Glencore-Merafe JV building new PGMs production plant at Kroondal

14th January 2022 By: Donna Slater - Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

JSE-listed ferrochrome producer Merafe Resources reports that it and Glencore Operations South Africa have reached an agreement to contribute to the Glencore-Merafe chrome joint venture (JV) a new platinum group metal (PGM) production plant that is currently being built at the Kroondal mine.

The new PGM plant’s main operations will be the treatment of PGM-bearing material derived from the mining operations at the JV’s western chrome mines, as well as that available in applicable tailings facilities and dams.

Merafe Resources FD Ditabe Chocho tells Mining Weekly Online that the PGM concentrate to be produced at the plant is an associated minerals concentrate from the JV partner’s production of chrome ore.

He adds that the plant is expected to be completed this year, and that because it is being built in phases, it enables the JV partners to currently produce concentrates even through it is still under construction.

It will also treat PGM-bearing material from certain mining operations in the vicinity of the Kroondal mine to which Glencore South Africa and/or Merafe directly or indirectly have rights in relation to PGMs.

“The cost of the plant will be financed from our cash reserves and will be disclosed when we release our year-end results,” he says.

Going forward, the operation of the new PGM plant will be governed by the existing unincorporated JV’s notarial pooling and sharing agreement between Merafe and Glencore Operations South Africa.

Meanwhile, Merafe reports that its attributable ferrochrome production from the JV increased by 42.7% year-on-year to 379 000 t for the year ended December 31.

Its share of production for the fourth quarter was 102 000 t – a 5.1% year-on-year increase, mainly as a result of current production being less affected by Covid-19 pandemic implications, coupled with improved plant efficiencies achieved at the smelters.