RUSTENBURG (miningweekly.com) − Precious metal miner Pan African Resources has produced its first platinum-group metals (PGMs) concentrate at its Phoenix chrome tailings retreatment plant (CTRP) in the North West province two months early.
The concentrate was sent to Western Platinum, an operating subsidiary of Lonmin, on Tuesday.
Pan African signed a five-year PGM concentrate agreement with the platinum miner.
The early production of PGM concentrates would provide the company with a platinum revenue stream from the end of the third quarter of the current financial year.
The CTRP would initially process 20 000 t/m of chrome tailings, resulting in 12 000 oz/y of PGMs. Planned production for the third and fourth quarters of the financial year was estimated to be 4 500 oz of PGMs.
Pan African planned to double throughput to 40 000 t/m at an estimated capital expenditure of R92-mllion. The upgrade was expected to conclude in the next 24 to 30 months.
The Phoenix platinum operation was tendering to process the tailings of International Ferro Metal subsidiary Sky Chrome’s mine at its plant in Bapong, which would allow Phoenix to operate at 40 000 t/m for the next 17 years.
However, if the company could not secure the contract, the Phoenix upgrade would still proceed, but the life of mine would be reduced to 10 years, from 17 years.
Pan African said it would endeavour to secure more chrome tailings from other sources.