JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Mining entrepreneur extraordinaire Robert Friedland came to the City of Gold on Tuesday and wowed his audience with a stirring story of the richness of South African platinum endowment.
The geological marketing wizard, whose name is associated with the Voisey’s Bay nickel deposit in Canada and Oyu Tolgoi copper deposit in the Mongolia’s Gobi desert, delivered an hour-long key note presentation in which he rolled out plans to build a promising platinum mine in the rich Platreef close to the Mogalakwena mine, South Africa’s richest platinum operation owned by Anglo American Platinum.
The Toronto Stock Exchange-listed Ivanhoe Mines, which submitted an application for a mining licence to the Department of Mineral Resources five months ago, has well advanced plans for a secondary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
Friedland gave his presentation on day-one of the Joburg 2013 Investing in Resources and Mining in Africa conference attended by the who’s who of the South African mining industry. “Africa is potentially one of the most rewarding places to be operating on the planet,” said Friedland, whose Ivanhoe is also developing the Kamoa copper mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“A lot of people have been telling me that the commodity super cycle is dead. They’re completely idiotic,” he said, adding that the globe’s 7.3-billion people would rise to nine-billion people by 2030.
Also in the movie business, he revealed that Ivanhoe Pictures had teamed up with a Hollywood studio to make a futuristic movie called “Copper”, featuring an electrified world free of fossil-fuel burning and a commodities hunt in outer space.
Friedland, whose three decades of mining activity have spanned 50 countries, has a stated ambition of making his Flatreef project at Mokopane on the northern limb of the Bushveld Complex a model twenty-first century operation.
“We’re going to build this mechanised mine on a firm foundation with rock-solid legs,” he said, adding that the company expected to create 10 000 direct and indirect jobs through the construction and production phases of what would be a model mine.
“It’ll be safe and workers will be highly trained and very well paid,” Friedland said, promising one of the country’s broadest-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) deals, focused on host communities and employees.
He estimated that some 300 000 people in 17 communities would be equity participants, with BBBEE interests owning 26% of the asset and Ivanhoe Mines owning 64%.
“We’re trying to raise the bar in the way black empowerment is structured,” he said.
The Japanese, through Itochu and Jogmec, had bought 10% of the Ivanhoe platinum project for $300-million and were leading the push to the use of platinum group metals (PGMs) in fuel-cell cars, power generation and clean industry.
A typical drill hole indicated platinum orebodies that were 24 m thick and a recent hole indicated 90 m thickness, the height of a 30-storey building.
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