Platinum Australia has received a completed prefeasibility study of its Kalahari Platinum project (Kalplats) in South Africa’s North West province from GRD Minproc, the lead engineers for the study. The study demonstrates a commercially and technically viable project able to generate a return of 25% on the base case assumptions and assuming open-pit mining of only four of the project’s seven known deposits.
Platinum Australia is developing Kalplats under a joint-venture agreement with African Rainbow Minerals that provides for Platinum Australia to earn up to 49% of the project by completing a bankable feasibility study and making its Panton metallurgical process available to the project at no cost.
The prefeasibility study outlines a project producing about 115,000 oz/y of three pgm elements (platinum, palladium and rhodium) plus gold (4E) over an operating life of nine years. Economic assumptions are based on a 4E basket price of $740/oz. Cash costs are estimated at $340/oz net of base metal credits. Initial capital cost to develop the project would be $91 million.
Platinum Australia has already initiated the definitive feasibility study of the Kalplats project, which will be based on an expanded resource that includes the Serpens North and Sirius deposits. Also, the prefeasibility study has identified significant scope to enhance the project through further refinement of the resource models to allow greater flexibility for the application and evaluation of grade control in the mining process.
The Kalplats mineralization occurs as a persistent set of layers, known as reefs, with a combined thickness of approximately 50 m, in a vertical to sub-vertical dipping layered gabbro that extends over much of the 12-km length of the Kalplats project area. Within the reef package, at least three parallel high-grade reefs are separated by lower-grade material.
The Kalplats joint venture has a prospecting right covering an area extending about 20 km to the north and 18 km to the south of the Kalplats project area, increasing the total strike length held by the joint-venture parties to almost 50 km. Platinum Australia and African Rainbow Minerals each have a 50% contributing interest in this “area of influence,” and Platinum Australia is managing an exploration program that will target extensions of the known Kalplats style of mineralization.