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Ivanhoe completes “starter mine” at multi-billion dollar Platreef project

Platreef’s Shaft 1 headframe on the left and Shaft 2 construction. (Image courtesy of Ivanhoe Mines.)

Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN)(OTCQX: IVPAF) said on Monday it had finished construction of the Shaft 1 production changeover at its platinum group and gold Platreef mine in the South African province of Limpopo.

Ivanhoe is developing the multi-billion dollar project in three scalable phases and sees this as its “starter mine.” Shaft 1, located 450 metres from the first high-grade area of the Platreef orebody, will help the Canadian miner establish a strategic production foothold on South Africa’s Bushveld PGM Complex.

“Phase 1 mine is only the beginning of a multi-stage, multi-generational mining complex underpinned by an enormous, high-grade resource and vast exploration upside,” the company’s president, Marna Cloete, told attendants at African Mining Indaba Conference.

Platreef’s initial production shaft is expected to churn out 700,000 tonnes of ore a year. The company envisions that future expansions to 12 million tonnes per annum and beyond would position Platreef among the world’s largest and lowest-cost nickel and PGM mines.

The asset is slated to produce more than 24,000 tonnes of nickel and 1.1 million ounces of palladium, rhodium, platinum, and gold per year, Ivanhoe said.

Countdown to 2024

“Platreef is well on track for historic first PGM and base metal production by the third quarter of 2024,” executive co-chair and founder Robert Friedland said in a statement. “This achievement will only mark our first milestone. We plan to expand this tier-one operation into one of the largest and lowest-cost, integrated PGM operations on the planet,” he noted. 

Ivanhoe indirectly owns 64% of Platreef through its subsidiary, Ivanplats, and is directing all mine development work.  The operation will trial emissions-free machines during its initial development phase.