Our business

Bushveld Complex

Marula

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 35 kilometres north-west of Burgersfort.  In FY2014 the operation produced 78 500 ounces of platinum in concentrate.  The operation comprises two decline shaft systems and a concentrator plant.

Operational review 2014

 

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
 

Marula holds two contiguous mining rights and a prospecting right covering 5 494 hectares across the farms Winaarshoek and Clapham, and portions of the farms Driekop, Forest Hill and Hackney.  Marula also has a royalty agreement with Modikwa which allows limited mining on an area adjacent to the Driekop shaft.

Both the Merensky and the underlying UG2 reefs are present and sub-outcrop in the Marula mining right area.  The reefs dip generally in a west-southwest direction at 12 to 14 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 RESOURCES AND MINERAL RESERVES

Marula Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserve Statement 2014
View online 

Current mining activities target the UG2 reef only which is accessed via two decline shaft systems.  Driekop Shaft uses a hybrid mining method, while at Clapham Shaft, both hybrid and conventional mining methods are currently being used.  In the hybrid sections, all main development is done on reef, and stoping is carried out through conventional single-sided breast mining from a centre gully.  The stoping width averages 1.4 metres. 

For the conventional operation, the footwall drives are developed on strike approximately 25 meters below the reef horizon with crosscut breakaways about 220 metres apart.  Development is undertaken with drill rigs and dump trucks.  Stope face drilling is done with hand held pneumatic rock drill with air legs.

The optimisation of Marula’s existing infrastructure over the past few years has provided a solid foundation to reach 86 000 ounces of platinum per annum by 2015.  In the medium- to long-term the development of Clapham level 5 and securing access to the UG2 reef within the Modikwa Joint Venture are necessary to increase this level of output to 90 000 platinum ounces per annum.

 

Marula has a concentrator plant where initial processing is done. Concentrator recoveries were 85.4% in FY2014.

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).

 

Marula focuses on addressing those social, economic and environmental issues that are seen as having a material impact on the long-term success of the business, the sustainability of the economy, the environment and the communities in which we operate or that are important to key stakeholders.  The pursuit of sustainable development and zero harm are seen as competitive imperatives.

Marula is determined to maximise the benefits of the mine for its local communities and the social investment strategy focuses on addressing the urgent needs identified in these areas.  Preference is given to local contractors and suppliers of goods and services.  Makgoma Chrome is a joint venture that assists local communities with the extraction and marketing of chrome from tailings.

 

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.

 

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.

Production     2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
  Tonnes milled ex mine   ('000t)  1 794   1 628   1 579   1 542   1 545  
  Headgrade (6E)  (g/t)  4.19   4.19   4.18   4.39   4.36  
  Platinum in concentrate production   ('000oz)  78.5   71.7   69.1   70.6   70.1  
  PGM in concentrate production   ('000oz)  206.4   188.3   182.2   185.7   184.6  
               
Labour efficiency     2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
  Centares per employee costed** (m2/man/annum)  54   52   51   46   66  
  Tonnes milled per employee costed**   (t/man/annum)  440   428   470   371   474  
               
Cost     2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
Mining cost of sales   (Rm)  (1 803)  (1 620)  (1 277)  (1 341)  (1 141) 
  Mining operations   (Rm)  (1 371)  (1 249)  (984)  (1 040)  (850) 
  Processing operations (Rm)  (188)  (161)  (155)  (152)  (146) 
  Other   (Rm)  (244)  (210)  (138)  (149)  (145) 
               
Total cost   (Rm)  1 559   1410   1139   1 192   996  
               
Unit costs              
  per tonne milled   (R/t)  869   866   721   773   645  
    (US$/t)  84   98   93   110   85  
  per platinum ounce in concentrate   (R/oz)  19 860   19 665   16 483   16 884   14 208  
    (US$/oz)  1 915   2 230   2 129   2 401   1 880  
               
Financial ratios     2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
  Gross margin ex mine   (%)  (0.7)  (15.4)  (6.7)  (3.2)  (1.0) 
               
Capital expenditure     2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
               
               
    (Rm)  159   125   223   242   281  
    (US$m)  15   14   29   34   37  
               
Safety     2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
  LTIFR     (pmmhwǂ 5.29   5.42   11.46   9.19   9.39  
  FIFR      (pmmhwǂ 0.000   0.000   0.130   0.000   0.000  
               
Labour complement     2014   2013   2012   2011   2010  
  Own employees   (no)  3 411   3 175   2 982   3 272   3 241  
  Contractors   (no)  893   843   726   937   727  
  **Total employees excluding capital project employees 
  ǂPer million man hours worked