"The newly identified thicker areas, if they continue, could have a significant impact on the project economics. The accelerated drilling is rapidly advancing the project towards a definitive resource estimate," added Jubilee CEO and Tjate project manager Colin Bird.
Preliminary results from an independent structural modelling exercise conducted as part of phase one of the current feasibility study programme suggested that the Merensky Reef in the area identified occurred as two distinct types: a wide type Merensky Reef thicker than 1,84 m; and a thinner type Merensky Reef about 1,01 m thick.
The wide type represented more than 70% of the identified Merensky Reef tonnage and accounted for 77% of the three platinum group metals plus gold content.
The company stated that, if the exploration programme proved the assumption to be correct, then overall mining costs could be affected very favourably.
All six boreholes intersected the MR at expected projected depths, with grades and thicknesses generally in line with the variability expected for this reef.
The Tjate project comprises three contiguous farms, totalling 5 143 ha in the eastern Bushveld namely Dsjate, Fernkloof and Quartz Hill. The farms are downdip of Impala Platinum’s operating Marula platinum mine, and of Anglo Platinum’s developing Twickenham platinum mine.
Jubilee, which last year completed a positive scoping study, has announced its decision to advance the project to feasibility study. The Tjate drilling programme was being accelerated with eight drill rigs on site.