|Commodity||Platinum - Palladium - Rhodium - Gold|
Limpopo, South Africa
|Owners||Aquarius Platinum Ltd (50.00%)
Imbani Platinum SPV (50.00%)
|Operator||Aquarius Platinum Ltd|
|Production||5PGM+Au: 21,561 oz in FY2011 (mine temporary closed)|
|Deposit Type||PGE reef type deposit|
|Reserves & Resources||PGM 1.21moz 4E
(Dec 31, 2009, proven and probable reserves)
|Mining Method||Narrow-reef breasting|
|Mine Life||18 years|
|Processing equipment||Crushers, grinders, flotation circuit|
|Employees||33 including 25 contractors (2011)|
Aquarius Platinum (South Africa) (Proprietary) Limited
Ph.: +27 (0) 12 001 2001
Last updated: May, 9, 2012
The Blue Ridge platinum group metals mine is located in Limpopo, South Africa.
Following the successful conclusion of the acquisition of Ridge Mining plc, Aquarius officially took over management of the Blue Ridge operation in July 2009.
Development is being done off-reef in the footwall using trackless mobile machinery - the stoping operation is conventional, narrow-reef breast mining. The reason for the hybrid method is to optimise the dip of the reef and grade, and thus increase ounce production.
Non-core business enterprises have been outsourced so as to maximise efficiency and costs.
A managed contract model has been implemented at Blue Ridge, similar to that in force at Kroondal. In terms of this model, the contractor, Murray & Roberts (MRC) supplied competent, skilled employees and all systems associated with human resource management and safety.
In 2011, due to low metal prices the mine was temporary closed.
The Blue Ridge platinum group metals mine is located near Bushveld in Limpopo, South Africa.
Limpopo is the northernmost province of South Africa. The capital city is Polokwane (ex Pietersburg). Mining is one of the province's pillars. Limpopo's rich mineral deposits include the platinum group metals, iron ore, chromium high- and coking coal, diamonds, antimony, phosphate, and copperâ€“as well as mineral reserves like gold, emeralds, scheelite, magnetite, vermiculite, silicon, and mica. Commodities such
as black granite, corundum, and feldspar are also found.
The UG2 Reef is located in the Bushveld complex which is the world's largest mafic-ultramafic layered intrusion. It hosts a large accumulation of PGM, nickel & chromium mineralization that is hosted by flat lying rock formations named reefs. The UG2 Reef is overlain by the PGM rich Merensky Reef and underlain by the a noritic-anorthositic sequence.
At Blue Ridge, the UG2 Reef which dips at 17 degrees from west to east, is mined. This reef comprises three bands commonly known as the â€œAâ€ ,â€Bâ€, and â€œCâ€ reefs, give a mineable width of 1.22 metres at an average head grade of 2.64g/t.
Production ramp-up was initiated at Blue Ridge following Aquarius taking over management in July 2009, and continued for approximately one year, during which all revenues and costs were capitalised. In August 2010 a decision was taken to place the mine on care and maintenance for redevelopment, in order to rectify some inherited design flaws and given the prevailing low Rand PGM prices. The redevelopment will see the installation of more underground infrastructure, a debottlenecking exercise and the construction of a third decline.
At the time of suspension the mine reached a depth of 275 m below surface. When restarted the mine could reach a depth of 800 m.
Access to the operation is currently by means of a single conveyor decline and a truck ramp for the trackless equipment, both in the footwall and a man-travelling decline on reef. The redevelopment process is currently underway, and Blue Ridge is now on care and maintenance and expected to recommence its ramp up in the first quarter of FY2011.
The mine will be larger and more robust than initially envisaged, with planned steady state production of 140,000 PGM ounces annually (originally 120,000 PGM ounces). The expected life of mine is 18 years, excluding the adjacent Millennium resources.
Both the concentrator plant and the tailings dams are managed and operated by contractors, while the mine itself is operated on the managed contract model referred to above, as used at all of Aquarius' South African operations.
As of May 2012, the mine was on care & maintenance.
Platinum-palladium sulphides are dominant and are associated with base metal sulphides, enclosed in silicates or attached to chromite ores. The UG2 reef has higher chromite and high rhodium valuesand it is low in base metal sulphides.
Processing involves crushing, grinding (SAG mills) and flotation (roughing, scavenging and cleaning). PGM float well and are contained in the resulting bulk concentrate. Most of the PGMs associated with silicates is being lost.
The mine had an offtake agreement with Impala Refining Services.