South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) and Ivanhoe Mines jointly announced in early November the finalization of the mining right for the development and operation of the Ivanhoe’s Platreef mining project on the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex. The mining right authorizes Ivanhoe to mine and process platinum group metals, nickel, copper, gold, silver, cobalt, iron, vanadium and chrome at the project. The right was issued for an initial period of 30years and may be renewed for further periods, each of which may not exceed 30 years at a time.
The DMR originally granted Ivanhoe its Platreef mining right on May 30; however, formal activation of the right remained subject to the satisfaction of a number of conditions intended to ensure that the mining operation will meaningfully contribute toward the socioeconomic development of the area in an environmentally sustainable manner. Ivanhoe announced in early September that it had transferred a combined 26% interest in the Platreef project to a black economic empowerment (BEE) structure, fulfilling one of the requirements of the mining right application (E&MJ, October 2014, p. 20).
The Platreef preliminary economic assessment released by Ivanhoe in March considers a base-case underground operation mining 8 million mt/y and producing 785,000 oz/y, combined, of platinum, palladium, rhodium, and gold, projecting that it would become Africa’s lowest-cost producer of platinum-group metals.