Northam is an independent, fully empowered, mid-tier, integrated PGM producer with two primary operating assets, Zondereinde and Booysendal platinum group metal (PGM) mines, in the South African Bushveld Complex. The Zondereinde lease area is also the location for Northam’s metallurgical operations, which include a smelter and base metals recovery plant.
Chrome is produced at both Zondereinde and Booysendal from the UG2 reef. Northam has an exclusive chrome marketing agreement with Glencore International AG to market and sell Northam’s chrome.
Final precious metal concentrate is transported from the Zondereinde metallurgical complex for refining to the Heraeus facilities in Hanau, Germany and Port Elizabeth in South Africa.
Northam’s in-house marketing department is responsible for marketing and sales of products domestically and to major global markets in Asia, Europe and North America.
Assets and resources
The Zondereinde mine is an established, deep-level, conventional, long-life operation which mines UG2 and Merensky ore and produces approximately 280 000oz of refined PGMs annually. The mine is located on the northern end of the western limb of the Bushveld Complex near the town of Thabazimbi.
In October 2016, Northam announced that an agreement was concluded to acquire the Tumela resource from Anglo American Platinum Limited on the north-western boundary of Zondereinde. The acquisition will provide access to additional Merensky and UG2 reef and extend the life of mine (LoM) to beyond 30 years. This transaction was concluded in December 2017.
The shallower, mechanised, room and pillar Booysendal UG2 North mine is located near the town of Mashishing (formerly Lydenburg) on the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex.
The mine came into production on 1 July 2013 and has ramped up to full production. It has a LoM of some 25 years.
The 105.3Moz orebody at Booysendal lends itself to brownfields expansion opportunities, which are currently being established on the property. These include a deepening project at the existing UG2 North mine and the development of the Booysendal Merensky North mine on the property.
In June 2015, Northam acquired the Everest UG2 platinum mine (now incorporated into Booysendal South) from Aquarius Platinum (South Africa) Proprietary Limited, contiguous to the Booysendal lease area. The integration process with the existing Booysendal operation has begun, which will allow the group to begin extracting value and developing the new Booysendal South mine.
In February 2017, Northam announced an agreement concluded with Glencore Operations South Africa Proprietary Limited (Glencore Operations) to acquire Eland Platinum. Eland is located on the south-eastern limit of the western limb of the Bushveld Complex.
The acquisition includes two mining rights with a resource estimated at 21.3Moz 4E and a fully-developed, world-class surface infrastructure. This acquisition is subject to consent being granted by the Minister of Mineral Resources in terms of section 11 of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act, 28 of 2002 (MPRDA).
In July 2017, the group acquired PGM recycling assets in Pennsylvania, United States, from A1 Specialised Services Inc for USD10.7 million.
- 30% interest in SSG Holdings Proprietary Limited, a company providing security and facility management services to the group
- 7.5% interest in the Pandora joint venture (JV), in partnership with Anglo American Platinum Limited and Lonmin plc. Northam announced on 15 May 2017 the sale of its 7.5% interest in the Pandora JV, subject to various conditions precedent being met
- 50% interest in the Dwaalkop JV (Limpopo)
- 51% initial participatory interest in the Kokerboom JV exploration project (Northern Cape)
At 30 June 2017, Northam held a combined resource base of 200.3 million ounces (Moz) and 25.0Moz in the reserve category.
The group milled a total of 4.5Mt (Zondereinde: 2.0Mt, Booysendal North: 2.5Mt) in F2017 to produce 474 007oz of metal, which has been processed to realise sales revenue of R6.9 billion (F2016: R6.1 billion) – an increase of 12.6% year on year.