Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National (JOGMEC) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to transfer part of its interest in the Waterberg joint venture (JV) project in the Bushveld Complex of South Africa to trading firm Hanwa.
The palladium, platinum, gold, rhodium (PGM), copper and nickel project is currently operated by Platinum Group Metals with a 37.05% interest, while JOGMEC, Mnombo Wethu Consultants and Impala Platinum Holdings (Implats) own 21.95%, 26% and 15%, respectively.
The MoU was signed after Hanwa won the competitive bidding process for the sale.
Negotiations are now set to begin on the terms of the transfer of a 9.755% interest.
The acquisition is slated to grant Hanwa the right to a supply of refined platinum group metals for exhaust emission catalytic converters and fuel cells for cars, as well as nickel and other metals that find application in rechargeable batteries.
Platinum Group Metals CEO Michael Jones said: “Hanwa’s experience in the global metals and industrial complex adds another dimension to our JV.
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“We acknowledge that JOGMEC is satisfying its mandate and is following its stated desire to secure critical mineral supplies to Japanese companies and industry.”
The deal is expected to help secure a stable supply of metals to Japanese industries.
Implats previously completed the $30m acquisition of a 15% interest in the Waterberg project in November last year.
Implats also holds an option to increase its stake in the project to a total of 50.01%.
A definitive feasibility study (DFS) for the project is scheduled to be completed in the first half of 2019.
The project is said to have platinum group element (PGE) probable reserves of 12.3 million ounces (oz).