Rustenburg is a shallow to intermediate level PGM operation, with surface sources and concentrators located on the Western Limb of the Bushveld Complex, northeast of the town of Rustenburg in the North West Province of South Africa, some 120 km north-west of Johannesburg.
As at 31 December 2021, Rustenburg had total attributable 4E PGM Mineral Reserves of 15.5Moz and 60.4Moz of 4E PGM Mineral Resources.
The Rustenburg operations were acquired from Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) in November 2016 for a cash payment of R1.5 billion (US$110.5 million) on closing and a deferred payment equal to 35% of the distributable free cash flow generated by the operations over a six-year period (can be extended to eight-year) amounting to a minimum of R3 billion (US$221 million) subject to certain extensions and conditions.
Mining operations have been carried out at Rustenburg since the late 1920s. Currently, the operations comprise three operating vertical shafts (Siphumelele 1, Khuseleka 1 and Thembelani 1), two declines at Bathopele, two concentrating plants (the Waterval UG2 concentrator and the Waterval retrofit concentrator), a chrome recovery plant, the Western Limb tailings retreatment plant and related surface infrastructure and assets. In addition, mining operations are carried out on two mining tailings dams – Waterval and Klipfontein.
The Rustenburg orebody comprises two chromite-rich horizons hosting PGM minerals within the UG2, separated by a pyroxenite zone, and the platinum-bearing pyroxenite Merensky Reef lying 140m above the UG2. The orebody is accessed from surface using conventional underground mining methods to 34 level at Siphumelele Shaft (approximately 1,350m below surface), at 28 level at Khuseleka (approximately 2,105m below surface) and at 29 level at Thembelani Shaft; the mineral resource at Bathopele is accessed from surface via two decline clusters using mechanised bord-and-pillar mining methods to a depth of approximately 500m below surface.
Ore is processed through the Waterval UG2 concentrator and Waterval retrofit concentrator with a combined milling capacity of 1,100kt per month. Tailings are treated at the Western Limb Tailings Retreatment Plant, Platinum Mile and at the Chrome retreatment plant (CRP) where a saleable chromite concentrate is recovered from rougher UG2 middlings.
Tailings from the Rustenburg operations are piped to storage facilities at Hoedspruit, receiving tonnes from the Western Limb Tailings Retreatment Plant, Paardekraal and from the Waterval Retrofit and UG2 concentrators.
Rustenburg has a converted new order mining right valid for the period from 29 July 2010 to 28 July 2040.