PROJECT UPDATE: Platreef PGM mine production to ramp up to 5.2 Mtpa

The Platreef Project is owned by Ivanplats, which is 64%-owned by Ivanhoe Mines. A 26% interest is held by Ivanplats’ historically-disadvantaged, broad-based, black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) partners, which include 20 local host communities with approximately 150,000 people, project employees and local entrepreneurs.

A Japanese consortium of ITOCHU Corporation, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation, and Japan Gas Corporation, owns a 10% interest in Ivanplats, which it acquired in two tranches for a total investment of $290 million.

The Platreef Project hosts an underground deposit of thick, platinum-group metals, nickel, copper and gold mineralization on the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex in Limpopo Province – approximately 280 kilometres northeast of Johannesburg and eight kilometres from the town of Mokopane.

On the Northern Limb, platinum-group metals mineralization is primarily hosted within the Platreef, a mineralized sequence that is traced more than 30 kilometres along strike. Ivanhoe’s Platreef Project, within the Platreef’s southern sector, is comprised of two contiguous properties: Turfspruit and Macalacaskop. Turfspruit, the northernmost property, is contiguous with, and along strike from, Anglo Platinum’s Mogalakwena group of mining operations and properties.

Since 2007, Ivanhoe has focused its exploration and development activities on defining and advancing the down-dip extension of its original discovery at Platreef, now known as the Flatreef Deposit, which is amenable to highly-mechanized, underground mining methods. The Flatreef area lies entirely on the Turfspruit and Macalacaskop properties that form part of the company’s mining right.

On November 30, 2020, Ivanhoe Mines published the results of an independent Integrated Development Plan 2020 (IDP20) for the Platreef Project. The Platreef IDP20 encompasses two development scenarios:

  • The Platreef 2020 feasibility study (Platreef 2020 FS) updates the feasibility results announced in July 2017. The Platreef 2020 FS evaluates the development of a 4.4 Mtpa underground mine with two concentrators built in modules of 2.2 Mtpa. This update takes into account development schedule advancement since 2017, as well as updated costs, metal prices and foreign exchange assumptions; in addition to increased throughput from 4.0 Mtpa to 4.4 Mtpa to utilize the full processing capacity of the two concentrators.
  • The Platreef 2020 preliminary economic assessment (Platreef 2020 PEA) evaluates an alternate, phased development plan that fast-tracks Platreef into production. The Platreef 2020 PEA evaluates a phased development plan starting with an initial 700-ktpa underground mine using the existing Shaft 1 and a new concentrator on site with a capacity of up to 770 ktpa. This phased development plan will be targeting high-grade mining areas in close proximity to the shaft with significantly lower initial capital costs.

After first production has been achieved, Shaft 2 sinking will commence in tandem with the construction of two additional 2.2 Mtpa concentrator modules and ramp up of the initial concentrator to its full capacity of 770 ktpa. Total mine production will then ramp up to the envisaged steady-state production of 5.2 Mtpa. Should capital become available sooner, the development of Shaft 2 can be brought forward to accelerate the expansion.

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