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Ivanhoe Mines – Platreef PGM-nickel-copper-gold project, South Africa – September 2013

On 29 September 2013 Neil Adshead visited Ivanhoe Mines’ 90%-owned Platreef PGM-dominant project on the northern limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex (BIC), close to the town of Polokwane, South Africa.  A consortium of Japanese resource companies owns 10%.  Ivanhoe discovered the Platreef deposit by drilling along strike of a productive geologic horizon being mined by Anglo Platinum to the north.  Anglo Platinum’s Mogalakwana open pit mine is one of the largest and lowest cost primary PGM producers in the world.  Initially Ivanhoe delineated a large, low grade nickel-dominant resource that they hoped to extract via an open pit.  Step-out drilling to the west, chasing the productive horizon to depth, snagged a thick and near-horizontal part of the reef, which has been christened ‘Flatreef’.  The Flatreef resource is 700-1,100 m below the flat land surface.  The latest Indicated resource estimate at a 2 g/t 3PE (platinum-palladium-gold) cut-off is 214 Mt of 4.1 g/t PE, 0.34% nickel and 0.17% copper.  There is another 415 Mt in the Inferred resource category.  The contained metal in the Indicated and Inferred resource at ‘Flatreef’ is 75 million ounces of platinum-palladium-rhodium-gold, 4.6 billion pounds of nickel and 2.3 billion pounds of copper.  The average thickness is 24 m, compared to <1 m elsewhere in BIC PGM mines, suggesting that more mechanized and cost-effective underground mining can be used.  Ivanhoe has received permission to sink the first shaft and will conduct test mining before the end of 2014. 

 

 

 

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