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Bushveld Complex

Marula

Marula Limited (Marula) is 73% owned by Implats and is one of the first operations to have been developed on the relatively under-exploited eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa. It is located in the Limpopo Province, some 50 kilometres north of Burgersfort. In FY2012 the operation produced 69,100 ounces of platinum in concentrate. The operation comprises two decline shafts, and a concentrator plant.

 

Business summary

  • Two decline shafts
  • Concentrator plant
  • Reserves: 1.1 million attributable ounces of platinum
  • Resources (including reserves) 7.5 million attributable ounces of platinum
  • Production: 71 700 ounces of platinum in concentrate
  • Employees and contractors: 4 018
 

Operational review 2013

 

HISTORY

Platinum was first discovered in the area by renowned explorer Hans Merensky on the nearby farm Maandagshoek (now Modikwa Platinum) in the 1920’s.  In June 1998 Implats entered into an arrangement to acquire the Winnaarshoek property from Platexco, a Canadian based company.  The mineral rights to portions of the adjacent farms of Clapham and Forest Hill and a sub-lease to Driekop were subsequently acquired from Anglo Platinum in exchange for Hendriksplaats (part of  Modikwa Platinum) so consolidating the Marula mine area.  The exploration programme was then expanded and some 750 surface boreholes were drilled.  The establishment and development of the mine, requiring considerable investment from Implats in both infrastructure and environmental protection measures, commenced in October 2002.

GEOLOGY

Both the Merensky and UG2 Reefs are present and sub-outcrop in the Marula mining right area.  The reefs dip generally in west-south-west direction at about 13 degrees with a vertical separation of some 400 metres between them.  While one prominent dyke and a dunite pipe are present, there is minimal faulting on the property. 

Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve Statement 2013
View online 

 

MINING

Current mining activities target the UG2 Reef only which is accessed via two declines, Clapham and Driekop, which are situated 1.3 km apart . The Driekop Shaft exploits UG2 by means of a hybrid mining method, whilst as Clapham Shaft both hybrid and conventional methods are utilised.
                                                   
Marula has experienced a number of operational difficulties since FY2002 and has been unable to achieve its production targets as the initial mine plan based on a trackless mechanised bord-and-pillar mining method proved inappropriate due to geological conditions, primarily the rolling of nature of the reef.

A detailed strategic review undertaken in the last quarter of FY2011 evaluated mining parameters and project status. As a consequence, production at the operation will be maintained at the current rate of 70,000 ounces of platinum per annum for the next year to enable the completion of the conversion project. Marula has right-sized its cost-based to the current ounce profile. A further strategic review will be undertaken this year which will assess the status of the mine.

METALLURGY

The metallurgical plant which was commissioned in February 2004 consists of a concentrator and a dense media separation plant (DMS).  The DMS is currently mothballed due to low throughput.  The plant has a capacity of 6,000 tonnes per day, capable of coping with current mine production.  Concentrate is transported by road to Impala Platinum’s Mineral Processes in Rustenburg in terms of a life-of-mine offtake agreement with Impala Refining Services (IRS).

BLACK ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT

Black economic empowerment forms a key component of the Marula operation and our partners together own 27% of the company.  Each of the following parties hold a 9% stake in the business:

  • The Marula Community Trust ensuring sustainable benefit flows to the local community over the life of the mine and beyond;
  • Tubatse Platinum, a broad based HDSA empowerment consortium from local business; and
  • Mmakau Mining, an established mining entity.

Implats, as the largest stakeholder, brings technical, managerial, financial and operational expertise to the mine.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

In addition to the BEE equity stakes in Marula, the company is determined to maximise the benefits of the mine for the community even further.  Preference is given to local contractors and suppliers of goods and services, and the social investment strategy focuses on addressing the urgent needs identified in the local communities. Typical projects include multi-purpose information centres, school upgrades and maintenance, educational support systems, the provision of roads, water, electricity and renewable energy projects and upgrading of clinics and investments in healthcare support infrastructure and systems.Makgomo Chrome is a joint vanture that assists local communities with the extraction and marketing of chrome from tailings.

Marula - key statistics

      2013   2012   2011   2010   2009  
  Safety leading indicators              
  Hazards for which internal STOP Notes have been issued   (no)  96   72   65   –   –  
  Stoppage/instructions issued by State or DMR   (no)  13   8   6   3   –  
  Leadership STOP Observations   (no)  2 429   767   –   –   –  
  Safety representative training   (no)  82   362   99   –   –  
  Safety lagging indicators              
  Fatal injury frequency rate   (pmmhw)  0.000   0.130   0.000   0.000   0.134  
  Lost-time injury frequency rate   (pmmhw)  5.42   11.46   9.19   9.39   5.35  
  Total injury frequency rate   (pmmhw)  24.81   36.08   34.15   41.25   28.62  
  Lost days rate   (pmmhw)  310   453   462   652   187  
  Health              
  Noise-induced hearing loss cases submitted   (no)  12   10   4   14   1  
  On wellness programme   (no)  192   434   393   359   329  
  On antiretroviral therapy   (no)  101   65   51   29   19  
  Environmental              
  Total water consumed   (Mℓ)  3 544   3 585   3 355   2 841   2 160  
  Total water recycled   (%)  44   45   46   47   46  
  CO2 emissions   (t)  182 245   177 409   176 127   170 706   156 141  
  People              
  Own employees   (no)  3 175   2 982   3 272   3 241   2 512  
  Contractors   (no)  843   726   937   727   998  
  Training spend (% relative to wage bill)  (%)  4   3   4   3   3  
  Literacy (ABET level (III))  (%)  90   92   88   88   88  
  Labour turnover   (%)  4   11   22   5   10  
  HDSA in management   (%)  62   50   41   40   42  
  Social              
  Community spend   (Rm)  16   17   41   10   –  
  BEE procurement   (%)  64   59   48   52   41  
  Sales   (Rm)  1 404   1 197   1 300   1 130   631  
  Platinum     825   702   728   655   543  
  Palladium     384   298   316   188   112  
  Rhodium     115   122   183   225   (69) 
  Nickel     24   24   28   22   16  
  Other     56   51   45   40   29  
  Cost of sales   (Rm)  (1 620)  (1 277)  (1 341)  (1 141)  (932) 
  On-mine operations     (1 249)  (984)  (1 040)  (850)  (736) 
  Processing operations     (161)  (155)  (152)  (146)  (132) 
  Share-based payments     1   23   6   (26)  36  
  Treatment charges     (4)  (3)  (3)  (2)  (2) 
  Depreciation     (207)  (158)  (152)  (117)  (98) 
  Gross (loss)/profit   (Rm)  (216)  (80)  (41)  (11)  (301) 
  Intercompany adjustment*   (Rm)  –   –   10   27   482  
  Adjusted gross profit   (Rm)  (216)  (80)  (31)  16   181  
  Royalty expense   (Rm)  (44)  (37)  (41)  (23)  (27) 
  Gross margin   (%)  (15.4)  (6.7)  (3.2)  (1.0)  (47.7) 
  Sales volumes in concentrate              
  Platinum   (000oz)  72.3   69.0   70.6   70.1   74.0  
  Palladium   (000oz)  73.9   70.9   72.9   72.6   76.3  
  Rhodium   (000oz)  15.2   14.6   14.7   14.7   15.7  
  Nickel   (t)  246.4   236.7   222.0   216.6   219.5  
  Prices achieved in concentrate              
  Platinum   (US$/oz)  1 304   1 318   1 481   1 244   824  
  Palladium   (US$/oz)  590   545   622   345   166  
  Rhodium   (US$/oz)  856   1 136   1 782   2 025   (201) 
  Nickel   (US$/t)  11 342   13 082   16 216   13 496   8 570  
  Exchange rate achieved   (R/US$)  8.78   7.66   6.91   7.51   8.35  
Adjustment note: The adjustment relates to sales from Marula to the Implats Group which at year-end were still in the pipeline.  
  Production              
  Tonnes milled ex mine   (000t)  1 628   1 579   1 542   1 545   1 574  
  Headgrade (6E)  (g/t)  4.19   4.18   4.39   4.36   4.29  
  Platinum in concentrate   (000oz)  71.7   69.1   70.6   70.1   74.0  
  Palladium in concentrate   (000oz)  73.5   71.2   72.9   72.6   76.3  
  Rhodium in concentrate   (000oz)  15.2   14.8   14.7   14.7   15.7  
  Nickel in concentrate   (t)  244.9   237.7   222.7   216.6   219.5  
  PGM in concentrate   (000oz)  188.3   182.2   185.7   184.6   194.4  
  Cost              
  Total cost   (Rm)  1 410   1 139   1 192   996   868  
    (US$m)  160   147   170   132   96  
  Cost per tonne milled   (R/t)  866   721   773   645   551  
    (US$/t)  98   93   110   85   61  
  Cost per PGM ounce in concentrate   (R/oz)  7 488   6 251   6 419   5 395   4 465  
    (US$/t)  849   807   913   714   492  
  Cost per platinum ounce in concentrate   (R/oz)  19 665   16 483   16 884   14 208   1 730  
    (US$/t)  2 230   2 129   2 401   1 880   1 291  
  Cost net of revenue received for other metals   (R/oz)  11 590   9 320   8 782   7 430   10 541  
    (US$/t)  1 314   1 204   1 249   989   1 262  
  Capital expenditure   (Rm)  125   223   242   281   398  
    (US$m)  14   29   34   37   44  
  Labour efficiency              
  Centares per employee costed**   (m²/man/annum)  52   51   46   66   59  
  Tonnes milled per employee costed   (t/man/annum)  428   470   371   474   503  
**Total employees excluding capital project employees.