Platinum Group Metals Ltd. announces that the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation has committed to fund the next US $20 million of joint venture funding at Waterberg.
In conjunction with JOGMEC's firm funding commitment, Platinum Group Metals, JOGMEC and empowerment partner Mnombo Wethu Consultants ("Mnombo") have agreed to consolidate the Waterberg Joint Venture and the Waterberg Extension projects into one unitized project area (the "New Waterberg JV"). As a result of the consolidation announced today, and with the funding provided by JOGMEC, approximately 15 drill rigs and crews will immediately be returned to active status at the Waterberg site.
Agreed New Waterberg JV ownership interests:
- Platinum Group Metals: 58.62%
- JOGMEC: 28.35%
- Mnombo: 26.00%
Platinum Group Metals will increase its direct and indirect effective interest in the old Waterberg Joint Venture area from 49.98% currently to 58.62%. Platinum Group will decrease its effective interest the old Waterberg Extension from 87% to 58.62%. JOGMEC will decrease its interest in the old Waterberg Joint Venture from 37% to 28.35% and increase its interest in the old Waterberg Extension from zero to 28.35%.
Based on the most recent declared resource estimate for the Waterberg Joint Venture and the Waterberg Extension, as at June 2014, the exchange of interests described above are "ounce neutral" in that each party is exchanging the same number of inferred resource ounces. Platinum Group Metals Ltd will retain operatorship of the consolidated project and achieves a majority effective interest in the overall project.
In consideration of the further resource potential in the less explored old Waterberg Extension, JOGMEC has committed to fund a total of US $20 million of exploration and development expenditures for the combined project over three years. The JOGMEC funded budget to March 31, 2016 is US $8.0 million for the entire New Waterberg JV, including fill-in drilling, extension exploration drilling and pre-feasibility engineering.
"Today's agreement enhances our long-standing strategy of advancing shallow, high-grade, low cost projects to create significant and sustainable value for our shareholders," said Platinum Group Metals CEO R. Michael Jones. "The consolidation of the Waterberg Project eliminates project boundaries; reduces development, administration and infrastructure costs; creates strong efficiencies; and enables the most economic development of the deposit. The unified ownership structure also allows for superior mine planning and scheduling focused on the early exploitation of higher grade tonnes of Super F mineralization, which may be planned with lower-cost mechanized processes in the ongoing Pre-feasibility Study."
JOGMEC will fund the entire US $8.0 million budget planned for the period ending March 31, 2016 and will then fund the first US $6.0 million of all planned programs in each of the next two years ending March 31, 2017 and 2018. A budget in excess of US $6.0 million may be proposed by PTM for pro-rata participation, following the JOGMEC funding in years 2 and 3 of the agreement.
All Waterberg prospecting rights and applications will now be contributed into a new operating corporation, Waterberg JV Resources (Pty) Limited, to be owned 45.65% by the Company, 28.35% by JOGMEC and 26% by Mnombo. (PTM holds 49.9% of Mnombo). The ownership of the new operating company will be governed under a participating shareholders agreement.
Updated Resource Estimate and Pre-Feasibility Study Continuing
The Waterberg deposit was discovered by the Joint Venture in a newly identified section of the Bushveld Complex. The deposit has the key features of being near surface, at 140 meter deep to the shallowest edge, and having thickness from 3 meters to 60 meters. This is in contrast to the conventional Bushveld deposits, many of which are in excess of 1000 meters deep and 1 meter thick. The Waterberg deposit has been divided into the Waterberg I, II, and III domains. Each domain represents approximately 5 kilometers of strike length. The June 2014 Waterberg resource estimate is 29.07 million inferred ounces over approximately the first 10 kilometers of strike length (100% basis, Inferred 287 million tonnes grading 3.15 g/t 4E (0.94g/t Pt, 1.92 g/t Pd, 0.04 g/t Rh, 0.25 g/t Au, 30%, 61%, 1%, 8%, respectively)). See Technical Report on SEDAR filed December 19, 2014. Of these resources approximately 22.3 million ounces are hosted on the old Waterberg Joint Venture area while the balance of 6.8 million ounces reside on the old Waterberg Extension area.
A total of 71,000 meters of largely infill drilling on the old Joint Venture area has been completed since June 2014. A resource update covering the entire Waterberg deposit area is in progress and remains due to be completed in calendar Q 2 2015.
The primary objective of the planned 2015 drilling will be to increase the confidence level of known areas of Super F mineralization on the southern portion of the old Waterberg Extension area, as well as down dip from these locations onto the old Joint Venture area. Additional areas of T Zone mineralization will also be drilled targeting a level of detail for the indicated category. Recent intercepts of good grade thickness Super F, above 400m depth will be followed up as part of the immediate drill campaign. Drilling to prospect the open F zone mineralization for the best grade thickness of the new deposit type will continue.
A further updated resource estimate for the New Waterberg JV overall is expected in approximately September 2015 prior to the completion of a pre-feasibility study on the entire unitized Waterberg deposit.
Qualified Person, Quality Control and Assurance
R. Michael Jones, P.Eng. is the non-independent qualified person who has reviewed and verified the technical information disclosed in this press release. He has relevant experience in precious metals and platinum evaluations and has verified the data by reviewing the detailed assay and geological information on the Waterberg deposit and visiting the site and core yard many times from 2011 through 2015.
Base metals and other major elements were determined by multi acid digestion with ICP finish and PGEs were determined by conventional fire assay and ICP finish. Setpoint Laboratories is an experienced ISO 17025 SANAS accredited laboratory in assaying and have utilized a standard quality control system including the use of standards. Platinum Group Metals utilized a well-documented system of inserting blanks and standards into the assay stream and has a strict chain of custody and independent lab re-check system for quality control. These standards are detailed in the Technical Report dated December 19, 2014, referred to above.
Inferred mineral resource estimates, under the CIM guidelines, do not have demonstrated economic viability and may never achieve the confidence to be mineral reserve estimates or to be mined. An inferred resource has reasonably assumed continuity based on limited sampling but the geological and grade continuity has not been verified. The property is held under Prospecting Rights with the exclusive right to convert that right to a Mining Right. There can be no assurance that a Mining Right will be granted with-out extensive further work and an application to the Department of Mineral Resources of South Africa.