The board of Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has approved the Mototolo / Der Brochen life extension project in South Africa as part of its strategy to maximise value from its core assets.

The extension project is expected to involve an investment of around $245m (R3.9bn) in nominal terms over six years.

However, the majority of the amount will be spent on the first three years between 2022 and 2024.

According to an Amplats statement, the project will use existing Mototolo infrastructure to expand mining into the adjacent and down-dip Der Brochen resource.

The Der Brochen UG2 orebody will employ the same bord and pillar extraction method used in the Mototolo mine. It will also be a fully mechanised operation.

A new shaft will also be developed to replace the depleting Mototolo reserves and maintain a monthly mining rate of 240,000t.

The project works are slated to begin in first quarter of 2022 and first production is expected in late 2023.

Amplats CEO Natascha Viljoen said: “The Der Brochen project is one example of the high-quality, low-cost expansion options we have available in our existing portfolio of assets that will allow us to continue delivering industry-leading returns to shareholders.

“We are also progressing our various workstreams at Mogalakwena to ensure we realise the full potential of this world-class resource to the benefit of stakeholders for many decades to come.

“In addition, the strong performance by our processing operations over the period illustrates the significant work we have been doing to improve asset reliability in the business.”

The project is expected to extend the mine life beyond 30 years.

A member of the Anglo American Group, Amplats produces platinum group metals.

Earlier this year, Anglo American committed to reducing its indirect greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2040.