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  • Last updated

    9:19am on Aug 17, 2022

Our SA Platinum Group Metals (PGM) operations comprise the Rustenburg, Kroondal and Marikana operations, respectively, located in the northwest province of South Africa.

The initial Bushveld discovery of Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) was made by Mr Andries Lombaard in June 1924 on the farm Maandagshoek while panning in a dry riverbed. Samples of these grey-white metallic granules were sent to Hans Merensky, a geologist, who confirmed it as platinum. Merensky later visited the area before returning to Johannesburg to raise funds for prospecting. The Lydenburg Platinum Syndicate was formed in circa August 1924, between Merensky and Lombaard, to kickstart the extensive and highly successful exploration for Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) in the BIC (Bushveld Igneous Complex). Subsequently, the Rustenburg Platinum Syndicate funded exploration in the area, and platinum was found in the Brits area as well. Aeromagnetic geophysics, surface geological mapping and diamond exploration drilling defined the extent of the BIC that is host to more than 85% of known Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) today.

The BIC, is estimated to have formed approximately 2000 million years ago, has three (3) main limbs, namely the Western Limb, the Eastern Limb and the Northern Limb where the Merensky and the UG2 are the main economic PGM reefs. The current Sibanye-Stillwater platinum operations in South Africa (Rustenburg, Kroondal and Marikana) are situated in the Western Limb of the BIC, east of the town of Rustenburg. The operations have been extensively explored via surface diamond drilling, for exploitation of both UG2 and Merensky Reefs.

Dr Hans Merensky, the geologist who discovered the platinum reef @ Rustenburg (Machens, 2009), and a map of the extent of the Bushveld Igneous Complex, also depicting the Sibanye-Stillwater PGM Operations

Rustenburg operation

The Rustenburg operation is located in the North West province, northeast of the towns of Rustenburg and Kroondal, 123km west of Pretoria and 126km northwest of Johannesburg. With exploration on the Western Limb of the BIC commencing in circa 1925, the first vertical shaft in the Rustenburg area was sunk in 1929 at what was to become the Rustenburg Platinum Mines Limited. Subsequently, the Waterval shaft was constructed in 1935, and the Central Deep shaft and Siphumelele shaft were constructed and 1951 and 1953, respectively. At regular intervals over a 40 year period, new shafts were sunken and constructed, with the Khomanani 2 Shaft and Thembelani 2 shaft sunken in 1993 and 2011, respectively. Initially Johannesburg Consolidated Investments (JCI) acquired a controlling interest in Rustenburg Platinum Mine, with Anglo American Platinum (AAP) becoming the owners in 1995. In 2016, AAP sold the Rustenburg Platinum Operations to Sibanye-Stillwater.

An archaeological assessment for the lease holding of the Rustenburg Operation was completed in 2005. Various sites of archaeological or cultural significance were identified within the lease area. To date, RPM has a total of 139 heritage sites.

Marikana operation

The Marikana operations (Western Platinum Limited and Eastern Platinum Limited) are located in the Marikana district, 40km to the east of the town of Rustenburg in the North West province of the Republic of South Africa. The lease area covers approximately 214 km2 and is in excess of 30km from east to west and 15km from north to south. The Marikana Operations were acquired by Sibanye-Stillwater following the acquisition of Lonmin in June 2019. These operations started with the sinking and commissioning of the Rowland Shaft and the Karee Mine Shaft by the London and Rhodesian Mining and Land Company Limited (Lonhro) in 1987 and 1989, respectively. In 1999 Lonhro Public Limited Company (PLC) was renamed to Lonmin PLC, which became a primary Platinum Group Metals (PGM) producer in 2000 by virtue of the selling-off of all non-PGM assets. This was followed by the sinking and commissioning of the Saffy Shaft, Hossy Shaft, K4 Shaft and K3 Shaft in 2001, 2003, 2006 and 2011, respectively. The full acquisition of Lonmin PLC by Sibanye-Stillwater was completed in June 2019.

A number of Heritage Resources Impact Assessments (HIAs) have been conducted over the years on the Marikana operations that have concluded that no significant Stone Age resources exist on the terrain, although a limited number of Middle Stone Age flakes and cores have been observed. To date, Marikana has a total of 180 identified heritage sites, comprising mostly of graves.

In addition to the above heritage sites, we acknowledge the tragic events in 2012 which culminated in the Marikana Massacre, where 34 striking Lonmin mineworkers were killed by members of the South African Police Service on 16 August 2012. Sibanye-Stillwater acquired Lonmin in June 2019 and has committed to a process, the Marikana Renewal, which in addition to appropriately acknowledging the tragic legacy, will honour the lives that were lost, and strive to make amends by seeking and contributing to reparations for those who were, and continue to be affected by the tragic events of 2012. We also look to the future and are committed to working with all stakeholders to build a better future for all, in and around Marikana.

For more information, please see www.marikanarenewal.co.za

Unveiling of the Marikana Massacre Wall of Remembrance

Site WO05 is a large settlement near the northern foot of Kaditshwene.  It is characterized by massive constructed stone walls and thick, extensive middens. The surface of this site is covered with scattered potsherds and holds a lower grinding stone.

Kroondal operation

Kroondal is situated in the magisterial district of Rustenburg, approximately 120km northwest of Johannesburg, about 120km west of Pretoria (Tshwane) in the North West province of South Africa and a few kilometers from the historic town of Kroondal with its unique German heritage. Mine development on the Kroondal Platinum Project began in 1998, with mining via two decline shafts beginning in March 1999 and the commissioning of a concentrator plant by year-end 1999. By 2005, the second concentrator plant was commissioned and by 2011, five decline shafts were in production. Sibanye-Stillwater acquired a 50% stake in Kroondal in 2016, via the acquisition in full of Aquarius Platinum Public Limited Company (PLC).

A number of archaeological and heritage studies have been undertaken within the study area. The reports on these studies were obtained through the South African Heritage Resources Information System (SAHRIS).  To date, Kroondal has a total of 51 identified heritage sites.

Above, a selection of photos of heritage resources from the general Kroondal mining area

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