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Impala Platinum

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Business summary

  • A 14 Shaft mining complex
  • Mineral processes, incorporating concentrating and smelting plants
  • Refineries, housing the base and precious metals refineries
  • Reserves: 23.0 million attributable ounces of platinum
  • Resources (including reserves) 68.0 million attributable ounces of platinum
  • Production: 871 400 ounces of refined platinum
  • Employees and contractors: 45 587

Operational review 2010

Impala Platinum          
View latest Annual Report information      


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 this 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 1 million platinum ounces per annum.

A mining lease over land predominantly owned by the Bafokeng Tribe (now the Royal Bafokeng Nation) 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 Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) in February 1999. In terms of this agreement, the RBN not only enjoyed royalties from metals mined in areas over which they held 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.


Both the Merensky Reef and UG2 Chromitite Layer, 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 9 to 10 degrees towards the centre of the Complex, although locally, dips may increase to 15 degrees. The vertical separation between the Merensky and UG2