JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The advancement of the palladium-dominant Waterberg project to a development and construction decision is the primary business objective of Platinum Group Metals (PTM).
The Toronto- and New York-listed company, headed by CEO Michael Jones, stated this on Thursday, November 26, when it presented its financial results for the year ended August 31 and also announced the closure of the private placement of shares that allows South Africa’s Hosken Consolidated Investments through its Deepkloof subsidiary to maintain a greater than 31% interest in the company. Net private placement proceeds will be allocated to Waterberg project predevelopment costs, partial debt repayment and general corporate and working capital purposes.
Located on the northern limb of the Bushveld Complex, the Waterberg project is planned as a fully mechanised, shallow, decline access palladium, platinum, gold and rhodium mine that is projected to be one of the largest and lowest cost underground platinum group metal (PGM) mines globally.
Detailed consultation with communities, local municipalities, the Limpopo provincial government and South African national authorities is complete for the mining right, which was applied for in August 2018; environmental authorisation was granted on August 12. Construction funding and concentrate offtake arrangements are being pursued.
Of major importance on the PGMs marketing front is PTM’s promotion of the Lion Battery Technologies initiative, which involves the entry of platinum and palladium in lithium battery technology. This would mean that PGMs could be used in battery electric vehicles and allow the metals to play a role across the broadest of automotive fronts from internal combustion engines to the full extent of the fast-advancing hydrogen economy. Last year, PTM founded Lion Battery Technologies in partnership with Anglo American Platinum to support the use of palladium and platinum in lithium battery applications.
“The investment in Lion creates a potential vertical integration with electric vehicles, which may otherwise be a potential threat to the platinum and palladium market,” PTM stated in a release to Mining Weekly.
In addition to discussions with PGMs major Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats), PTM and Waterberg JV Company have begun a process to assess commercial alternatives for mine development financing and concentrate offtake, subject to Implats' right to match offtake proposals. Several parties are currently in discussions with the company.
Discovered by PTM, the Waterberg project is being jointly advanced by PTM, Implats, Japan Oil, Gas & Metals National Corporation, Hanwa and Mnombo Wethu Consultants.