Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The final condition to conclude the $70m, two-stage purchase of the Maseve mine and concentrator by Royal Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat) from Canada’s Platinum Group Metals was met on Friday.

The two-stage deal to firstly secure the new 110,000 tonnes per month concentrator for $58m and then the underground assets in a share transaction worth $12m has given RBPlat an entire new mining operation that cost $500m for just $70m.

The final condition was approval from the Department of Mineral Resources to transfer mineral rights from the Canadian company to RBPlat, which had now been granted, RBPlat said on Friday.

The transaction also gives RBPlat the immediate processing capacity it needs to treat the 150,000 tonnes a month coming from its new Styldrift mine and the confidence to lift output to 230,000 tonnes a month.

Styldrift’s production will be treated at the Maseve concentrator — which for a cost of R450m can be expanded to 160,000 tonnes a month and fed via a conveyor belt system — as well as the Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine concentrator to the south. Maseve, Styldrift and Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine all share boundaries and are immediately south of Sun City in the North West.

The cost of building a new 100,000 tonnes a month concentrator would be about R1.6bn and Styldrift would have to stockpile about R1bn worth of ore ahead of the plant during the 18-month construction period to commission and then feed the concentrator.

Assuming the Maseve concentrator’s capacity is expanded and combined with the Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine concentrating capacity, there would be spare capacity of about 40,000 tonnes a month.

RBPlat could fill this by either mining part of the Maseve ore body called Block 11 or bring forward the development and extraction of the Frischgewaagd block at Styldrift, which had been scheduled for extraction in 15 years’ time.

The options will form part of a study within RBPlat now it owns the whole asset.

The Canadian company is in a partnership with Impala Platinum at its undeveloped Waterberg prospect in Limpopo, with the South African company considering taking a majority stake in developing a mine and concentrator at the prospect.

seccombea@bdfm.co.za