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.
The Kroondal operation is a 50/50 pool and share arrangement (PSA) with Anglo American Platinum whereby the Kroondal infrastructure accesses defined Mineral Reserves agreed by the PSA partners. In January 2022, we reached an agreement with Anglo American Platinum to fully consolidate Kroondal operations under the Rustenburg operations. Conditions of the agreement are expected to be fulfilled by Q1 2024.
Statistics as at 31 December 2022
Life of mine
Production 4E PGM
All-in sustaining cost
employees and contractors
As at 31 December 2022, Kroondal (50% attributable basis) had total 4E PGM Mineral Reserves of 1.7Moz and Mineral Resources of 3.8Moz.
A closer look
- In 1996, a PFS on the Kroondal platinum project, in which Aquarius Platinum Ltd (Aquarius) had a 45% stake, was completed
- Mine development began in 1998 and an initial off-take agreement was signed with Impala Platinum Ltd that continued until 2008
- Mining via two decline shafts began in March 1999
- In 2000, Aquarius increased its stake in Kroondal to 100%
- Between 2001 and 2003, Aquarius entered into JV (50:50) agreements with RPM, a subsidiary of Anglo American Platinum (AAP), to extract Mineral Reserves located on adjacent Anglo American Platinum (AAP) mining rights. This included the construction of a second concentrator plant and enabled doubling of production. This agreement included a PoC off-take agreement with AAP.
- By 2005, the second concentrator plant was commissioned and by 2011, five decline shafts were in production
- In 2013, the extent of the Mineral Resource included in the PSA was extended, prolonging Kroondal’s LoM
- Sibanye-Stillwater acquired a 50% stake in Kroondal in 2016, via the acquisition of Aquarius in 2016
- In 2021 agreements with AAP were concluded allowing Kroondal to mine into the Rustenburg (SRPM) mining right
- During 2022, the Group reached an agreement with AAP to take full ownership of Kroondal
Kroondal consists of five operational shallow, mechanised shafts and an open-pit mine in the western limb of the BIC. The UG2 Reef is accessed from surface using decline systems and underground mining takes place at depths of between 250m and 550m below surface.
Major infrastructure consists of
- Nine decline shafts, of which five are in production, mined on a bord-and-pillar system with mechanised equipment (The rest
are on care and maintenance)
- Two PGM concentrator plants treating the underground and open-pit material
- Dense media separation plants at both concentrators that removes ±35% of total volume delivered, which is principally
waste material (pyroxenite). This process enhances the feed grade of the ore received by the concentrators and also assists in minimising the tailings depositional requirements
- Workshops, office blocks, and equipment stores
- Water treatment plants
The equipment used for mining consists predominantly of mechanised drilling equipment and loading and hauling equipment underground. The ore is transported to the surface via conveyor belt systems and trammed to the concentrators by rail and truck.
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.
Apart from the principal mining right (NW30/5/1/2/2/80MR, 32.1 km², expiring 28 July 2040), which is being administered by Anglo American Platinum, Kroondal Operations (Pty) Ltd. is the holder of a converted mining right under DMRE Ref No NW30/5/1/2/2/104MR, (Kroondal MR), in respect of a mining area, totalling approximately 17.0 km², as well as NW30/5/1/2/2/113MR, in respect of a mining area totalling approximately 25.1 km², both valid from 17 October 2006 to 16 October 2022.
A renewal application for these rights, was submitted during 2022. The Klipfontein open pit is situated on NW30/5/1/2/2/80MR, held by Anglo American Platinum’s RPM. The open-pit Mineral Reserve forms part of the original PSA between Sibanye-Stillwater and AAP.
Tailings Storage Facilities are detailed below
- K1 TSF is fed from K1 plant at 28ktpm (life of TSF until 2026 at current deposition rate)
- K150 TSF is fed from K1 plant at 86ktpm (life of TSF until 2026 at current deposition rate)
- K2 TSF is fed from K1 (80%) and K2 (20%) plants at 86ktpm (life of TSF until 2026 at current deposition rate)
- Marikana TSF is fed from K2 plant at 200ktpm (life of TSF until 2030 at current deposition rate)
The Kroondal TSF’s have a remaining capacity of 18.4Mt. The LoM requires 23.3Mt TSF capacity, resulting in a shortfall of 4.9Mt. Studies have been concluded that consider deposition in redundant, worked-out opencast pits, that mitigate the need to continue depositing on surface TSFs from 2025. This is currently in the permitting phase.
The Kroondal West Shallows (K6 and Kwezi) UG2 project will be assessed during 2023. This project is targeting smaller remnant blocks of ground closer to the sub-outcrop of the UG2 reef horizon which has the potential to enhance the LoM of Kroondal West by one to three years.
The Kroondal MK5 (UG2) study will be finalised during 2023. This project is situated towards the eastern boundary of Kroondal and up dip to Bambanani shaft, and targets an area with complex geological structures. This area holds the potential to be a standalone decline operation.