Ivanhoe Mines reported in mid-January that its South African subsidiary, Ivanplats, is fast-tracking a feasibility study of a smaller-scale, early-stage development plan using Shaft 1 as a production shaft at its Platreef PGM-copper-gold mining license on the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa’s Limpopo province.

Shaft 1 will be the Platreef mine’s ventilation shaft. Development of Shaft 2, which will be the production shaft at full development, is ongoing.

The early production plan would allow Platreef to benefit from current high palladium and rhodium prices, which have soared in recent months.

Development of Shaft 1 had reached a depth of 957 meters (m) below surface at the time of the announcement. The shaft is scheduled to be completed to a final depth of approximately 1,000 m by the end of July. Work on Shaft 1’s 950-m-level station, the shaft’s third and final station, was scheduled for completion in March.

Platreef has an estimated 26.8 million ounces (oz) of palladium in current indicated mineral resources and an additional 43 million oz in current inferred mineral resources at a cut-off grade of 2 grams/metric ton (mt) three platinum group elements plus gold (3PE+gold).

Platreef also has an estimated 1.8 million oz of rhodium in current indicated mineral resources and an additional 3.1 million oz in current inferred mineral resources at a 2 g/mt 3PE+gold cut-off. The rhodium in the Platreef ore is strongly correlated with both palladium and platinum.