Eland mine complex, South Africa – update

14th April 2023 By: Sheila Barradas - Creamer Media Research Coordinator & Senior Deputy Editor

Eland mine complex, South Africa – update

Photo by: Northam Platinum

Name of the Project
Eland mine complex.

South eastern portion of the western limb of the Bushveld Complex near Brits, in South Africa’s North West province.

Project Owner/s
Northam Platinum Holdings Limited.

Project Description
Northam acquired the Eland mine from Glencore for R175-million in 2017.

The Eland mine had been on care and maintenance since 2015. Operations were restarted in 2019, following the conclusion of a feasibility study on the Kukama project, particularly the western decline system and mining section of Eland upper group two (UG2) mine. The operations comprised the development of the underground mine on a hybrid array of conventional breast stoping and mechanised ore transport using hydropower technology imported from Northam’s Zondereinde mine.

Eland hosts a shallow, UG2 orebody containing 14.4-million ounces of platinum, palladium rhodium and gold, or 4E, resources and 3.2-million ounces of mineral reserves.

Mineral resources and reserves for the Eland operation include those contained within the Maroelabult mine, which was acquired from Barplats Mines in 2020.

Maroelabult is situated immediately west of Eland, and underground  development from the Kukama decline has connected with that of the Maroelabult decline, which is aiding the provision of underground services, as well as the build-up of mineable reserve.

The inclusion of Maroelabult will enhance Eland mine’s ramp-up, which at steady state will produce 180 000 oz/y 4E in concentrate by 2028.

Potential Job Creation
Eland currently employs 2 200 people. At steady state in 2028, the mine will provide direct, long-term employment for more than 2 600 people.

Net Present Value/Internal Rate of Return
Not stated.

Capital Expenditure
Total capital expenditure is estimated to reach R4.5-billion by 2028. R2.7-billion has been spent to date.

Planned Start/End Date
Mine development started in 2020. Production is forecast to reach 100 000 oz/y of 4E in the 2025 financial year and will increase to a steady state of 180 000 oz/y by the 2028 financial year.

Latest developments
Processing of ore from surface sources continues while underground and openpit feed are being batch-treated.

Northam reports in its condensed reviewed interim results for the six months ended December 31, 2022, that the development of the Kukama and Maroelabult decline systems is progressing well, as has strike and raise development. This is increasing mineable reserves.

Strike development has connected the two mining sections, and this is enhancing the provision of underground services.

Underground stoping ramp-up is in progress. In addition, openpit mining of UG2 continues in the eastern portion of the mining right.

Planning and permitting for significant renewable-energy installations are progressing, and will supplement the existing 1.25MW solar farm.

The mine has installed on-demand power generation capacity, from diesel generators, of 3.6 MW. Additional generator capacity of 4.8 MW has been bought. Installation is in progress, and commissioning is expected by the end of the current financial year, at which time Eland will operate unimpeded under level 5 Eskom load curtailment conditions.

Key Contracts, Suppliers and Consultants
None stated.

Contact Details for Project Information
R&A Strategic Communications, on behalf of Northam Platinum, tel +27 11 880 3924 or email northam@rasc.co.za.