On track for new 250,000 oz 3PGE+Au / annum mine to come into production
in the first quarter of calendar 2009
/NOT FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES OR OVER UNITED STATES
TORONTO, Feb. 19 /CNW/ - Platmin Limited ("Platmin" or the "Company" PPN:
TSX/AIM) is pleased to announce that the South African Department of Minerals
and Energy has granted the Company a Mining Right over approximately 85% of
four properties in the Pilanesberg Project area.
- Mining Right granted for Pilanesberg project
- Power and water supply approved
- Standard Bank appointed as Lead Arranger for US$200 million of debt
- Plant construction commenced and on track for commissioning in the
first quarter of calendar 2009
- Offtake terms being finalized
The Mining Right granted to Pilanesberg Platinum Mines (Pty) Ltd, a
wholly owned subsidiary of Boynton Investments (Pty) Ltd, Platmin's operating
subsidiary in South Africa, covers approximately 85% of the Tuschenkomst,
Ruighoek, Witkleifontein and Rooderand properties in the Pilanesberg project
area as applied for in the mining right application. In accordance with the
feasibility study on the Pilanesberg project completed by SRK Consulting
("SRK") (the "FS") which was announced by Platmin in July 2007, it will
initially mine ore from the Tuschenkomst property followed by the Ruighoek
Platmin's Executive Deputy Chairman Keith Liddell said "Granting of the
Mining Right for our Pilanesberg project is an important milestone in
Platmin's transition from PGM explorer to developer and producer of 250,000 oz
3PGE + Au annually. Orders were placed for all long lead items prior to
granting of the Mining Right with suppliers on track for delivery of critical
path items including; mills, electrical transformers, crushers and flotation
cells. Plant design and related infrastructure design has already been
completed." and added that "With mining expected to commence earlier than was
anticipated in the Pilanesberg feasibility study, early access of higher
recovery fresh ores is expected to have a positive effect on project
economics. Further refinement studies including mine planning and scheduling
are in progress to maximize revenue from the two open pits."
Plant construction is underway and commissioning is scheduled to take
place in the first quarter of 2009. Initial waste stripping should commence at
the Tuschenkomst open pit in March of 2008. Ore mining at the Tuschenkomst
property is on track to commence during the last quarter of calendar 2008.
Once in steady state production, expected in 2010, the Pilanesberg project is
expected to produce approximately 250,000 oz 3PGE + Au per annum and should
produce approximately half of steady state production during calendar 2009.
Based on the Pilanesberg FS and current Mineral Reserve estimates the
Pilanesberg project will have a life of mine ("LoM") of 16 years. This LoM
will be extended if the Mineral Resources on other properties forming part of
the Mining Right are incorporated.
Platmin's CEO Ian Watson said that "Project economics are robust with
feasibility studies indicating a Base Case Internal Rate of Return ("IRR") of
21.71% in real terms and 31.3% in nominal terms (ungeared after tax) and a
payback period of 2.5 years from commissioning of the plant, based on basket
metals prices less than half of prices currently seen by the market"
Commissioning of the plant has been agreed with the EPCM (engineering,
procurement and construction management) contractor, DRA Mineral Projects
(Pty) Ltd ("DRA") for the first quarter of calendar 2009.
Minerals Operations Executive (Pty) Ltd. ("Minopex"), a recognized South
African PGM plant operations contractor and MCC Contracts (Pty) Ltd. ("MCC") a
recognized South African open pit PGM mining contractor are the preferred
contractors to run all operations at the Pilanesberg project.
South Africa's electricity public utility ("Eskom") has approved the
required 40 MVA electrical power supply to Platmin's Pilanesberg project. In a
recent letter from Eskom, it was confirmed that the provision of power supply
sufficient for full operation of the Pilanesberg platinum mine has been
approved and in due course, Eskom will submit a budget quotation setting out
the detailed terms.
Platmin's CEO, Ian Watson said that "Platmin is in the enviable position
in that it's Tuschenkomst and Ruighoek deposits will be mined in two open pit
mines and accordingly, mine production will not be affected by potential power
supply interruptions. Platmin remains on track for first production at
Pilanesberg in the first quarter of calendar 2009.".
Eskom also confirmed that the fabrication of the two dedicated 20 MVA
transformers which were ordered by Platmin in February 2007 is nearing
completion and that the units will be held in storage by Eskom until scheduled
to be connected into the Eskom power grid later this year.
Platmin already has an initial installed power supply of 1.5 MVA in place
at the Pilanesberg project site which it has been utilizing for site
construction preparation as well as for pumping of borehole water since
Pilanesberg Project Financing
In November, 2007 Platmin announced the appointment of The Standard Bank
of South Africa Limited as Lead Arranger to secure approximately
US$200 million in project debt project finance for the development of the
Platmin raised approximately C$92 million (gross including an over
allotment option) in a private and public equity capital raising in December,
2007, of which approximately C$76 million was for construction phase
expenditure at the Pilanesberg project.
About the Pilanesberg Project
The Pilanesberg feasibility study announced in July of 2007 declared
Proven and Probable PGE Mineral Reserves totaling 4.4 million ounces of
3PGEs + Au (3.2 million ounces attributable to Platmin).
The positive results of the Pilanesberg FS confirmed the robustness of
the project noted by SRK in the FS, with Platmin's Board of Directors
approving its development. The FS indicated a Base Case Internal Rate of
Return ("IRR") of 21.71% in real terms and 31.3% in nominal terms (ungeared
after tax) with a payback period of 2.5 years from commissioning and an
average operating margin of 46%. It should be noted that the FS was completed
with average base case long term metal price assumptions over the 16 years of
LoM of the project of US$951 for platinum, US$299/oz for palladium,
US$3,819/oz for rhodium, US$523/oz for gold for a 3PGE + Au basket price of
approximately US$954/oz. The average Rand to United States dollar exchange
rate over the LoM of the project was ZAR8.06: US$1.00. The current spot basket
price is more than double this at approximately US$2,000/oz 3PGE+Au with a
foreign exchange rate of approximately ZAR7.66: US$1.00.
Platmin is in advanced negotiations for finalization of off-take terms.
Platmin will produce two concentrates (UG2 and Silicate) which will be
combined to achieve a PGE concentrate that is low in chrome, making it highly
attractive for smelting. Total production over the LoM is approximately 3.0Moz
3PGE+Au (approximately 2.2Moz attributable to Platmin).
Platmin is a TSX and AIM (PPN) listed PGM exploration and development
company focused on its four key advanced projects that host PGM Mineral
Resources and Reserves: Pilanesberg, M'Phatlele, Grootboom and Loskop of which
the Pilanesberg Project is currently in the development phase with the balance
expected to follow. All of Platmin's projects are located in the Bushveld
Complex of South Africa, which is estimated to contain approximately 90% of
global platinum Mineral Resources.
In this Market Release "3PGE+Au" means: Platinum ("Pt"), Palladium
("Pd"), Rhodium ("Rh") and Gold ("Au"), "MVA" means Maga Volts Amps,
"Silicate" means the concentrate emanating from the Merensky reef, Merensky
Footwall, the Upper Pseudo Reef, the Lower Pseudo Reef and the Pseudo Reef
Harzburgite mineralization. The Mineral Resource and Reserve estimates
mentioned in this Market Release were carried out by SRK Consulting of
Johannesburg ("SRK"), as part of SRK's independent assessment of the
Pilanesberg Project. Information contained in this Market Release is based on
a National Instrument 43-101 (Standards of disclosure for Mineral projects)
("NI" or "National Instrument 43-101") and Canadian Institute of Mining,
Metallurgy and Petroleum (commonly known as the "CIM" standards) compliant
Independent Technical Report dated August 7, 2007 which has been filed on
SEDAR and is available to be downloaded from www.sedar.com.
FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION, FUTURE ORIENTED FINANCIAL INFORMATION AND
Certain statements contained in this market release constitute
forward-looking information, future oriented financial information, and
financial outlooks (collectively "forward-looking information") within the
meaning of Canadian securities laws. Forward-looking information may relate to
this and other matters identified in Platmin's public filings, Platmin's
future outlook and anticipated events or results and, in some cases, can be
identified by terminology such as "may", "will", "should", "expect", "plan",
"anticipate", "believe", "intend", "estimate", "predict", "potential",
"continue" or other similar expressions concerning matters that are not
historical facts. Actual results may vary from such forward-looking
information for a variety of reasons, including those set forth below.
Forward-looking statements in this Market Release include among others:
achieving production by the first quarter of 2009, commencement of initial
waste stripping at the Tuschenkomst open pit in March of 2008, commencement of
ore mining during the last calendar quarter of 2008, achieving steady state
production by 2010, reaching production of 250,000 oz 3PGE + Au per annum,
producing half of steady state production during calendar 2009 at the
Pilanesberg project, achieving a life of mine of 16 years, extending the LoM
of the Pilanesberg project, achieving production within the next 12 months,
maintaining construction schedules, expected rates of return from the
Pilanesberg project, expected margins at the Pilanesberg project, successfully
extracting higher recovery fresh ores earlier than expected and any positive
effect of on project economics, results of refinement studies including mine
planning and scheduling improving revenue from the two open pits, receiving 40
MVA electrical power supply from Eskom for Platmin's Pilanesberg project,
receiving a budget quotation from Eskom, not being affected by any interrupted
power supply from Eskom, completion of fabrication of the two dedicated 20 MVA
transformers, connection into Eskom's grid at all or on time for commissioning
of the plant, conclusion of any offtake agreement.
Such forward-looking statements are based on a number of material factors
and assumptions, including, that contracted parties provide goods and/or
services on the agreed timeframes, that equipment necessary for construction
and development is available as scheduled and does not incur unforeseen break
downs, that no labor shortages or delays are incurred, that plant and
equipment functions as specified, that no unusual geological or technical
problems occur, and that on-going contractual negotiations will be completely
successful and progressed and/or completed in a timely manner.
There can be no assurance that Platmin's actual results will match the
forward-looking information as a result of a number of risks, including any
unforeseen way power cuts, brown outs or "Load Shedding" or similar events
resulting from any inability of ESKOM to supply Platmin's projects with power
requirements or otherwise normal hazards (geological, technical, and
production) associated with mining operations), adverse currency fluctuations,
and those risks publicly disclosed by Platmin in its filings available at
www.sedar.com. While we consider these assumptions to be reasonable based on
information currently available to us, they may prove to be incorrect.
For further information:
For further information: Platmin Limited: 6 EcoFusion Office Park, Block
B, 324, Witch-Hazel Avenue, Highveld Park X59, 0157, Centurion, 0067, South
Africa; Keith Liddell, Executive Deputy Chairman, +61 8 9221 7466; Ian Watson,
Chief Executive Officer, +27 12 661 4280; RBC Capital Markets: Peter
Barrett-Lennard, +44 207653 4253; Grant Thornton Corporate Finance (Nomad):
Fiona Owen, +44 207 383 5100; GMP Securities L.P.: Mark Wellings, (416)
367-8600; Haywood Securities: John Willett, (416) 507-2345.