|Commodity||Platinum, Palladium, Rhodium, Gold|
|Owners||Aquarius Platinum Ltd - 100%|
|Production||120koz in FY2011 (5PGE+Au)|
|Deposit Type||PGM reef-type deposit|
|Reserves & Resources||14.59 Mt & 3.12g/t PGM (June 30, 2011, proven & probable reserves)|
|Mining Method||Board-and-pillar stoping|
|Processing Method||Crushing, grinding, dense media separation, flotation|
|Mine Life||To 2017|
|Processing equipment||Concentrator plant|
|Employees||1,664 (contractors included) in 2011|
|Contact Information||Suite Block A, 1st Floor, The Great Wall Group
5 Skeen Boulevard
S AFR 2009
Phone:+27 11 455 2050
Fax:+27 11 455 2095
Last updated: May 18, 2012
The Everest platinum group metals (PGM) mine is located in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa.
The mine is Aquariusâ€™ third operation in South Africa, and its sole wholly owned operation. Construction commenced in October 2004.
Following the conclusion of a black economic empowerment (BEE) transaction with a consortium led by Savannah Resources, R860 million was injected into AQPSA and used to fund the development of Everest. Some of the surface rights within the Everest mine area have been transferred to the local Bakone and Phetla community â€“ the landâ€™s historical owners â€“ in terms of a settlement agreement reached with the land restitution authorities. The land required for mining is in turn leased back to Everest.
As a result of a subsidence event and the halt in operations in December 2008, a R259 million re-establishment project was initiated following the completion of which, mining operations were resumed by the end of FY2010. It mines the UG2 reef through mechanized mining methods.
The underground mining operation was expected to produce 150Koz PGM in 2012, and to ramp up production to 180koz in the subsequent year.
Located on the southern portion of the Eastern Limb of the Bushveld Complex near the town of Lydenburg in South Africa's Mpumalanga Province, Everest is approximately 450 kilometres east-north-east of Aquarius Platinum's flagship operation, the Kroondal Platinum Mine.
Lydenburg is situated on the Spekboom tributary of the Olifants River at the base of the Long Tom Pass. The name is derived from Dutch meaning "Town of Suffering." With a population above 80,000, it has become the centre of the South African fly-fishing industry and is an agricultural and mining centre.
The Everest Platinum Mine is located on the eastern Limb of the Bushveld Complex, in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa. The Complex is an extremely large (66,000 square kilometres), 2 billion year-old, layered igneous intrusion occurring within the boundaries of South Africa. Contained within a well-layered ultramafic to mafic succession called the Rustenburg Layered Suite are two horizons which host economically exploitable quantities of PGMs, namely the Merensky Reef and the underlying UG2 Chromitite LayerReserves
The orebody at Everest is a well-defined elongate basin-like structure of UG2 Reef lying beneath a hill and extending from surface to a depth of around 250 metres at the deepest point. This economic horizon, along with the Merensky Reef, can be traced for hundreds of kilometres around the complex and is the host to several economic PGM mines.
As of June 2011, mineral reserves were estimated at 14.59 Mt grading 3.12 g/t PGM for 1.42 Moz.
Construction of Everest started in October 2004 following the conclusion of a Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) transaction, and was commissioned in November 2005.
While underground mining produces the majority of the run-of-mine (ROM) tons to the plant, opencast mining is used to generate early mill feed. Once sufficient underground ore is available, opencast mining will be reduced to a single shift operation.
The principal stoping method at Everest is bord-and-pillar stoping with the general direction of the advancing mining face along strike. The average reef dip of the underground mining area is approximately nine degrees making it well suited to this mining method. Mechanized mining is employed within a panel height of minimum 2 m where selective blasting helps minimize dilution.
Work on the first phase of the Everest re-establishment project began just prior to the end of FY2009 with most of the infrastructure having been completed by end August 2010.
Prior to the resumption of underground mining operations, an open pit was established along the collapsed decline outcrop with tonnes sourced here being stockpiled, ahead of the re-commissioning of the concentrator plant, to provide early mill feed while volumes from underground were ramped up. Opencast mining began in March 2010 and was completed in September 2010, including all the required rehabilitation work.
Underground mining began in April 2010 once the re-development and establishment of the new box cuts had been completed.
The Everest operation comprises three decline shaft systems â€“ North Decline, which is a belt, people and vehicle access way system and South Decline, which is a belt and people access way. The third access way, via the Valley Box Cut, was commissioned during the 2011 year and will be used as a people and vehicle access way for the lower sections of the mine.
Ore from the opencast and underground operations go to a primary crusher, from where it is conveyed to the process plant for grinding and froth flotation to produce a PGM concentrate. Prior to flotation the ground ore goes through a Dense Media Separation circuit where most of the waste rock is separated and sent to the tailings depositing area.
Everest concentrating plant has a monthly processing capacity of 250,000t (2011). The mining operation was expected to produce 150Koz PGM in 2012, and to ramp up to 180koz in the subsequent year.
Everest has an offtake agreement with Impala Refining Services to process the concentrate produced at Everest. At the Impala Mineral Processes plant, the concentrator consists of 30 run-of-mine semi-autogeneous mills. The operation's key focus in recent years has been on improving concentrator recoveries which now stand at a record 84.5%. The smelter operates two immersed 37MW arc electric furnaces.
Along with platinum, Everest produced palladium, rhodium and gold.
In November 2003, AQP(SA) acquired TKO Investments Holdings Limited (TKO), which holds significant surface and water rights on and around the Everest project. Primarily an agricultural business focusing on kiwi fruit farming, TKO is run as an independent self-sustaining entity. Since the business provides both permanent and seasonal employment within the project area, AQP(SA) intends using the business to create a sustainable farming enterprise that will co-exist with mining operations and contribute to the development of the community long after mining in the area ceases.
Some of the surface rights within the project area are being transferred to the local Phetla community - the land's historical owners - under a settlement reached with the land restitution authorities. In terms of this agreement, the land required for mining will be leased back to AQP(SA).
Further identification and implementation of social upliftment and sustainability-related projects is ongoing. Contractor recruitment of local labour, coordinated with the Department of Labour in nearby Lydenburg, is proving effective. Other projects include an Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) course run twice-weekly and water supplies to a local primary school. Future projects, such as a day care facility and nutritional feeding scheme are also being considered.