The total workforce engaged on Ivanhoe Mines' Platreef development project on Bushveld's Northern Limb in the Limpopo province exceeds 650 men and women, following the resumption of work.
According to the company, more than 500 of the jobs or 78% of the total workforce are held by persons in the local Mokopane area.
After formal activation of the company's long-term mining right by the Department of Mineral Resources, normal operations have re-commenced at the site of the company's planned underground mine on the Platreef resource of platinum, palladium, nickel, copper, gold and rhodium.
Ivanhoe Mines' wholly owned subsidiary Ivanplats owns 64% of the Platreef project and is directing all mine development work, including the returning of plant, earth moving and mining equipment to the site after a six-month suspension of activity.
Ivanhoe Mines CEO Lars-Eric Johansson said: "The resumption of work is enabling Ivanplats and our contractors to fulfil our commitment to create jobs and give priority to local residents when recruiting to fill available positions."
On a priority basis, excavation at the box cut was completed at the mine site to establish access for the construction of the large concrete surface collar for Shaft #1.
Shaft #1, which will be the initial production shaft in the first phase of Platreef's development, with an internal diameter of 7.25m and an annual hoisting capacity of 2.5 million tonnes, is projected to reach a total depth of 975m in 2018.
It will be used to collect a mineralised bulk sample for metallurgical testing from the 800m level of the Platreef project's Flatreef Deposit in 2017.
For the 10m diameter main production Shaft #2, design and engineering work is proceeding on the primary components that will be capable of hoisting six million tonnes annually, which will be fitted with a 150-person equipment cage.
Image: Holes being drilled in preparation for first blast at the box cut. Photo: courtesy of Ivanhoe Mines.