South African platinum group metals producer Sylvania has announced a joint venture (JV) between its South African unit and fellow miner ChromTech’s Limberg Mining for the extraction of platinum group metals (PGM).

The 50/50 Thaba JV (Thaba JV) will extract platinum from historic tailings dumps and run-of-mine deposits from the Limberg Chrome project in South Africa’s mineral-rich Bushveld region. As part of the deal, the JV will construct a secondary fine chromite and PGM processing plant.

Thaba JV estimates that it will have an annual production of 13,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of 4E PGM (platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold), as well as 400,000t of metallurgical grade chromide, with revenues split evenly between the JV partners.

The Thaba JV will require $32m (R610.27m) to start up, funded by Sylvania. Sylvania will also advance the payment of the initial $5m for working capital at the project. The JV will be Sylvania’s first time operating in a chrome project.

Sylvian CEO Jaco Prinsloo stated: “The Thaba JV combines the strengths and expertise of both companies in the mining and processing industry. Sylvania Metals has a proven track record in the recovery, sale and distribution of PGMs, while LMC contributes ChromTech’s extensive experience of chrome operations, with particular expertise in fine chrome beneficiation.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with [Limburg Metals], who will provide access rights to the mining area and brings its knowledge and skills in mining and processing operations to ensure the production of low-cost, high-grade chromite concentrate and PGMs from the Middle Group Reef on the north of the Western Limb of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa.”

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The western end of the Bushveld mining region has seen a large increase in chrome-focused investment in 2023. In June, Jubilee secured a contract for six-years of chrome and PGM feed from a mine in the region, while increasing its processing capacity in the region to 360,000tpa courtesy of a retrofitted processing facility.