November 30, 2020: Ivanhoe Mines announces powerful results of the updated feasibility study (FS) for the world-scale Platreef palladium, platinum, rhodium, nickel, copper and gold project in South Africa
Moolmans shaft-sinking miners Mario Matusse (left), Bennette Katjeipe (centre), and Julius Mbeteni (right), arrive on surface after completing a shift developing Platreef’s 950-metre-level station.
MOKOPANE, SOUTH AFRICA – Ivanhoe Mines’ (TSX: IVN; OTCQX:IVPAF) Co-Chairs Robert Friedland and Yufeng “Miles” Sun announced today that the company’s South African subsidiary, Ivanplats, and its partners welcome the outstanding positive findings of anindependent Platreef Integrated Development Plan 2020 (Platreef IDP20) for the tier one Platreef palladium, platinum, rhodium, nickel, copper and gold project in South Africa, whichconsists of an updated feasibility study (Platreef 2020 FS) and a preliminary economic assessment (Platreef 2020 PEA).
The Platreef 2020 FS builds on the excellent results of the FS announced in July 2017 and is based on an unchanged Mineral Reserve, project designs for mining, and plant and infrastructure as in the Platreef 2017 FS; except with an increased production rate from 4.0 Mtpa to 4.4 Mtpa, in two modules of 2.2 Mtpa. The 2020 FS includes an updated production schedule based on the current project status, costs and economic assumptions. The schedule for the 2020 FS is driven by the sinking of the project’s second, larger shaft (Shaft 2), where early works have commenced. The 2020 FS envisions Shaft 2 equipped for hoisting in 2025, allowing for first concentrate production in the latter half of the year. The initial capital cost for the Platreef 2020 FS is estimated at US$1.4 billion.
The Platreef IDP20 also includes the Platreef 2020 PEA, which is an alternate, phased development plan that fast-tracks Platreef into production. The plan uses the project’s first shaft (Shaft 1) for initial hoisting and mine development, with 825,000 tonnes of annual total rock hoisting capacity, of which 125,000 tonnes is allocated for development rock. The alternate plan envisions building an initial concentrator with a capacity of 770 thousand-tonnes-per-annum (ktpa), and could produce first concentrate in mid-2024.
The recently-completed sinking of Shaft 1 has created the opportunity to access early, high-grade tonnes in this scenario. While the 700-ktpa initial mine is being operated using Shaft 1, there would be opportunities to refine the timing of subsequent phases of expanded production, which is driven by the sinking of Shaft 2. Once completed, two 2.2 Mtpa concentrator modules would be commissioned, and the initial concentrator would be ramped up to its full capacity of 770 ktpa; increasing the steady-state production to 5.2 Mtpa. The initial capital cost for 700 ktpa under the Platreef 2020 PEA is estimated at US$390 million – substantially lower than the Platreef 2020 FS that requires Shaft 2 for first production.
Detailed engineering has commenced on the mine design, 770-ktpa concentrator and associated infrastructure for the phased development plan, which will be incorporated into an updated feasibility study in 2021. The Shaft 1 changeover will take place simultaneously in preparation for permanent hoisting by early 2022. The budget for 2021 is US$59 million, which includes US$10 million for commencement of the construction of the headframe to the collar of Shaft 2.
The Platreef IDP20 reflects the first phase of development for the Platreef Mine. It is designed to establish an operating platform to support potential future expansions to 12 Mtpa and beyond, as demonstrated in previous studies, which would position Platreef among the largest platinum-group metals producing mines in the world, producing in excess of 1.1 million ounces of palladium, platinum, rhodium and gold per year.
A new Platreef NI 43-101 Technical Report was filed on Sedar and the company's website on December 10, 2020.
Development scenarios at Platreef
Platreef 2020 FS, an update of the 2017 FS: Evaluates the development of a 4.4 Mtpa underground mine with two concentrators built in modules of 2.2 Mtpa. This updates the 2017 FS by taking into account development schedule advancement since 2017, as well as updated costs, metal prices and foreign exchange assumptions; in addition to increased throughput from 4.0 Mtpa to 4.4 Mtpa to utilize the full processing capacity of the two concentrators.
Platreef 2020 PEA (Phased Development Plan): An alternative scenario evaluating the phased development of an initial 700-ktpa underground mine using the existing Shaft 1 and a new concentrator with a capacity of up to 770 ktpa, targeting high-grade mining areas with significantly lower capital costs. After first production is achieved, Shaft 2 sinking commences, to coincide with the construction of two additional 2.2 Mtpa concentrator modules, and the ramp up of the initial concentrator to its full capacity of 770 ktpa, increasing the steady production to 5.2 Mtpa. Shaft 2 development may be brought forward to accelerate this expansion.