- Published: 15 September 2008
- Written by Editor
Platmin Increases Mphahlele Project Resources
<< "Mphahlele Indicated Mineral Resources increased by 37% to 7.8Moz 5PGE+Au and Inferred Mineral Resources increased by 47% to 10.0Moz 5PGE+Au" /NOT FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES OR OVER UNITED STATES NEWSWIRE SERVICES/ >>
Platmin Limited ("Platmin", TSX/AIM: PPN) is pleased to announce the positive results of a revised NI 43-101 compliant Mineral Resource estimate for its Mphahlele Project. The Indicated Mineral Resources have increased by 37.4% as a result of in-fill drilling and the Inferred Mineral Resources have increased by 47.1% as a result of the discovery of extensions to the UG2 Chromitite Layer and Merensky Reef mineralization at depth.
In addition, new analytical results also allow for the inclusion of iridium and ruthenium, two 'minor' platinum group metals in the resource estimates.
These metals occur with platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold (the "3PGE+Au") throughout the Bushveld Complex on both the Merensky Reef and UG2 Chromitite Layer and are expected to be economically recovered as co-products of the 3PGE+Au during mining. Thus this project's resources can now be declared as '5PGE+Au' to account for all of these precious metals.
As a direct result of the Mphahlele increase, Platmin's global Mineral Resource estimates have increased by 15.2% to 16.1Moz 5PGE+Au (13.5% increase to 9.74Moz attributable to Platmin) in the Measured and Indicated Mineral Resource categories and by 19.7% to 19.55Moz 5PGE+Au (20.3% increase to 10.33Moz attributable to Platmin) in the Inferred Mineral Resource category.
Mphahlele Project Mineral Resources
- Indicated Mineral Resources have increased by 37.4% to 49.5Mt at
4.91g/t 5PGE+Au for 7.81Moz (37.4% increase to 4.24Moz attributable
- Inferred Mineral Resources have increased by 47.1% to 71.9Mt at
4.34g/t 5PGE+Au for 10.03Moz (47.1% increase to 5.45Moz attributable
- The Mphahlele Project has a 7.9km strike of Merensky Reef and UG2
Chromitite Layer and is adjacent to Lonmin's Limpopo Platinum mining
operations. Both reefs sub-crop approximately 30m below surface
- The revised Indicated Mineral Resource forms the basis for the
definitive feasibility study (the "DFS") currently underway on the
Mphahlele Project and expected to be complete at the end of 2008
Mr. Ian Watson, Chief Executive Officer of Platmin, said today that "this substantial increase in the Indicated Mineral Resource at the Mphahlele Project underpins a definitive feasibility study which is being undertaken by SRK Consulting Engineers scheduled for completion at the end of this year. This study is expected to demonstrate that an economically viable project can be developed which would produce over 270,000 ounces of 5PGE+Au in concentrates, from near surface resources, for an initial life of mine in excess of 20 years."
Mr Terry Holohan, Chief Operating Officer, commented today, "it should also be noted that combined Merensky and UG2 concentrates produced from this region of the Eastern Bushveld Complex are 'smelter friendly' in that relative to other mining areas in the Bushveld Complex they contain significantly lower levels of chromitite and higher levels of base metals and sulphides. Thus they are a sought after commodity within the platinum industry."
August 2008 Mineral Resource Estimate
SRK has conducted the revised Mineral Resource estimate for the Mphahlele Project on the basis of the additional drilling that has been ongoing on the project. The Mineral Resource estimate is based on drilling data up to the end of June 2008, which consists of 155 boreholes (66,636m) and assay results for 119 boreholes; with deflections this represents 161 intervals through the Merensky Reef and 267 through the UG2 Chromitite Layer.
The August 2008 Mineral Resource estimate is presented in the table below and represents increases to both the Indicated and Inferred Mineral Resources relative to those reported in October 2007 (see Market Release dated October 16, 2007 available at www.platmin.com). The completion of deeper drilling down to 1,500m has allowed for the resources to be estimated over a larger area and nickel sulphide analyses of a sub-set of the boreholes has enabled the resource to be declared as a 5PGE+Au resource including iridium and ruthenium. The revised estimate comprises Indicated Mineral Resources of 49.5Mt at 4.91g/t 5PGE+Au for 7.81Moz and Inferred Mineral Resources of 71.9Mt at 4.34g/t 5PGE+Au for 10.03Moz. The August 2008 5PGE+Au Indicated Mineral Resource represents a 37% increase in terms of contained ounces over the previous (October 2007) 3PGE+Au Indicated Mineral Resource while the Inferred Mineral Resource represents a 47% increase over the 2007 estimate. The UG2 Chromitite Layer contributes 75% of the Indicated Mineral Resource and 69% of the Inferred Mineral Resource. The balance of the Mineral Resource is from the Merensky Reef.
The inclusion of iridium and ruthenium in the August 2008 Mineral Resource contributes 1.16Moz or 15% to the Indicated Mineral Resources and 1.37Moz or 13.6% to the Inferred Mineral resources.
The revised Mineral Resource estimates are presented in the table below.
Attributable Mineral Resources
Platmin through its subsidiary Boynton Investments (Pty) Ltd has an attributable interest in the Mphahlele Project of 54.3%. A summary of the Mineral Resources attributable to Platmin from the project is presented below.
Analysis of revised Mineral Resource estimates
Additional in-fill drilling has improved the understanding of the Merensky Reef facies variations and has resulted in the shallow Merensky Reef east of the zone affected by intrusive dunite and harzburgite being upgraded to the Indicated Mineral Resource category. Deeper drilling has allowed the area over which the resource is declared to be increased and this has made the most significant difference in the revised resource estimate. The inclusion of nickel sulphide analyses reporting minor platinum group metals Iridium and Ruthenium has made it possible to declare the resource in terms of 5PGE+Au. Geological discounts have been applied to the Mineral Resources and are as follows: UG2 Indicated 15%, UG2 Inferred 25%, Merensky Reef Indicated West Block 12%, East Block 25%, Merensky Reef Inferred West Block 20%, East Block 25%.
Comparison of the '3PGE+Au' grades from the previous (October 2007) to the current August 2008 estimate indicate decreases in the grades estimated for both reefs. This is partly as a result of greater reef width being applied and a larger data set being used in the estimation.
The estimation methodology applied in the 2008 revision of the resource represents spatially controlled geostatistical estimates in three dimensions. This resource model will be used for the completion of a definitive feasibility study on the Mphahlele Project.
SRK considers that the Mineral Resources declared at the Mphahlele Project are of a sufficient quality and quantity for a definitive feasibility study to be conducted.
PLATMIN TOTAL MINERAL RESERVES & RESOURCES.
Total Mineral Reserves and Resources for all Platmin's projects are
currently as follows:
- Proven plus Probable Mineral Reserves of 67.43Mt at 2.04g/t 3PGE+Au,
for 4.42Moz (3.20Moz attributable to Platmin)
- Measured plus Indicated Mineral Resources of 146.1Mt at 3.43g/t
5PGE+Au for 16.1Moz (9.74Moz attributable to Platmin)(1)
- Inferred Mineral Resources of 174.6Mt at 3.48g/t 5PGE+Au for 19.55Moz
(10.33Moz attributable to Platmin)(1)
This revision of the Mphahlele Mineral Resource translates to an overall 15.2% increase in Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources and 19.7% increase in Inferred Mineral Resources when the revised contained 5PGE+Au ounces are compared with the previous estimate of 3PGE+Au ounces on all of Platmin's projects.
UG2 Chromitite Layer - Mineral Resources from the UG2 have been estimated across the entire 7.9km strike of the Mphahlele orebody. Indicated Mineral Resources have been declared from 30m down to approximately 730m below surface and the Inferred Mineral Resource continues down to approximately 1,770m vertically below surface and remains 'open' beyond this depth. The Indicated Mineral Resource totals 31.2Mt at 5.84g/t 5PGE+Au for 5.86Moz while the Inferred Mineral Resource totals 43.1Mt at 4.98g/t 5PGE+Au for 6.90Moz. The areas over which the UG2 Mineral Resources have been declared are shown in the Map 1 below.
<< UG2 Chromitite Layer: Map 1 http://files.newswire.ca/533/UG2Map1.pdf >>
A full version of this release including maps can be found on the Company's website, www.platmin.com
Merensky Reef - Mineral Resources from the Merensky have been estimated across approximately 83% of the 7.9km strike of the Mphahlele orebody. Indicated Mineral Resources have been declared from 30m down to approximately 550m below surface and Inferred Mineral Resources from 550m to approximately 1,440m vertically below surface. Mineralisation in the Merensky Reef remains 'open' beyond this depth. The variations in the Merensky Reef on the property necessitate the estimation of separate Eastern and Western blocks based on facies. The Eastern and Western blocks lie on either side of the zone affected by intrusive dunite and harzburgite that was excluded from the resource as shown in Map 2 below. Higher grades have been estimated for the Merensky Reef within the Western Block.
The Merensky Reef Indicated Mineral Resource totals 18.3Mt at 3.32g/t 5PGE+Au for 1.95Moz while the Inferred Mineral Resource totals 28.8Mt at 3.39g/t for 3.14Moz. The area over which the Merensky Reef Mineral Resources have been declared is shown in the Map 2 below.
<< Merensky Reef: Map 2 http://files.newswire.ca/533/MerenskyMap2.pdf >>
A full version of this release including maps can be found on the Company's website, www.platmin.com
Definitive Feasibility Study ("DFS")
The current Indicated Mineral Resource will form the basis for the DFS currently underway on the Mphahlele Project with SRK as lead consultants. This study will investigate mining down to approximately 500m below surface utilising the expertise of the mining contractor Murray and Roberts Cementation to carry out the design and the detailed mine scheduling. It is anticipated that both Merensky and UG2 ores will be processed through a single conventional flotation plant designed to optimise the production rate.
Current Drilling Program
A drilling program is currently underway targeting the planned start up mining blocks at the base of the three planned declines. Information from this drilling will be used for the detailed mine planning.
Quality Assurance, Quality Control and Qualified Persons
Exploration at the Mphahlele Project is being conducted under the supervision of Mr. Mike Bowen, Project Manager for the Mphahlele Project. Mr. Bowen (M.Sc. Geology) is a geologist with more than 11 years experience in PGM exploration and a member of the Geological Society of South Africa. Mr. Bowen is an independent contractor to Platmin.
Consulting Geologist, Mr. John Astrup, the Company's Qualified Person for the Mphahlele Project, as defined under National Instrument 43-101, is responsible for the technical material in this release, excluding the mineral resource estimate. Mr. Astrup has verified the data disclosed in this release. Mr. John Astrup (M.Sc. Exploration Geology) is a registered Professional Natural Scientist ("Pr.Sci.Nat.") with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions ("SACNASP") and has 11 years of experience in PGM, Ni and Cu exploration. The technical content of this press release has been compiled by Mr. John Astrup.
Bore holes were drilled with a combination of NQ, and TNW core; generally mother holes are completed as NQ core and deflections as TNW core. The core is logged by suitably experienced geologists and mineralised intervals are identified and sampled. Sample intervals are kept to approximately 20cm; core is then split by means of a diamond saw. Geological logging and sampling was carried out under the supervision of Mr. Bowen. Further details of Platmin's geological procedures have been reported in Platmin's August 2008 ITR.
Samples are submitted to SGS Lakefield Research Africa Laboratories, an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory, in Johannesburg where they are prepared and analysed for Pt, Pd, Au, Rh, Ni and Cu. The Pt, Pd and Au analyses involved a lead fire assay technique with a silver collector and ICP-OES finish, Rh is analysed as a separate lead fire assay using a palladium collector and ICP-OES finish. Ni and Cu are analysed using an Aqua Regia digest with an AA finish and reflect the acid soluble metal content.
Quality Control ("QC") procedures include the submission of certified standards and blanks with every reef intersection submitted. Results of the standards are assessed on a batch by batch basis as is all internal Quality Assurance ("QA") / QC included by the laboratory which includes laboratory repeats, standards and blanks. A selection of milled sample pulps that have been returned from Lakefield are relabelled and resubmitted to Lakefield for repeat analyses. In addition further pulps are submitted to an independent second or umpire laboratory (Genalysis, an accredited laboratory in Perth, Western Australia). Further details of Platmin's QA/QC procedures are described in Platmin's Independent Technical Report.
Nickel sulphide ("NiS") analyses were conducted on 19 complete reef intercepts of Merensky Reef and 32 from the UG2: this represents approximately 12% of all intersections through each reef. The NiS analyses were performed on milled sample pulps by Genalysis Laboratory Services using their sample preparation facility in Johannesburg and laboratory in Perth, Western Australia. The analysis involves a fire assay with nickel sulphide collection followed by ICP-MS finish.
Dr. Anthony Martin and Mr Mark Wanless, both employed by SRK, are the Qualified Persons (as defined in National Instrument 43-101 (Standards of disclosure for Mineral projects)) for the Mineral Resource estimation on the Mphahlele Project reported in this release. Dr Martin is registered with the South African Council for Natural Scientific Professions ("Pr.Sci.Nat") and the Australian Institute on Mining and Metallurgy ("AusIMM"). He has 36 years experience as a geologist of which 28 have been involved with mining geology and exploration. Mr Mark Wanless is registered with the South African Council for Natural Scientific professions ("Pr.Sci.Nat") and has 12 years experience as a geologist and 10 years in mineral resource estimation.
Resource estimation involved the following; generation of reef composites (for Merensky Reef by applying a $/t cut off value and keeping to a minimum width of 1.2m and for UG2 from the top to the base of the chromitite unit eliminating anomalously thick chromitite units and applying a minimum width of 1.2m), generation of a 3D wireframe model by applying a polynomial trend. The Eastern and Western blocks of the Merensky Reef were estimated separately. The UG2 was estimated in three different stacked layer units representing the upper portion of the UG2, the silicate parting (where developed) and the lower portion of the UG2. The wireframes were used to generate a block model using rotated 200m x 200m blocks sub-celled to 10m in the plane of the reef. Semi-variograms were modeled for Pt, Pd, Rh, Au, Ni, Cu, density and width. Ordinary Kriging was used to interpolate grades into the block model. The grades for Ir and Ru were determined from the sub set of NiS data by comparing the Ir and Ru ratios to the other PGE's. The Ir and Ru both showed good correlation with Rh and this ratio was used to estimate grades for these minor PGE's.
The Mineral Resources were classified according to the Canadian Institute of Mining Metallurgy and Petroleum ("CIM") Standards on Mineral Resources and Reserves, Definitions and Guidelines. The quality of drilling, logging, sampling and assaying, confidence in the geological interpretation and quality of the estimates were considered when classifying the Mineral Resources. The quality of drilling, logging, sampling and assaying are considered to be adequate, and the quality of the estimates and confidence in the geological interpretation are principally influenced by the quantity of information available. Drill hole spacing was therefore the primary consideration in the classification. The more densely drilled upper portions of the Mineral Resources (to 550m below surface for the Merensky Reef and to 730m below surface for the UG2 Reef) are classified as Indicated Mineral Resources. The more sparsely drilled and deeper areas are classified as Inferred Resources to depths just beyond the deepest line of drilling. A 1.3km strike length of the Merensky Reef, disturbed by intrusive, has been excluded from the Mineral Resources because the mineralisation is inconsistently developed and is unlikely to be economic to extract.
Platmin is an explorer and emerging PGM producer whose four key projects host mineral resources and reserves: Pilanesberg, Mphahlele, Grootboom and Loskop. The Pilanesberg Project is under construction with production of PGM concentrate expected in 2009. 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"), "5PGE+Au" means: Platinum ("Pt"), Palladium ("Pd"), Rhodium ("Rh"), Gold ("Au"), Iridium ("Ir") and Ruthenium ("Ru"), "Mt" means million tonnes, ("g/t") means grams per tonne, ("Moz") means million ounces Troy. Mineral Resources stated in this Market Release were estimated by SRK Consulting of Johannesburg ("SRK") as reported in an Independent Technical Report prepared by SRK in accordance with Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum standards (commonly known as the "CIM" standards) and reported in accordance with National Instrument 43-101 (the "August 2008 Independent Technical Report" or the "August 2008 ITR") which will be filed on SEDAR in accordance with Canadian regulatory requirements and available to be downloaded from www.sedar.com.
<< FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION, FUTURE ORIENTED FINANCIAL INFORMATION AND FINANCIAL OUTLOOKS >>
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 the matters discussed in this market release 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 statements regarding the results of the definitive feasibility study being conducted on the Mphahlele project, future life of mine and annual production estimates, and mineral resource estimates, and are based on a number of material factors and assumptions, including, the result of drilling activities, current progress of technical and feasibility studies, that contracted parties provide goods and/or services on the agreed timeframes, that equipment necessary for construction and development and mining is available as scheduled and does not incur unforeseen break downs, that no labour shortages or delays are incurred, that plant and equipment functions as specified, that no unusual geological or technical problems occur, and that other 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 for Platmin's projects with power requirements or otherwise normal hazards (geological, technical, and production) associated with mining development and operations, adverse currency fluctuations, and those risks publicly disclosed by Platmin in its filings available at www.sedar.com. While Platmin considers these assumptions to be reasonably based on information currently available to it, they may ultimately prove to be incorrect.
<< --------------- (1) For projects where 5PG+Au estimates do not exist 3PGE+Au values have been applied 'unfactored' for iridium and ruthenium >>
SOURCE: Platmin Limited
Ian Watson, Chief Executive Officer, +27 12 661 4280; Terry Holohan, Chief Operating Officer, +27 12 661 4280; Fiona Owen, Grant Thornton UK LLP (Nominated Adviser), +44 207 383 5100; Nicola Brower, Russell & Associates, +27 11 880 3924