Nkwe Platinum’s flagship Garatau Project comprise three individual but contiguous properties namely De Kom 252KT, Garatouw 282KT and Hoepakrantz 291KT. These three farms are located in the Eastern Limb of the Bushveld Complex, approximately 20 kilometers to the northwest of Steelpoort town, in an established mining district with extensive existing infrastructure. Steelpoort is approximately 300 kilometers east-northeast of Johannesburg and 150 kilometers south of Polokwane, the provincial capital of Limpopo Province.
The company has a mining right over the Garatau Project area, executed in January 2014 and an environmental authorisation granted in December 2015.
The Garatau Project has a significant surface footprint of 5312.9 hectares and is underlain by both the Platinum-bearing Merensky Reef and UG2 chromitite which occur as distinct layers dipping on average 9 degrees to the west and showing remarkable regularity in reef attitude with small variations in reef thickness. The Merensky Reef is present at depths between 280 meters and 1500 meters below surface, with the UG2 reef located between 290 meters and 370 meters below the Merensky Reef.
The Company’s mining right will be developed in phases with the first mine to be established on the farm Garatouw 282KT. Nkwe Platinum completed a bankable feasibility study (BFS) at the Garatau Project area in 2010 which considered extracting both the Merensky Reef and UG2 Reef on the farm Garatouw 282KT. In 2011, Nkwe embarked upon a review process of the feasibility study with the main aim to reduce the initial capital and operating costs and to generate earlier revenue. The optimised definitive bankable feasibility study was completed in 2012. Importantly, a strategic decision was taken to initially extract only the Merensky Reef with the UG2 extracted later on while maintaining the requirement that a monthly ROM (run of mine) tonnage to concentrator of 300,000 tons be achieved. There is scope for further optimisation of the bankable feasibility study to further reduce the operating costs and improve projected productivity thus further strengthening the economics of the project and improving competitive advantage.
The Mine at Garatau will be a mechanised bord and pillar underground operation with an early access ramp to reach the orebody, after which the Main shaft as well as the ventilation shafts will be developed. A triple decline strategy is planned to provide multiple points of attack on the Merensky Reef, effectively creating 3 separate mines, with a tonnage requirement of 100 000 tons per month form each operation. A wide stoping cut of 2.4 meter is intended.
A process flow sheet was generated after interpretation of the results of the test work conducted during the bankable feasibility study. The concentrator circuit is based on a single MMF process stream to treat 300 000 tons per month Merensky ore and standard PGM plant layout. The design adopted is a flexible two phase, modular approach that allow for future expansion with minimal interruptions to production.
The Company has made significant strides by putting in place an Operational Readiness plan to effectively prepare for safe and optimal production output and in order to fully benefit from the asset/s being delivered by a capital project.