Global Discovery of the Year – (all commodities) Mines and Money Conference London 2012
Waterberg is a potentially industry changing deposit. It is thick, remains open and is near surface. The Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) currently in progress will consider bulk mechanized mining methods based on thicknesses of 3 to 30 meters.
Platinum Group Metals and our joint venture partners made the initial discovery of a completely new section of the Bushveld Complex in November 2011. The initial exploration was funded by JOGMEC – the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation. The interests in the Waterberg JV Project are 37% JOGMEC, 37% Platinum Group Metals directly and 26% in private empowerment partner, Mnombo Wethu Consultants Pty Ltd. Platinum Group owns 49.9% of Mnombo, resulting in an indirect and direct interest in the Waterberg JV Project for Platinum Group of 49.9%. We have been advised by JOGMEC that a formal auction process has begun for the sale of JOGMEC’s 37% interest in the Waterberg JV Project to a successful bidder from a group of qualified Japanese trading firms. This is in keeping with JOGMEC’s mandate, as determined by the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
The initial target of the mining plan in the PEA will likely be the T2 layer, since it has the best grade of the mineralized layers discovered so far, and is also shallow at 130 meters vertical from surface. Determining the best scale for mine development is one of the objectives of the PEA.
The largest part of the potential mining blocks to be considered are called the Super F zones since the thickness in this part of the deposit increases up to 30 meters.
A comparison of grade and thickness is a good measure of a layered deposit’s economic “horsepower”. In a typical Western Limb platinum mine the Merensky Reef averages about 5 grams per tonne over 1 meter thick, equaling a grade thickness of 5 gram/tonne meters.
The Waterberg JV Project Super F zone includes sections of 3 grams per tonne over 30 meters thick, equaling a grade thickness of 90 gram/tonne meters.
In September 2013 we announced an updated independent Inferred Resource estimate for the Waterberg JV Project of 167 million tonnes grading 3.26 grams per tonne of platinum, palladium and gold for a total of 17.5 million ounces with significant copper and nickel credits. (See details and metal splits, Ken Lomberg Independent QP)
The resource estimate includes the T1, T2 and F layers in a brand new, previously undiscovered extension of the Bushveld Complex. The shallowest edge of the known deposit on the Waterberg JV Project territory is on the T2 layer at 130 meters below surface and the resource estimate has been restricted to 1,000 meters vertical as a preliminary economic cut-off. The deposit is 5.5 kilometers long on the joint venture property and is limited to the north by the joint venture property boundary. The deposit remains open along strike to the north beyond the joint venture boundary extending on to prospecting right applications where Platinum Group holds an 87% effective interest with the balance held by a private empowerment partner.