Platinum Group Metals reported some great news today out of their Waterberg platinum deposit on the Northern arm of the massive Bushveld Igneous Complex in South Africa, as initial metallurgical sample testing comes in on the T2 and F layer zones, with 88% and 83% recovery estimates for platinum-palladium-gold (2PGE+Au), respectively.
This massive deposit, some 10.1M ounces of platinum, palladium, and gold, originally kicked up through exploration efforts involving PLG and its JV partners back in 2011, including notoriously ravenous official Japanese agency JOGMEC (Japan Oil, Gas, and Metals National Corporation, whose mandate is to secure stable supplies of oil, gas, and minerals), is now starting to look seriously juicy. We talk low-hanging fruit in this industry a great deal, driven by the need to meet the demands of shareholder growth and long-term productivity, all while keeping the increasingly complex mining orchestra safe and under budget. That's why getting back initial results like these, in light of the March 18, NI 43-101 Technical Report filed on SEDAR, really grabs people's attention.
We are looking at an Inferred Resource here of 93M tons at 3.39 g/t 2PGE+Au (1.03 g/t Pt, 2.02 g/t Pd, and 0.34 g/t Au) and as we all know grade is king in this business. That drilling they did back in 2011 through the covering Waterberg sedimentary rock package has really paid off big time here, with shrewdly executed geophysical and soil sampling helping to minimize drilling costs while guiding the effort. The company is full of visionaries clearly, since back in 2009 they had the foresight to secure a whopping 85+ square miles on the northern arm of the known, prolific Bushveld via prospecting permits (an idea which started back in 2007). Initial composite results here show 3.24 g/t 2PGE+Au for the F layers and 7.22 g/t 2PGE+Au for the T2 layer, a clear victory for PLG management.
President and CEO of PLG, Michael Jones, who is also a P.Eng with qualified person status for this data burst and a veteran precious metals and PGM evaluator, underscored how the results were expected and have even exceeded expectations handsomely. These findings are crucial for the preliminary economic assessment on the first block at Waterberg and, given the nature of the heavily layered deposit and its typical richness, seeing numbers like these come back across both the T2 and F layers is extremely encouraging.
Jones pointed to a coming resource model update for the assessment focusing on the initial 3.4 miles or so of strike length, setting a target date of around August this year and hinted at diving further into the fifteen and a half miles of yet untested potential up north of the JV during the 2013-2014 window. Investors will want to take a look at the WBJV Project 1 (74% ownership) to the northeast of the JV lands in this context, which is currently under construction and coming along nicely.
Endpoints on the concentrate grades from Waterberg, where drilling continues apace of expectations using 15 machines, will be determined by further testing and circuit optimization, but the microscopic and X-ray diffraction with grinding and scoping flotation (post milling) has shown the market some obvious vectors here. Moreover, the T2 and F material is soft and quite similar in terms of milling characteristics, making milling a snap using a common circuit and giving PLG a leg up cost and beneficiation-wise. We also have some nice secondaries here for copper-nickel, with 87%-83% estimated recovery in the T2 zone (0.11% Ni, 0.05% Cu) and 74%-59% recovery estimated for the F zone (0.10% Ni, 0.24% Cu).
Jones has rigorously reviewed in-depth details on the Waterberg deposit, extensively walked the property, and gone through the report by ISO 9001 accredited, SGS Labs' Head of Geometallurgy, Dr. Nigel Ramlall. Determinations of base metals and other major elements was done by XRF (X-ray fluorescence), with PGE's determined by conventional fire assay and ICP (inductively coupled plasma) finishing.
For more information on Platinum Group Metals, visit www.PlatinumGroupMetals.net
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