Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBP) in its quarterly review and production report for the period 1 January 2022 to 31 March 2022 says a strong operational performance from BRPM and improved Styldrift performance yielded a 11.4% increase in hoisted tonnes for the reporting period compared to 2021. BRPM tonnes hoisted increased by 15.5% to 611kt and Styldrift by 6.8% to 500kt.
Total tonnes milled for the reporting period increased by 8.7% year-on-year to 1 119kt with UG2 contribution increasing by33.1% to 346kt (2021: 260kt) and Merensky contribution increasing marginally to 773kt (2021: 769kt). UG2 accounted for 31% of tonnes milled.
The built-up head grade decreased by 1.0% year-on-year to 3.79g/t (4E), with the BRPM head grade increasing by 2.1% to 3.85g/t (4E) and the Styldrift head grade reducing by 4.6% to 3.72g/t (4E). The reduction in head grade is attributable to increased dilution currently being experienced in the Styldrift Merensky reef mining sections.
Milled volumes, built-up head grade and associated recoveries resulted in 6E and 4E metals in concentrate increasing by 7.7% and 7.5% respectively to 124.4koz and 110.6koz compared to the 2021 reporting period.
Closing surface stocks for the reporting period are estimated at 171kt, equating to a 13kt reduction in stocks from December 2021.
Reef tonnes hoisted for the quarter amounted to 611kt (2021: 529kt), with Merensky contributing 294kt and UG2 317kt.
Tonnes milled for the reporting period increased by 14.2% to 628kt, with Merensky tonnes milled equating to 282kt and UG2 tonnes milled 346kt UG2 (55% of tonnes milled).
The built-up head grade for the quarter was 3.85g/t (4E) compared to 3.77g/t (4E) achieved in the comparative period in 2021, equating to a 2.1% increase. The respective Merensky and UG2 4E built-up head grades for the reporting period were 3.91g/t and 3.79g/t.
Closing surface stocks are currently estimated at 54kt, amounting to a 26kt depletion of surface stocks from December 2021.
Reef tonnes hoisted for the reporting period increased by 6.8% to 500kt, with tonnes milled increasing by 2.5% to 491kt.
The built-up head grade decreased by 4.6% to 3.72g/t (4E) compared to 2021. The decrease in head grade is directly attributable to higher on-reef dilution currently being experienced in the on-reef trackless development and stoping sections as they negotiate known localised geological structures and facies changes. The built-up head grade is expected to improve to around 3.90g/t as sections re-establish through these areas during the second quarter.
Securing ongoing improvements in operating efficiency and optimal utilisation of installed infrastructure through the business improvement programme initiated during 2021 remains the key operational focus to ensure steady state production levels are achieved in 2022.
An additional 13kt of surface stocks were accrued during the quarter with closing surface stocks estimated at 117kt.
Total tonnes milled for the reporting period increased by 90kt or 8.7% to 1 119kt compared to the corresponding 2021 period. The BRPM concentrator treated 603kt, the Maseve concentrator treated 406kt, and 110kt UG2 ore was toll treated.
Overall concentrator recovery reduced by 0.2% to 80.93% in line with the reduction in built-up head grade, variations in ore mix, increased contributions from lower recovery potential Maseve MF1 and toll treatment circuits. The completion of the MF2 upgrade to the Maseve concentrator, during the second quarter, will bring about an increase in recoveries.
The increase in milled volumes, lower built-up head grade and reduction in recoveries achieved during the quarter, yielded 6E and 4E metals in concentrate increases of 7.7% and 7.5% to 124.4koz and 110.6koz, respectively.
BRPM 6E and 4E metals in concentrate production increased by 16.6% and 16.3% to 71.1koz and 62.7koz respectively. Styldrift 6E and 4E metals in concentrate both decreased by 2.2% to 53.3koz and 47.9koz, respectively.