New platinum potential in Waterberg

2 May 2012

Canadian miner Platinum Group Metals has announced the discovery of potentially rich platinum deposits in a previously unexplored part of the platinum-rich Bushveld Igneous Complex in the Waterberg region of South Africa’s Limpopo province.

The company first announced its Waterberg discovery in November, followed by a statement in February saying that “multiple intercepts of consistently high grade, thick reef” with “excellent exploration potential” had been discovered at depths of much less than 1 000 metres.

Extension of the Bushveld Complex

It described the estimated basket metal price for the reefs under exploration as “attractive and high in gold”, noting that the northern “limb” of the Bushveld Complex had seen an increase in exploration and investment in the past seven years because of “larger thickness” suitable for mechanized mining.

The company’s Waterberg project is located north of this northern limb – an extension of the Bushveld Complex that the company discovered in 2011.

On the basis of the high grade, shallow and wide drill intercepts discovered since then, the company estimates that the extension covers at least 100 square kilometres.

‘Don’t assume the best stuff’s already been found’

It has expanded its Waterberg exploration programme from five to eight drill rigs, with CEO Mike Jones, in an interview with Business Day, describing the find as “geologically the most interesting thing I’ve done”.

“In South Africa, there’s been more than 100 years of mining, but don’t be so sure the best-grade thicknesses have all been found yet,” he told Business Day last week.

According to the newspaper, Platinum Group “has diverted its entire geology team from its Western Bushveld Joint Venture mine near the Pilanesberg game reserve to the project, and may add two more drill rigs and dramatically bump up the venture’s US$2-million exploration budget.”

The Waterberg project is a joint venture between Platinum Group (49.9%), Japanese state company JOGMEC (37%), and South African empowerment company Mnombo Wethu, which owns a 26% stake in the project (and is 49% owned by Platinum Group).

SAinfo reporter