Platinum Group metals Ltd

Published : July 25th, 2013

Bushveld Complex: A Mining Battle Ground – Financial Mail – Media Coverage

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Keywords :   Bushveld | Chrome | Copper | Gold | Nickel | Palladium | Platinum | Rhodium |
Platinum Group Metals

Bushveld Complex: a mining battle ground

July 25, 2013
Charlotte Mathews

Two Toronto-listed companies, Ivanplats and Platinum Group Metals (PTM), claim their deposits on the northern limb of the Bushveld Complex contain geologically different, more easily mined platinum group metals than operations on the eastern and western limbs.

The Bushveld Complex, a semicircular geological formation stretching through North West, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, contains more than 80% of the world's known platinum, as well as lesser quantities of palladium, rhodium, nickel, chrome and gold.

But after decades of mining, the platinum-rich Merensky reef is running out and companies are having to go deeper, which is expensive and potentially hazardous, to mine UG2 reef, which contains more palladium.

The price of platinum, at US$1400/oz last week, was almost twice palladium's $728/oz.

The key to attracting foreign investment may be a deposit that can be mined from an open pit or using mechanised methods, minimising the labour disruption and cost pressures that beset the platinum industry in SA.

Anglo Platinum's Mogalakwena mine near Polokwane is an open pit mine, which is less labour intensive than conventional underground mining and the biggest power cost is diesel, not electricity. Mogalakwena's on-mine cost last year was R315/t milled, compared with an average of R692/t for all Amplats' 11 managed mines. Mogalakwena also has enough resources to mine beyond 2060.

One of the most prominent issues Amplats has had to handle at Mogalakwena in the past few years has been the relocation of communities to make way for a new pit, which resulted in some violent protests a few years ago.

Ivanplats' Platreef project, which abuts Mogalakwena, also lies under a village but Ivanplats has decided it will mine the deposit, which is 800m deep, from underground rather than an open pit, which minimises relocations. It says the reef is relatively flat, and thick enough, at 24m, to be mined using large-scale mechanised mining.

Platreef's deposit, using a cut-off or minimum grade of 2g/t, contains an estimated 28,5moz of platinum, palladium, gold and rhodium, as well as 1,61bn pounds of nickel and 794m pounds of copper.

In June Ivanplats applied for a mining right. It has not published an estimated cost of developing the deposit as it is still busy with a preliminary economic assessment, which will be published in the current quarter.

PTM is also busy with an assessment for its Waterberg project, which will be published at the end of this year. President and CE Michael Jones says a rough calculation suggests it would cost about $500m to build a mine based on the current resource of 10,12moz of platinum, palladium and gold. But exploration is under way to extend the size of the known deposit.

The current resource statement covers only a small area of PTM's prospecting area on the extreme end of the northern limb. PTM has stakes in two concessions: the Waterberg joint venture, where it is partnered with Japanese state-owned company Jogmec, and the Waterberg Extension area. It will release an updated resources statement shortly.

Jones says though the Waterberg deposit is still part of the Bushveld Complex, it is layered differently. On average its two reefs contain more gold than other platinum group deposits in SA and the formation is more predictable. The two distinct reefs are less than 1000m from surface, and could be mined using multiple declines from surface and mechanised equipment.

Ivanplats and PTM are pushing ahead with plans to develop new mines, despite current weak platinum and palladium prices. Since it can take 5-10 years to bring an underground mine into production, today's prices are less relevant than expectations for the future.

The Platreef and Waterberg projects will appeal to investors who agree that increasingly rigid environmental standards will boost demand for platinum and palladium. Investec Securities is forecasting platinum will rise from an average of $1536/oz this year to over $2000/oz by 2018 and palladium from $699/oz to $950/oz.

PTM paid for the writer's visit to the Waterberg project

For further information, please contact:
Platinum Group Metals Investor Relations
Tel: (604) 899-5450 / Toll Free: (866) 899-5450
info@platinumgoupmetals.net

Platinum Group metals Ltd

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Platinum Group Metals is a platinum development stage company based in Canada.

Platinum Group Metals holds various exploration projects in Philippines.

Its main asset in development is WESTERN BUSHVELD JV in South Africa and its main exploration properties are AGNEW LAKE and LAC DES ILES in Canada, WAR SPRINGS and TWEESPALK in South Africa and ACT (ADLAY CAGDIANAO TANDAWA NICKEL) in Philippines.

Platinum Group Metals is listed in Canada and in United States of America. Its market capitalisation is CA$ 306.1 millions as of today (US$ 244.7 millions, € 214.4 millions).

Its stock quote reached its highest recent level on November 30, 2012 at CA$ 9.90, and its lowest recent point on June 15, 2018 at CA$ 0.12.

Platinum Group Metals has 133 070 008 shares outstanding.

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