NORTHAM Platinum is to buy for R20m the platinum group metals (PGMs) contained in Maroelabult, a property currently owned by Barplats Mines Proprietary.
The transaction also includes infrastructure, equipment and other fixed and movable property on Maroelabult which is contiguous with Northam’s Eland Platinum, an asset that Northam has taken out of mothballs after buying it from Glencore.
“Northam is looking forward to extracting the synergistic benefits between the Maroelabult assets and Eland and we are confident that the Maroelabult assets will make a positive contribution towards Eland’s ongoing development,” said Paul Dunne, CEO of Northam in a statement earlier on Tuesday.
Northam said in June that the Kukama shaft at its rhodium-rich Eland mine would restart in the new 2020 financial year, a key development in the company’s expansion plans. A feasibility study showed the shaft could crank up to steady state production of 150,000 oz 4E PGMs and do so “… in the lower half of the industry cost curve”, said Dunne.
The deal with Barplats sees Eland add a measured and indicated resource of 231,744 oz 4E and a proven and probable reserve of 188,357 oz 4E. “The surface and underground infrastructure included in the Maroelabult assets will enhance the overall build program of Eland mine and provide additional planning optionality,” said Northam.
Northam would be granted access to the Maroelabult assets from November 1 and will take responsibility for care and maintenance costs which amount to R6.6m a year. The deal is also subject to government consents and approvals.
Northam bought Eland over two years ago at the bargain price of R175m. Glencore had the operation placed on care and maintenance in 2015. Its main attraction is its high content of rhodium, a relatively rare metal.
Northam has said that group saleable annual production is seen doubling over the next five years to over 900,000 ounces. Saleable rhodium production is seen doubling to over 70,000 ounces per year over that period.
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