Sibanye-Stillwater has two gold projects underway in South Africa – the Burnstone and Southern Free State projects. Subsequent to recent transactions in the PGM sector, we also acquired several PGM projects at various stages of development.
10:24am on Oct 20, 2020
Burnstone is a developmental stage gold mine and processing operation located in the South Rand Goldfield of the Witwatersrand Basin next to the town of Balfour in the Mpumalanga Province of South Africa, 75 km east of Johannesburg.
As of 31 December 2019, Burnstone contains surface and underground gold mineral reserves of 1.95 million oz and mineral resources of 10.98 million oz.
We acquired the Burnstone assets on our acquisition of Wits Gold in July 2014. The assets, which were formerly operated as a mine until placed on care and maintenance in mid-2012, comprise two established shaft complexes, a 125,000 ton per month carbon-in-leach gold processing plant, tailings storage facility and related surface infrastructure and mining rights. Prior to 2012, Burnstone produced approximately 38,000 oz of gold.
Burnstone holds a mining right for the period from 17 February 2009 to 16 February 2027, covering a total area of 13,135 ha.
Burnstone’s feasibility study was approved by Sibanye in 2015 and site work was started in 2017. Access development was stopped in May 2018 due to company cash requirements when the focus shifted to establishing underground engineering infrastructure in preparation for mining production in 2021.
Southern Free State
The Southern Free State project is an advanced exploration stage project located adjacent to our Beatrix operations near the town of Welkom in the Free State Province of South Africa, 240 km south-west of Johannesburg.
As of 31 December 2019, Southern Free State reported surface and underground gold reserves of 2.1 million oz and mineral resources of 8.2 million oz.
We acquired the Southern Free State project assets on our acquisition of Wits Gold in July 2014. The assets include the mining and prospecting rights formerly held by Wits Gold. In June 2017, a mining right consolidating four areas of the property (Bloemhoek, De Bron Merriespruit, Hakkies and Robijn) was approved for a 23-year period and executed. The mining right is contiguous to the north-east of the Beatrix mining right.
A feasibility study on the Bloemhoek decline project completed in 2019 demonstrates the economic potential for extraction of the orebody below the current 3 Shaft infrastructure, to the north of 3 Shaft, into the SOFS mining right area.
The Southern Africa PGM operations are supported by a pipeline of five projects, which are at varying stages of development. The projects – Blue Ridge, Zondernaam, Hoedspruit, Akanani and Limpopo – are all located on the Bushveld Complex in South Africa and present significant optionality to sustain and/or enhance the current production profile. The Group has refined its portfolio by exiting from low potential projects, Loskop and Vygenhoek and Zondernaam (still to be effected), whilst advancing studies into Blue Ridge, Akanani, Hoedspruit and Limpopo.
Blue Ridge is a 50:50 joint venture with Imbani Platinum acquired in the 2016 all-share offer for Aquarius Platinum. It is situated approximately 30km southeast of Groblersdal on the Eastern Limb of the Bushveld Compex. With mining operations under care and maintenance since 2011, studies into the feasibility of re-opening the operation are underway and due to be finalised in 2020.
Akanani, acquired as part of the Lonmin transaction, is an advanced stage exploration project located on the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex, 30km northeast of the town of Mokopane. Exploration drilling and environmental studies continued in 2019.
Through the 2016 Aquarius Platinum acquision, Sibanye-Stillwater holds a 74% stake in the Hoedspruit project located near the town of Rustenburg. We have submitted an application to have the project incorporated under the existing SRPM mining right to allow the area to be exploited from the existing Rustenburg underground infrastructure.
Since the take-over of the Limpopo project from Lonmin in June 2019, an asset located 50km south of the city of Polokwane, the Group has initiated a strategic review process, which includes the revision and updating of the 2017 feasibility study, to assess an optimal development timeframe for these assets. Due to the steep dip of the UG2 and Merensky Reefs, the project remains an attractive mechanisation option, which fits well with Sibanye-Stillwater’s strategic goals.