogalakwena mining operation comprises four openpit mines – the Sandsloot, Zwartfontein, Mogalakwena Central and Mogalakwena North pits.
Mogalakwena’s life-of-mine extends well beyond 2060.

As of March, Platreef’s National Instrument 43-101-compliant indicated mineral resources totalled 214-million tons grading 4.1 g/t platinum, palladium, gold and rhodium (4PE), 0.34% nickel and 0.17% copper at a 2 g/t 4PE cutoff grade, containing an estimated 28.5-million ounces of 4PE, 1.61-billion pounds of nickel and 794-million pounds of copper.

At the same cutoff of 2 g/t 4PE, the latest estimate includes inferred mineral resources of 415-million tons grading 3.5 g/t 4PE, 0.33% nickel and 0.16% copper, containing an estimated additional 47.2-million ounces of 4PE, three-billion pounds of nickel and 1.5-billion pounds of copper.

At a higher cutoff grade of 3 g/t 4PE, Platreef is estimated to contain indicated mineral resources totalling 137-million tons grading 5.09 g/t 4PE, 0.38% nickel and 0.19% copper, containing an estimated 22.4-million ounces of 4PE, 1.13-billion pounds of nickel and 558-million pounds of copper.

At the same cutoff of 3 g/t 4PE, inferred mineral resources total 211-million tons grading 4.6 g/t 4PE, 0.38% nickel and 0.18% copper, containing an estimated additional 31.4-million ounces of 4PE, 1.76-billion pounds of nickel and 855-million pounds of copper.

The new resource estimate incorporates the results from about 345 000 m of drilling, completed by a fleet of 30 rigs, from March 2011 to August 2012.

Edited by Megan van Wyngaardt
Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online


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