South Africa

Kroondal Mine

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Overview

Mine TypeUnderground
StatusActive
Commodities
  • PGM
  • Platinum
  • Palladium
  • Rhodium
  • Gold
  • Iridium
  • Ruthenium
  • Nickel
  • Copper
Mining Method
  • Bord-and-pillar
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SnapshotThe Kroondal operation consists of four operational shallow, mechanised shafts in the western limb of the BIC. Underground mining takes place at depths of between 250m and 550m below surface.

Ore is treated in two concentrator plants (K1 and K2). ). The concentrate is sold to a wholly-owned subsidiary of Anglo American Platinum, under a purchase of concentrate (PoC) off-take agreement.

The optimisation studies into the down-dip extensions at Bambanani and Kopaneng shafts are ongoing and will explore synergies with the Siphumelele UG2 project at the Rustenburg operation.

Owners

SourceSource
CompanyInterestOwnership
Sibanye-Stillwater Ltd. (operator) 87 % Indirect
On 1 November 2023, Sibanye Rustenburg Platinum Mines Limited (SRPM) acquired Rustenburg Platinum Mine’s (a subsidiary of Anglo American Platinum) 50% share in the Kroondal pool and share agreement.

Due to the Groups 74% effective ownership of SRPM, the acquisition of Anglo American Platinum’s 50% ownership has resulted in the Group’s attributable interest in Kroondal increasing from 50% to 87%.

The Kroondal operation is subject to a 50/50 pool and share agreement (“Kroondal PSA”) between Kroondal Operations Proprietary Limited (a 100% held subsidiary of Sibanye-Stillwater) and RPM (“collectively the PSA Parties”). Sibanye-Stillwater acquired its 50% interest in the Kroondal PSA following its acquisition of Aquarius Platinum Limited in April 2016.

Contractors

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Deposit type

  • Magmatic

Summary:

The Bushveld Complex extends approximately 450 km east to west and approximately 250 km north to south. It underlies an area of some 67,000km², spanning parts of Limpopo, North West, Gauteng, and Mpumalanga Provinces.

Interlayered in the Upper Critical Zone of the RLS, the Merensky and Upper Group No.2 Chromitite (UG2) Reefs are preserved as narrow tabular structures. The Kroondal Operations are situated on the western limb of the Bushveld Complex and produce the PGMs and associated Base Metals from the mining and processing of the UG2 Reef.

PGM reef-type deposits are deposits where the PGM are the main products and Ni and Cu are the by- products (e.g., the UG-2 and Merensky reefs of the Bushveld Complex, or the J-M reef of the Stillwater Complex, Montana and the MSZ of the Great Dyke of Zimbabwe). The deposits generally contain less than 1-2% sulphide minerals and tend to form laterally relatively persistent stratiform horizons in large layered intrusions that are often relatively easy to trace once they have been intersected.

The Merensky Reef at the Kroondal Operations is mined out and will not be discussed further.

The UG2 Reef consists of the Main Seam chromitite. Overlying the UG2 Main Seam is an unmineralized pyroxenite layer, locally termed the pyroxenite parting or simply parting (UG2P). Above the pyroxenite parting (UG2P) another chromite layer, the UG2L, locally referred to as the Leader Seam, is the topmost mining mineralised lithological unit.

It is these three units which form the mineable reef portion at Kroondal Operations. The thickness of the Main Seam ranges from 65cm to 80cm, whilst the pyroxenite parting varies from 10cm to 4m, and the Leader Seam thickness varies from 12cm to 25cm. In areas where the pyroxenite parting is too wide. (greater than 250cm), then only the Main Seam is exploited. The UG2 and UGL display a mottled appearance due to the presence of large bronzite crystals within the chromite.

The UG2 and Merensky Reefs form an east-west trending open arc, with a strike varying between 90° in the east to 145° in the west. The general dip of the reef is 9° to 10°. The middling between UG2 and Merensky Reefs varies between 120m to 140 m. The dip of the encompassing regional stratigraphy also varies between 9° and 10° with a general east-west strike direction. Other dip decreases locally between 1° to 5° and increases to between 15° to 30° along a monocline trending east-west at depth. The dip decreases from 3° to 7° across the farms of Klipgat and Turffontein, also roughly striking east- west.

Mineralogy
The UG2 consists predominantly of chromite (60 to 90% by volume) with lesser silicate minerals 5 to 30% pyroxene and 1 to 10% plagioclase. Other minerals, present in minor concentrations, can include the silicates: phlogopite and biotite, the oxides: ilmenite, rutile and magnetite, and base metal sulphides. Secondary minerals include quartz, serpentine and talc. The Cr2O3 content of the UG2 Reef varies from 30 to 35%. The PGMs present in the UG2 Reef are highly variable, but generally, the UG2 is characterised by the presence of various PGM sulphides, comprising predominantly laurite (RuOslr sulphide), cuperite (PTS), braggite (Pt, Pd, NiS), and an unnamed PtRhCUS. The PGMS only reach an average size of approximately 12µm, with particles larger than 30µm being extremely rare.

Most of the PGMs occur in association with the base metal sulphides and silicates. It is only the mineral laurite that 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. The major base metal sulphides constitute chalcopyrite, pentlandite and pyrrhotite. The base metal sulphides occur almost entirely within the interstitial silicate and are only very rarely enclosed within the chromite particles. The grain size of the base metal sulphides rarely exceeds 30µm.

The distribution of grades within the layer is not uniform. However, PGMs are generally concentrated at the upper and lower contacts of the main chromitite seam, with lesser concentrations in the Leader seams. The highest PGM concentration is generally recorded at the base of the UG2 Reef chromitite.

In the UG2 Reef, Cu, Ni and Sulphur values are extremely low.

Reserves

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Mining Methods

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Comminution

Crushers and Mills

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Processing

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Production

CommodityUnits202320222021202020192018201720162015
4E (Pt, Pd, Rh, Au) koz  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe530510482
Platinum koz  ....  Subscribe297297279274263
Palladium koz  ....  Subscribe160157148145138
Rhodium koz  ....  Subscribe5656535249
Gold koz  ....  Subscribe2.62.62.42.22.2
Iridium koz  ....  Subscribe2121202019
Ruthenium koz  ....  Subscribe9091858480
Nickel kt  ....  Subscribe0.60.60.60.60.4
Copper M lbs  ....  Subscribe0.40.40.40.40.4
All production numbers are expressed as metal in concentrate.

Operational metrics

Metrics202320222021202020192018201720162015
Tonnes milled  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe5,272 kt5,250 kt5,034 kt4,782 kt4,688 kt
Ore tonnes mined  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe7,192 kt7,138 kt

Production Costs

CommodityUnits2023202220212020201920182017
Cash costs PGM USD  ....  Subscribe 666 / oz   670 / oz   675 / oz  
Cash costs Platinum USD 1,405 / oz   1,411 / oz   1,419 / oz  
All-in sustaining costs (AISC) 4E (Pt, Pd, Rh, Au) USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 745 / oz **   744 / oz **   765 / oz **  
All-in sustaining costs (sold) PGM USD  ....  Subscribe 794 / oz **   730 / oz **   706 / oz **  
All-in sustaining costs (sold) Platinum USD -77 / oz **   495 / oz **   819 / oz **  
All-in costs 4E (Pt, Pd, Rh, Au) USD  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 745 / oz **   744 / oz **   765 / oz **  
** Net of By-Product.

Operating Costs

Currency202120202019201820172016
Total operating costs ($/t milled) ZAR 1,345  1,333  1,065  979  977  928  

Financials

Units2023202220212020201920182017
Capital expenditures M ZAR  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 411.8   285.4   390.5  
Sustaining costs M ZAR  ....  Subscribe
Revenue M ZAR  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe 11,414   7,417   6,095  
EBITDA M ZAR  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe
Book Value M ZAR  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe  ....  Subscribe

Heavy Mobile Equipment

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Personnel

Mine Management

Job TitleNameProfileRef. Date
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EmployeesContractorsTotal WorkforceYear
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Aerial view:

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