Ivanhoe accelerates feasibility study for Platreef palladium project

Workers at the Platreef project in South Africa. (Image courtesy of Ivanhoe Mines).

Ivanhoe Mines’ (TSX: IVN) co-chairmen Robert Friedland and Yufeng “Miles” Sun announced that the company’s South African subsidiary, Ivanplats, is fast-tracking a feasibility study on a smaller-scale, early-stage development plan using Shaft 1 as a production shaft at its Platreef palladium, platinum, nickel, copper, gold and rhodium mining licence.

According to Friedland and Sun, spot prices of palladium and rhodium – two key metals contained in the Platreef ore – have soared in recent months, propelling the project’s ‘metals-price basket’ to a new, all-time high.

Platreef is located on the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa’s northern Limpopo province

“An independent feasibility study is underway to review Ivanhoe’s planned smaller-scale, early-stage, lower-capital-cost production plan,” the chairmen said in a media statement. “Ivanhoe’s plan would accelerate the mine’s first production by using Shaft 1 as the mine’s initial production shaft, followed by expansions to the production rate outlined in the project’s 2017 definitive feasibility study. Ivanhoe’s smaller-scale mine design also is optimized to target the highest-grade areas of the mineral resource in close vicinity to Shaft 1.”

Platreef’s Shaft 1 currently is at a depth of 957 metres below surface. It is scheduled to be completed to a final depth of approximately 1,000 metres by the end of July 2020. Work on Shaft 1’s 950-metre-level station – the shaft’s third and final station – is expected to be completed in March 2020.

The property has an estimated 26.8 million ounces of palladium in current indicated mineral resources, and an additional 43.0 million ounces in current inferred mineral resources, at a 2.0 g/t 3PE+gold cut-off.

The project also has an estimated 1.8 million ounces of rhodium in current indicated mineral resources, and an additional 3.1 million ounces in current inferred mineral resources, at a 2.0 g/t 3PE+gold cut-off. The rhodium in the Platreef ore is strongly correlated with both palladium and platinum.

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