MOKOPANE, SOUTH AFRICA – Dr. Patricia Makhesha, Managing Director of Ivanplats’ Platreef Project, and Gerick Mouton, Vice President and Project Director, today announced the establishment of a local scholarship fund to honour the memory of Iichii Nakamura, a professional metallurgical engineer with one of Ivanplats’ Japanese partners, Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC), who recently passed away in Japan.
In 2012, Mr. Nakamura was instrumental in a major metallurgical breakthrough in the Platreef flotation testwork, which resulted in the establishment of an advanced, new process to ensure consistent high recoveries of platinum-group metals (PGMs) and high-quality PGM concentrate when the planned mine, now under development, begins production. Mr. Nakamura pioneered a reagent regime that previously had not been tested on Platreef ore and currently is not commercialized in the mining industry. The innovative reagent regime and metallurgical flowsheet is in the process of being patented jointly by Platreef and JOGMEC.
The US$5,000 scholarship will be awarded annually to a local Mokopane student admitted to, or enrolled in, an undergraduate degree program at a recognized university, preferably in science or engineering. The student will be expected to have strong academic achievement, a demonstrated financial need and also to have made a recognized community contribution.
Mr. Nakamura received a Bachelor in Mineral Processing from the University of Tokyo in 1982 and became a Professional Engineer (Japan) in 2003. He worked for Sumitomo Metal Mining for 18 years in various mineral processing research and technical roles, before joining JOGMEC in 2010. JOGMEC is part of a Japanese consortium that includes ITOCHU Corporation; ITC Platinum Development Ltd., an ITOCHU affiliate; and Japan Gas Corporation that collectively owns 10% of the Platreef Project.