Ivanhoe Mines Ltd.’s [IVN-TSX; IVPSF-OTCQX] South African subsidiary, Ivanplats, and its partners, welcome the outstanding positive findings of an independent Platreef 2022 feasibility study for the Tier 1, 64%-owned Platreef palladium, rhodium, nickel, platinum, copper and gold project in South Africa.
The 2022 Feasibility Study provides the blueprint for the ongoing development of Platreef and builds on the excellent results of the PEA for a phased-development scenario to expedite production, announced in November 2020, alongside the 2020 Feasibility Study. The Platreef 2022 Feasibility Study is based on a steady state production rate of 5.2 million tonnes/annum (Mtpa), as well as an accelerated ramp up to steady state through the earlier development of Shaft 2. The 2022 Feasibility Study is based on the detailed design and engineering scenario first presented in the 2020 PEA, confirming the viability of a new phased development pathway to fast-track Platreef into production by Q3 2024.
The Platreef 2022 Feasibility Study first phase of production includes an initial 700,000 tonnes/annum (700 ktpa) underground mine and 770-ktpa-capacity concentrator, targeting high-grade mining areas close to the project’s recently completed Shaft 1.
Platreef’s Phase 2, 5.2-Mtpa steady state production rate would rank it as the world’s fifth largest primary platinum-group metals (PGM) mine on a palladium equivalent basis, with annual forecast production of more than 590,000 ounces of palladium, platinum, rhodium and gold, plus more than 40 million pounds of nickel and copper.
The Platreef 2022 Feasibility Study reflects the initial two phases of development for the Platreef Mine. Previous studies have demonstrated the resource base for future expansions up to 12 Mtpa, which would position Platreef among the very largest PGM producing mines in the world.
Platreef is poised to complete journey from tier-one discovery to one of the world’s largest and lowest-cost PGM producers. The Platreef Project, which includes an underground deposit of thick, high-grade PGE-nickel-copper-gold mineralization discovered by Ivanhoe’s geologists, is in the northern limb of the Bushveld Complex approximately 11 km from Mokopane, and 280 km northeast of Johannesburg.
A Japanese consortium led by JOGMEC, a Japanese government entity, and including Itochu and Japan Gas Corporation, acquired a 10% interest in the Platreef Project for approximately US$290 million.
Robert Friedland commented: “The Platreef discovery remains the world’s greatest precious metals deposit under development, with a peerless endowment of palladium, rhodium, platinum, and gold; as well as highly significant quantities of strategic ‘electric’ metals such as nickel and copper. These outstanding economic results define our commitment to advance Platreef to first production, alongside our local communities and Japanese partners. We are counting down to less than 30 months from now. This achievement will only mark the first milestone, as we plan to expand this world-scale operation into one of the largest and lowest-cost, integrated PGM producers on the planet &#8230; all while generating outstanding returns on capital for a major, disruptive mine.”
Platreef’s Indicated Mineral Resources contain an estimated 18.9 million ounces of palladium, 18.7 million ounces of platinum, 3.1 million ounces of gold, and 1.2 million ounces of rhodium (a combined 41.9 million ounces PGMs plus gold), plus 2.4 billion pounds of nickel and 1.2 billion pounds of copper, at a 2.0 g/t 3PE+Au cut-off.
The feasibility study stated that Platreef would have a life-of–mine of 28.3 years, an initial Capex of US$488 million, an after-tax NPV (8%) of US$1,690 million and an IRR of 18.5%.