Kroondal is a shallow, low-cost, mechanised underground PGM mine with two concentrators located on the Western Limb of the Bushveld Complex, 12km east of the town of Rustenburg in the North West Province, of South Africa, some 120km north-west of Johannesburg. We operated Kroondal subject to a 50:50 pooling and sharing agreement (PSA) with Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) until January 2022 when we acquired the remaining 50% of this operation.
As at 31 December 2021, Kroondal (50% attributable basis) had total 4E PGM Mineral Reserves of 1.7Moz and Mineral Resources of 3.8Moz.
Kroondal began operations in 1999 and has progressively expanded ever since. We acquired our 50% interest in Kroondal in April 2016 on the closing of a US$4.3 billion all-cash offer for the then-listed Aquarius Platinum Limited.
Kroondal comprises of five operating decline shafts with a further five currently under care and maintenance. Mining takes place at depths below surface of between 250m and 500m, using the bord-and-pillar mining method.
Currently, the UG2 reef is mined at Kroondal, the Merensky reef having been mined out before our acquisition. The orebody comprises two chromite-rich mineralised seams, an upper UG2 Leader and a UG2 Main, separated by a one-metre pyroxenite zone. The two seams are mined together in a wide-reef underground operation.
Ore is processed at Kroondal through two concentrator plants (K1 and K2) at a rate of approximately 590,000t a month. Tailings from the K1 and K2 plants are piped to three adjacent tailings storage facilities and to a fourth tailings storage facility at Marikana, which has been recommissioned.
Under the pooling and sharing agreement with Anglo American Platinum Limited (Amplats), revenues, costs and capital expenditures were shared on a 50:50 basis with Amplats being responsible for all smelting, refining and marketing of output under a life of mine purchase of concentrate (POC) arrangement. In January 2022, Sibanye-Stillwater announced that it had entered into an agreement with Rustenburg Platinum Mines Limited, a subsidiary of Amplats, to assume full ownership of the Kroondal operation.
Kroondal has a new order mining right (registered in the name of Amplats) valid for the period from 17 October 2007 to 16 October 2022 covering a mining area totalling some 1,722ha. One of the mining areas (the Kroondal extension) is mined under a royalty agreement with Amplats in respect of which Sibanye-Stillwater has exclusive mining rights.
Depth extensions from the Kroondal infrastructure into the Siphumelele (SRPM mining right area) ground as well as boundary optimisation between Kroondal and Bathopele shafts (SRPM mining right area) form part of a new commercial agreement with Amplats.