JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The first tons have been hoisted at Marikana K4, Sibanye-Stillwater’s high-yield platinum-group metals (PGM) recovery project, which was largely pre-developed and outfitted when acquired with the late Lonmin in 2019.
“The K4 project is an unrivaled and industry-leading project in the PGM industry that will provide significant value and benefits to all stakeholders for many years to come,” said Sibanye-Stillwater CEO. Neal Froneman stated in a statement to Weekly mining.
Sibanye-Stillwater, listed in Johannesburg and New York, is investing R4 billion in the project which, in addition to creating more than 4,000 direct jobs over its 50-year life, generates local business opportunities and provides development economy and valuable skills. transfers for communities.
K4 this month became the sixth shaft at the large Marikana PGMs mining complex, located on the western branch of the Bushveld complex, 40 km east of the town of Rustenburg in the North West African province. from South.
Overall, Marikana has PGM Four Element (4E) Mineral Reserves of 22.3 million ounces and PGM 4E Mineral Resources of 128 million ounces, estimates which include tailings.
K4 will access both Merensky and Upper Group 2 (UG2) reefs at an average of 250,000 oz/yr at steady state, with its main shaft spanning 1,332m and its vertical shaft up to at a depth of 1078 m.
The associated surface infrastructure is largely in place with only minor renovations required and the K4 mill is fully operational, at a design capacity of 130,000 t of Merensky reef and UG2 per month.
K4 joins operations such as K3, Rowland, Saffy, 4Belt and E3. Conventional down-dip mining, combined with limited mining, is the predominant mining method used.
Ore mined at the Marikana operation is processed by on-site concentrators with a combined crushing capacity of 600,000 tonnes per month. The concentrate produced is sent to the smelter where a sulphide-rich matte is produced for further processing at the Base Metal Refinery (BMR). At BMR, the base metals (nickel and copper) are removed and the resulting PGM-rich tailings are then sent to the Sibanye-Stillwater Precious Metals Refinery (PMR) at Brakpan on the East Rand for processing. final treatment. PMR produces the end products in precious metals.
Sibanye-Stillwater’s Southern Africa PGM operations consist of three managed underground operations producing PGMs – Marikana, Rustenburg and Kroondal – as well as an open pit operation at Kroondal and all associated surface treatment facilities in South Africa .
Additionally, the PGM segment has a 50% attributable share in the Mimosa mine, an unmanaged underground operation in Zimbabwe.
The Rustenburg operations are served by four hubs and the Kroondal operations by two hubs.
In addition to primary mining operations, the group has several tailings reprocessing operations.
Exploration assets include Akanani, which is located on the northern branch of the Bushveld Igneous Complex near the town of Mokopane, the Limpopo exploration project, located 50 km southeast of Mokopane, and the Blue Ridge Platinum Exploration, a 50% owned joint venture.