Mr. Rowland Wallenius reports
EASTERN PLATINUM LIMITED RETREATMENT PROJECT REVIEW
Eastern Platinum Ltd. has provided the retreatment project operations technical summary for 2019 and 2020. The retreatment project is operated by the company's subsidiary, Barplats Mines Pty. Ltd., at its Crocodile River mine property in South Africa.
The retreatment project is a proprietary operation in South Africa, producing chrome concentrates. It includes a combined hydro and mechanical remining method and magnetic separation applied to produce chrome concentrates, thus obtaining superior yield results compared with traditional gravity technology. The retreatment project is the only large-scale magnetic separation application in South Africa. Since 2017, Barplats has grown from 100 employees to over 350 contractors and employees engaged in supporting the retreatment project. The current retreatment project is expected to continue operating into 2024.
The key highlights of the retreatment project are as follows.
Total tons of tailings remined to Dec. 31, 2020, equal 4,107,257, with annual production levels as follows:
- 2019: 1,778,525;
- 2020: 2,328,732.
Total tons of chrome concentrate produced to Dec. 31, 2020, equal 1,575,009, with annual production levels as follows:
- 2019: 588,006;
- 2020: 987,003.
Recoveries of chrome -- yields (wet):
- 2019: 32.63 per cent;
- 2020: 37.47 per cent.
Availability of the retreatment project as a 24-hour continuous operation (including chrome recovery plant, deposition and remining on the tailings dam), including planned maintenance, has improved significantly from 76.43 per cent in 2019 to 85.71 per cent in 2020.
Platinum group metal update
The two years of operating the retreatment project have laid the groundwork to acquire the technical knowledge and confirm the upgrade required in the feed, as well as establish the financial resources required to restart the PGM operations. Eastern Platinum is currently reconfiguring and optimizing the small-scale PGM circuit (previously the scavenger plant circuit) (PGM circuit D), which also includes financing for some of the initial work required to restart the main PGM plant circuit (PGM main circuit) (see press release of Feb. 2, 2021), and the company estimates the work to be completed before March 12. The extraction of PGMs will generate additional revenue sources and create new employment opportunities.
Barplats has entered into an agreement (see news release July 22, 2020) with Advanced Beneficiation Technologies Pty. Ltd. of South Africa to complete an independent feasibility study for the development and construction of a new modular plant with a capacity to process the PGMs from the tailings redeposited from the retreatment project at a designated area of the Zandfontein tailings dam at an expected rate of 50,000 tons per month (the circuit H project). The circuit H project is being pursued to provide the opportunity to remine the tailings already deposited from the beginning of the retreatment project and extract additional value from PGMs. The feasibility study is in its final stages, and the results are expected by the end of March, 2021. The process was delayed by COVID-19-related impacts, particularly as it relates to the assay labs.
About Eastern Platinum Ltd.
Eastern Platinum owns, directly and indirectly, a number of PGM and chrome assets in the Republic of South Africa. All of the company's properties are situated on the western and eastern limbs of the Bushveld complex, the geological environment that hosts approximately 80 per cent of the world's platinum-group-metal-bearing ore.
Operations at the Crocodile River mine currently include the remining and processing of its tailings resource, with an offtake of the chrome concentrate from the Barplats Zandfontein UG2 tailings facility operating at the Crocodile River mine and the processing and extraction of PGMs.
No changes in South Africa alert regarding COVID-19. The company continues to follow the health guidelines of the government of South Africa. The retreatment project remains in full operation, and continues to produce and transport chrome and PGM end products. The effects of COVID-19 are evolving and changing, and the consequences of a further increase in the alert level in South Africa, a temporary shutdown of any operations or other related issues cannot be reasonably estimated at this time, but could potentially have material adverse effects on the company's business, operations, liquidity and cash flows.
We seek Safe Harbor.
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