Eland mine complex, South Africa – update

1st September 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 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 will produce 180 000 oz/y 4E in concentrate at steady state 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 2 500 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
The development of an underground connection between Maroelabult and Kukama has been concluded, as well as the development of both decline systems. This has enhanced the provision of underground services, as well as the build-up of mineable reserve.

To date, the decline systems have been advanced more than 2 500 m, which is on plan, and have accessed eight strike drives – Northam requires 11 strike drives for steady-state production.

In the year to June 30, 2023, stoping of UG2 reef continued in the upper western portion of the mine. More than 25 800 m2 of stoping to date have allowed for the optimisation of in-stope practices, as well as ore-handling systems.

Lateral development has started at the Nyala section to effect limited mining in the medium term.

Batch treatment of run-of-mine (RoM) ore sources is ongoing, together with third-party surface material and the retreatment of tailings from the Eland TSF.

Concentrator recoveries for RoM ore are in line with expectations, and volumes will increase as ramp-up continues to steady state.

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.