Modern Mining

Platinum Group Metals (Platinum Group), listed on the TSX and NYSE MKT, says it is taking steps to restructure its mining operations at its Maseve mine, located 35 km from Rustenburg in the Sun City area.

Platinum Group to restructure Maseve mineView of the Maseve mine, which is located in the Sun City area (photo: Platinum Group).

The restructuring would involve a change in primary mining method and cost reductions to create a sustainable future for the mine. The changes are operationally driven to align costs with a more gradual ramp-up of production using more selective mining methods.

As a result of the anticipated restructuring process, there are a large number of employees in the service of independent contractors and staff of Maseve who could be affected. Platinum Group says it will work closely with all its contractors, including Redpath Mining South Africa, the largest mining contractor on site, to minimise job losses while making the operation self-sustainable. It is likely that Redpath will continue to be the main contractor at the mine.

“We see good potential for a sustainable mine at Maseve. The South African government and the local community have been very supportive of the Maseve mine, and we deeply value their assistance and support,” said R. Michael Jones, CEO of Platinum Group. “We will work with our contractors, employees and other stakeholders in a climate of mutual respect, as we transition through the proposed restructuring process.”

The restructuring aims to reduce ongoing costs and achieve positive, sustainable cash flows as soon as possible, utilising already-established infrastructure. A ‘hybrid’ mining method is under consideration, which would result in a transition from the current higher volume, mechanised bord-and-pillar mining method. Hybrid mining involves mechanised access drives using the mine’s current equipment as well as conventional manual methods for stoping. Both bord-and-pillar and hybrid methods were included in the mine's feasibility study.

Face grades at the Maseve mine have generally met estimates, but the fully mechanised mining method has resulted in excess dilution and therefore lower grades to the plant. The Maseve concentrator plant has performed in excess of design criteria. Completed underground conveyor infrastructure will help reduce the trucking fleet required for mining from Block 11, the target for immediate mining.

Platinum Group has notified the Department of Mineral Resources that a restructuring is required to create a viable operation and to ensure optimal mining of the resource, and that it will comply with the applicable provisions of Section 52 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act (MPRDA).

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