Box-cut excavation in preparation for sinking of a bulk sample shaft at the Platreef project.

Ivanhoe mines has transferred a combined 26% interest in its Platreef project on the Northern Limb of South Africa’s Bushveld Complex to a black economic empowerment (BEE) structure, fulfilling requirements for the company’s Mining Right application. Ivanhoe is planning a multiphased development of a large, mechanized, underground mine at Platreef. A preliminary economic assessment released in March estimated that a base-case operation mining 8 million mt/y could produce 785,000 oz/y of platinum, palladium, rhodium, and gold, projecting that it would become Africa’s lowest-cost producer of platinum-group metals (E&MJ).

The agreed 26% BEE interest in Platreef includes 20% held by a trust established for the benefit of 20 local host communities in the vicinity of the planned mine; 3% held by a trust established for the benefit of historically disadvantaged, non-managerial South African employees at Platreef; and 3% held by a consortium of local entrepreneurs and managerial employees.

Upon execution of the project’s Mining Right, the community trust for the 20 host communities will receive an annual fixed contribution of R11 million (about $1 million) while the mine is being developed. An estimated 150,000 people live in the 20 host communities. A total of 187 local entrepreneurial companies, representing a combined 333 individual shareholders, participated in the entrepreneurial subscription.

Going forward, Ivanhoe will hold a 64% indirect ownership stake in the Platreef project; the South African beneficiaries of the BEE agreement will hold a 26% stake; and an Itochu-led Japanese consortium will hold the remaining 10%.