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Bushveld Complex

Impala

Impala, Implats’ primary operational unit, has operations situated on the Impala lease area on the western limb of the world-renowned Bushveld Complex near Rustenburg, and in Springs, east of Johannesburg. In FY2013 Impala produced 709 200 ounces of platinum.

Following the decline in production in recent years, an indepth review was undertaken which has indicated a steadystate profile of some 850 000 ounces of platinum per annum. This will be achieved in 2018.

Operational review 2013

Impala Platinum    
View latest Annual Report information  

 

GEOLOGY

Both the Merensky and UG2 Reefs, which are contained in the Rustenburg Layered Suite, a well-layered ultramafic to mafic igneous succession on the 2 billion year-old Bushveld Complex, are present throughout the lease area. Both reefs sub-outcrop on the mining area and dip approximately 10 to 12 degrees towards the centre of the Complex, although locally dips may increase to 15 degrees. The vertical separation between the Merensky and UG2 reefs varies from about 125 meters in the south to some 45 meters in the north.

 

Business summary

  • A 16 shaft mining complex
  • Mineral processes, incorporating concentrating and smelting plants
  • Refineries, housing the base and precious metals refineries
  • Reserves: 19.8 million attributable ounces of platinum
  • Resources (including reserves) 73.9 million attributable ounces of platinum
  • Production: 709 200 ounces of refined platinum
  • Employees and contractors: 46 671
   

MINERAL RESOURCES AND MINERAL RESERVES (100%)

Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve Statement 2013
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MINING

Impala together with the joint venture with Royal Bafokeng Resources holds contiguous mining and prospecting rights over a total area of 33 534 hectares. The shafts across the property are dividing into three groupings – the old shafts (4, 6, 7, 7A, 8, 9 and E/F), the mature shafts (1, 10, 11, 12 and 14) and the new shafts (16, 17 and 20).

Both the Merensky and UG2 reefs are exploited and the bulk of mining is conventional breast mining. Mechanised bord and pillar mining occurs in selected Merensky Reef areas on two of the shafts (12 and 14 Shafts). Limited opencast mining was undertaken at the outcrop positions to a maximum depth of 50 meters.

Mining currently extends to a depth of around 1 000 meters, with most operations occurring at an average depth of 800 meters. The mining width, including dilution, for Merensky Reef is typically about 1 meter, whilst that for UG2 is about 0.9 meters. Each shaft develops and mines about 8 square kilometres. In FY2013 Impala milled around 10.9 million tonnes of ore, yielding 709 200 ounces of platinum.  

CAPITAL PROJECTS

The key to delivering the long-term production profile will be the on-time ramp-up of the three new major shafts, namely 20, 16 and 17 shafts. These shafts are designed as replacement shafts for the older infrastructure which is experiencing declining resource availability.

20 Shaft commenced production in FY2013 and produced 21 000 ounces of platinum. Steady state throughput of 1.7 million tonnes per annum of Merensky Reef or 125 000 ounces of platinum is scheduled for FY2018.

16 Shaft was commissioned at the end of FY2013 and first production will commence in FY2014 with output of 10 000 ounces of platinum. The build up to full production of 2.7 million tonnes of ore per annum or 185 000 ounces of platinum will be achieved in FY2018. Ore will be sourced from the Merensky and UG2 reefs.

Sinking of the 17 Shaft complex is on schedule and first production is expected in FY2018. At full production scheduled for FY2023, the shaft will produce around 180 000 ounces of platinum per annum.

METALLURGY

Mineral Processes houses the concentrator and smelter operations and is located on the mine property in Rustenburg. Concentrating and smelting recoveries in FY2013 were 85% and 99% respectively. Current smelting capacity is 2.6 million ounces of platinum.

The refineries located in Springs comprises a Base Metal Refinery (BMR) and a Precious Metal Refinery (PMR). Excellent recoveries were maintained across all metals in the last financial year. Current refining capacity is 2.3 million ounces of platinum at the BMR, which matches installed capacity at the PMR.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

The company’s sustainable development strategy informs a response to the societal issues that have an impact on the business and over which the company has influence. The pursuit of sustainable development and zero harm are seen as competitive imperatives. The strategy is regularly reviewed and revised to provide for the changing social context and to ensure a focus on the most material issues.

BLACK ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT

Impala meets the ownership requirements of the Mining Charter for 2014. In terms of an agreement finalised in early March 2007, Impala agreed to pay the Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) all royalties due to them from the 1st of July 2007 onwards. This amounted to R12.5 billion. Effectively through this transaction, Impala have discharged its obligation to pay royalties to the RBN. The RBN, in turn, subscribed for 75.1 million Implats shares giving them a 13.2% share in the holding company.

HISTORY

Hans Merensky first discovered platinum in the Bushveld Igneous Complex in 1924. Impala was created in the mid 1960’s to house Union Corporation’s platinum interests. At that time a prospecting permit was acquired and initial production commenced in 1969. Initially Impala mined the Merensky Reef and mining on the UG2 chromitite layer only began in the early 1980’s as the technology to smelt higher chrome ore was developed. By the early 1990’s Impala was producing in the region of 1 million platinum ounces per annum. A mining lease over land predominantly owned by the Bafokeng Tribe (now the Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN)) was originally granted in 1968.  

A landmark agreement securing Impala’s access to these mineral rights for a period of 40 years was signed with the RBN in February 1999. In terms of this agreement, the RBN not only enjoyed royalties from metals mined in areas over which they hold mineral rights, but they also became a major shareholder in the holding company, Implats, with board representation. A new agreement finalised in early March 2007 resulted in the royalty being converted into equity making the RBN the group’s largest shareholder.

Impala - key statistics

    2013   2012   2011   2010   2009  
Safety leading indicators              
Hazards for which internal STOP Notes have been issued   (no)  2 680   1 363   1 212   818   551  
Stoppage/instructions issued by State or DMR   (no)  90   108   59   47   51  
Leadership STOP Observations   (no)  30 803   20 518   –   –   –  
Safety representative training   (no)  1 958   1 254   1 666   1 301   1 147  
Safety lagging indicators              
Fatal injury frequency rate   (pmmhw)  0.087   0.110   0.058   0.158   0.101  
Lost-time injury frequency rate   (pmmhw)  4.91   5.74   5.41   5.09   3.47  
Total injury frequency rate   (pmmhw)  11.38   11.56   13.24   13.98   13.84  
Lost days rate   (pmmhw)  329   376   380   328   268  
Health              
Noise-induced hearing loss cases submitted   (no)  36   53   52   92   44  
On wellness programme   (no)  5 542   4 693   4 451   3 593   2 960  
On antiretroviral therapy   (no)  3 667   3 248   2 507   1 723   882  
Environmental              
Total water consumed   (Mℓ)  25 979   27 263   29 288   23 984   27 595  
Total water recycled   (%)  41   39   36   24   29  
CO2 emissions   (t)  3 024 489   2 938 908   3 255 484   3 019 131   2 840 143  
SO2 emitted   (t)  6 519   4 993   6 781   4 477   14 678  
People              
Own employees   (no)  33 356   33 062   32 909   31 870   30 540  
Contractors   (no)  13 315   15 245   13 744   13 717   12 786  
Training spend (% relative to wage bill)  (%)  6   6   6   5   7  
Literacy (ABET level (III) and above)  (%)  81   75   57   56   52  
Labour turnover   (%)  7   8   7   6   8  
HDSA in management   (%)  47   48   48   46   45  
Social              
Community spend   (Rm)  79   65   81   70   –  
BEE procurement   (%)  54   51   55   49   45  
One person per room – hostel units   (no)  5 375   5 482   4 092   1 212   724  
Mining sales   (Rm)  14 588   13 009   18 441   14 025   15 250  
Platinum     9 624   8 666   11 618   8 833   9 875  
Palladium     2 399   1 461   2 483   1 410   930  
Rhodium     940   1 093   2 132   2 386   3 067  
Nickel     600   704   989   609   640  
Other     1 025   1 085   1 219   787   738  
Mining cost of sales   (Rm)  (12 491)  (10 120)  (11 322)  (9 181)  (7 989) 
On-mine operations     (9 329)  (7 733)  (7 679)  (6 506)  (5 996) 
Processing operations     (1 959)  (1 782)  (1 673)  (1 457)  (1 349) 
Refining operations     (542)  (505)  (459)  (413)  (416) 
Selling and administration     (397)  (416)  (355)  (341)  (374) 
Share-based payments     93   333   65   (345)  670  
Depreciation     (1 666)  (1 141)  (923)  (742)  (630) 
Change in metal inventories     1 309   1 124   (298)  623   106  
Mining gross profit   (Rm)  2 097   2 889   7 119   4 844   7 261  
Royalty expense   (Rm)  (326)  (299)  (606)  (420)  (373) 
Profit from metal purchased transactions   (Rm)  218   5   25   146   18  
Sales of metals purchased     14 522   14 020   13 589   10 516   10 060  
Cost of metals purchased     (14 304)  (14 011)  (13 568)  (10 370)  (10 042) 
Change in metal inventories     –   (4)  4      
Gross margin ex mine   (%)  14.4   22.2   38.6   34.5   47.6  
Sales volumes ex mine              
Platinum   (000oz)  703.6   700.7   980.5   819.1   924.0  
Palladium   (000oz)  398.8   285.7   527.3   501.9   401.1  
Rhodium   (000oz)  94.0   89.0   133.5   147.9   100.5  
Nickel   (t)  4 159   4 633   5 929   4 386   6 220  
Prices achieved ex mine              
Platinum   (US$/oz)  1 553   1 599   1 693   1 427   1 228  
Palladium   (US$/oz)  681   682   678   373   271  
Rhodium   (US$/oz)  1 146   1 611   2 272   2 144   3 733  
Nickel   (US$/t)  16 926   19 844   23 951   18 286   12 774  
Exchange rate achieved ex mine   (R/US$)  8.79   7.69   6.99   7.56   8.56  
Production ex mine              
Tonnes milled ex mine*   (000t)  10 897   10 654   14 054   13 531   15 102  
% Merensky milled*   (%)  43.9   43.4   42.5   39.8   45.1  
Total development metres   (metres)  97 378   96 841   132 342   122 573   98 115  
Headgrade (6E)*   (g/t)  4.32   4.38   4.60   4.60   4.56  
Platinum refined   (000oz)  709.2   750.1   941.2   871.4   950.5  
Palladium refined   (000oz)  350.5   408.6   510.5   459.3   425.5  
Rhodium refined   (000oz)  101.3   98.9   126.8   121.7   124.1  
Nickel refined   (t)  4 035   4 757   5 455   4 852   6 228  
PGM refined production   (000oz)  1 377.9   1 487.8   1 854.2   1 714.7   1 790.1  
Cost              
Total cost   (Rm)  12 227   10 436   10 166   8 717   8 135  
  (US$m)  1 387   1 348   1 446   1 154   896  
Cost per tonne milled   (R/t)  1 122   980   723   644   539  
  (US$/t)  127   127   103   85   59  
Cost per PGM ounce refined   (R/oz)  8 874   7 014   5 483   5 084   4 544  
  (US$/t)  1 006   906   780   673   500  
Cost per platinum ounce refined   (R/oz)  17 241   13 913   10 801   10 003   8 559  
  (US$/t)  1 955   1 797   1 536   1 324   942  
Cost net of revenue received for other metals   (R/oz)  10 241   8 123   3 552   4 045   2 904  
  (US$/t)  1 161   1 049   505   535   320  
Capital expenditure   (Rm)  4 390   5 269   4 240   3 435   4 782  
  (US$m)  498   680   603   455   526  
Labour efficiency              
Centares per employee costed**   (m²/man/annum)  47   48   64   70   89  
Tonnes milled per employee costed**   (t/man/annum)  255   265   339   341   392  

*The ex mine tonnage and grade statistics tabulated above exclude the low-grade material from surface sources.
**Total employees excluding capital project employees.