South Africa

Union Mine

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Mine TypeOpen Pit & Underground
  • PGM
  • Platinum
  • Palladium
  • Rhodium
  • Iridium
  • Ruthenium
  • Gold
  • Nickel
  • Copper
Mining Method
  • Scattered stoping
  • Longwall
  • Truck & Shovel / Loader
Production Start... Lock
Mine Life2033
ShapshotIn order to extend the current life of the mine and ensure the sustainability of its mining operations, SBPM proposes to undertake several developments on its approved mining right footprint. One of these is the proposed development of the New opencast pit which is situated centrally to the mining right area


Siyanda Resources (Pty) Ltd. 85 % Indirect
Siyanda Bakgatla Platinum Mine (Pty) Ltd (operator) 100 % Direct
Siyanda Resources holds 85% interest in the Union Mine assets with The Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela community holding 15% of Union Mine.



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Deposit type

  • Magmatic


The site and surrounding area are underlain by the Pyramid Formation of the Rustenburg Layered Suite (RLS), on the western limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex. The suite of mafic sills, which intruded the basal rocks of the Transvaal Supergroup, comprises rocks that range from norites, pyroxenite, harzburgite, gabbronorite, magnetite and olivine-magnetite rich gabbronorite, anorthosite and olivine-apatite rich gabbronorite.

The most prominent feature from the RLS is the distinct layering in the different rock types due to differentiation of magma that Brink (1989) describes as pseudo-stratification. The originally placed layers of the Bushveld Complex rocks dips centripetally at between 100 and 200, which is attributed to the effect of the crustal flexure in response to the load of the RLS and associated granites.

The rock-forming minerals of the Merensky Reef comprise approximately equal amounts of dark iron magnesium silicate minerals and lighter calcium-aluminium-sodium silicate minerals (called a feldspathic pyroxenite) under- and overlain by thin (5 to 15 mm) often discontinuous layers of chrornite concentrations. The total thickness of this package is generally less than 30 cm. This zone, commonly known as the Merensky pegmatoid, contains the base metal sulfide grains and associated platinum group minerals. The Merensky Reef has been traced for 300 km around the entire outcrop of the eastern and western limbs of the Bushveld Complex, and to depths of 5 km.

The rock-forming silicate minerals of the Merensky Reef consist predominantly of orthopyroxene (- 60 per cent), plagioclase feldspar (- 20 per cent), pyroxene (- 15 per cent), phlogopite (5 per cent), and occasional olivine which lists the composition of some of the common minerals found in the Bushveld-type rocks. Secondary minerals such as talc, serpentine, chlorite and magnetite have widespread occurrence.

The base metal sulfides consist of pyrrhotite (-40 per cent), pentlandite (- 30 per cent), chalcopyrite (- 15 per cent), and trace amounts of millerite (NiS), troilite (FeS), pyrite (FeSJ, and cubanite (Cu5FeS4). The major platinum group minerals are cooperite (PtS), braggite [(Pt,Pd)NiS], sperrylite (DtAsz) and PGE alloys, although in some areas minerals such as laurite) can be abundant.

The UG-2 Reef is a platiniferous chromititc layer which, depending on the geographic ocation within the Complex, is developed some 20 to 400 metres below the better known Merensky Reef. The chromitite itself is usually 1 m thick but can vary from - 0.4 to up to 2.5 m. Thin chromitite seams (generally less than 20 cm in thickness) may be present in both the footwall and, more commonly, in the hanging wall rocks. The UG-2 consists predominantly of chromite (60 to 90 per cent by volume) with lesser silicate minerals (5 to 30 per cent pyroxene, and 1 to 10 per cent plagioclase). Other minerals, present in minor concentrations, can include the silicates: phlogopite and biotite, the oxides: ilmenite, rutile and magnetite, and base metal sulfides. Secondary minerals include quartz, serpentine and talc.

The base metal distribution follows a similar trend to that of the PGE, with mat of the values occurring in the bottom and top part of the reef. The base metal content of a typical UG-2 Reef is approximately 200 to 300 ppm nickel occurring as nickel sulfide and less than 200 ppm copper occurring as copper iron sulfide.

The platinum group minerals present in the UG-2 Reef are highly variable, but generally the UG 2 is characterised by the presence of abundant PGE sulfides, comprising predominantly laurite (RuOsIr sulfide), cooperite (PtS), braggite (Pt, Pd, NiS), and an unnamed PtRhCuS. The platinum group minerals only reach an average size of approximately 12 pm, with particles larger than 30 pm being extremely rare. Most of the platinum group minerals occur in association with the base metal sulfides and silicates. It is only the mineral laurite which exhibits a preferred association with the chromite grains. Both the grain size and associations are extremely important as these affect the metallurgical behaviour during subsequent processing.



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Mining Methods


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Crushers and Mills


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Platinum koz 000000163154151141
Palladium koz 000097716964
Rhodium koz 000029292726
PGM koz 309298279
Iridium koz 10109.3
Ruthenium koz 423938
Gold koz
Nickel kt
Copper kt
All production numbers are expressed as metal in concentrate.

Operational metrics

Ore tonnes mined 169 kt2,253 kt2,129 kt2,106 kt
Tonnes milled 205 kt of ore2,688 kt of ore2,597 kt of ore2,557 kt of ore

Production Costs

Cash costs PGM ZAR 10,800 / oz   10,567 / oz  
Cash costs Platinum ZAR 21,542 / oz   21,109 / oz  

Operating Costs

UG mining costs ($/t milled) ZAR 1,109  1,044  1,015  


Revenue M ZAR  ....  Subscribe 5,035  
After-tax Income M ZAR  ....  Subscribe
EBIT M ZAR 623.5  
EBITDA M ZAR  ....  Subscribe 720  

Heavy Mobile Equipment

Fleet data has not been reported.


Mine Management

Source Source
Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Jan 14, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Jan 14, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Jan 14, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Jan 14, 2024
....................... Subscription required ....................... Subscription required Subscription required Jan 14, 2024

EmployeesContractorsTotal WorkforceYear
Subscription required Subscription required 2020
Subscription required Subscription required 2018
Subscription required Subscription required 2017
Subscription required Subscription required 2016

Aerial view:


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