Ivanhoe Mines secures $300 stream financing for Platreef Mine in South Africa
Ivanhoe Mines’ South African subsidiary, Ivanplats, has concluded stream-financing agreements with Orion Mine Finance and Nomad Royalty Company for a US$200 million gold-streaming facility and a US$100 million palladium- and platinum-streaming facility for its world-scale Platreef palladium-rhodium-platinum-nickel-copper-gold project in Limpopo Province, South Africa.
Ivanhoe Mines executive co-chair Robert Friedland and Ivanhoe Mines president Marna Cloete announced that the proceeds will be used to advance the first phase of Platreef’s Mine development, with commercial production expected in 2024. The definitive feasibility study for Platreef’s phased development plan, which will provide updated production forecasts for the initial mine and subsequent expansion, is nearing completion with release expected in the first quarter of 2022.
Ivanplats also has signed documents relating to offtake arrangements for 100 percent of Platreef's Phase 1 platinum-group-metals (PGMs) concentrate production, which is expected to be more than 40 kt/a (44,000 stpy) containing six payable metals, including palladium, rhodium, platinum, nickel, copper and gold.
The offtake arrangements are with Northam Platinum Limited and Heron Metals Pty Ltd., a joint venture in which Trafigura Pte. Ltd., a Singaporean registered company, has a majority shareholding. Northam Platinum is an independent, fully empowered, integrated PGM producer, with primary operations in South Africa including the wholly owned Zondereinde Mine and metallurgical complex, and Booysendal Mine. The Trafigura Group is one of the world’s leading independent commodity trading and logistics houses.
The terms of the proposed offtake with Heron Metals/Trafigura are based on a non-binding indicative term sheet and are subject to negotiation and execution of definitive documentation for a concentrate sales agreement.
“The stream financing agreements, which represent a small fraction of Platreef's incredible resource base, and accompanying offtake arrangements are critical milestones in the progression to commercial production for Ivanplats. They provide funding for a significant portion of the mine's initial phase of development, as well as a long-term home for our PGM, nickel and copper concentrates,” Cloete said in a statement.
“Advancing Platreef to production also marks another step in Ivanhoe Mines’ journey to become the world's next major, diversified mining company; one with top ESG credentials and an industry-leading portfolio of tier-one assets.
“The Platreef Mine is very scalable, and we see the first-phase, 700,000-tonne-per-annum operation as only our starter mine – one that will establish a strategic production foothold on South Africa's Bushveld PGM Complex, and support potential future expansions of this unique orebody, which contains 59 million ounces of platinum, palladium and rhodium plus gold (3PE+Au) in indicated resources and a further 94 million ounces in inferred, in addition to significant quantities of nickel and copper, at a cut-off grade of 1 gram per tonne 3PE+Au.
“Future expansions to 12 million tonnes per annum and beyond, as demonstrated in previous studies, would position Platreef among the world's largest and lowest-cost nickel and PGM mines, producing more than 24,000 tonnes of nickel and 1.1 million ounces of palladium, rhodium, platinum, and gold per year; and help feed the demand for critical electric minerals that the world needs as it transitions to a net-zero future.
“The phased development approach has worked extremely well at Kamoa-Kakula and we consider it to be the optimal strategy to accelerate our growth and diversification across commodities, and maintain a healthy balance sheet. The mineral endowment at Platreef is enormous and we fully intend to continue expanding the mine with the construction of Shaft 2, with the team working hard on opportunities to accelerate its availability for hoisting. We are passionately focused on being part of the solution as the world transitions to clean, renewable energy.
“We also are very pleased to conclude a three-year collective agreement with our employees that values and respects their expertise, their contributions during the pandemic, and their role in building the world's next great mine.”