Implats has the advantage of geographical diversification and exploits platiniferous horizons within the Bushveld Complex in South Africa, the Great Dyke in Zimbabwe and the palladium-dominant orebody located in the Lac des Iles Intrusive Complex in Canada. The Bushveld Complex and Great Dyke layered intrusions are unique in terms of size and geological continuity.
The Bushveld Complex
The Bushveld Complex is an extremely large (65 000km2), two billion-year-old layered igneous intrusion occurring in the northern part of South Africa. The complex is unique in size and the range and economic significance of its contained mineral wealth. In addition to the PGMs and associated base metals, vast quantities of chromium, vanadium, tin, fluorine and dimension stone are also produced. Two horizons within the Critical Zone of the complex — namely the Merensky Reef and the Upper Group 2 (UG2) Reef — are the focus of the current Implats operations.
The PGMs – platinum, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium and iridium – and the associated gold, copper, nickel, cobalt, chromium and other minor metals and compounds are mined concurrently but recovered by different processes.
Implats’ operations on the Bushveld Complex comprise the Impala Rustenburg mine north of Rustenburg, the Marula mine northwest of Burgersfort, and the Two Rivers joint venture southwest of Steelpoort.
The Great Dyke
The Great Dyke is a 2.5 billion-year-old layered mafic-ultramafic body that intruded into Zimbabwe’s Archaean granites and greenstone belts. It bisects Zimbabwe in a north-north easterly trend. Much of the mafic sequence has been removed by erosion, and the Dyke is exposed as a series of narrow, contiguous layered complexes or chambers. The Main Sulphide Zone (MSZ) is host to economically exploitable PGMs and associated base metal mineralisation — the PGMs occur along with gold, copper and nickel in the MSZ.
Implats’ operations on the Great Dyke comprise Zimplats’ Ngezi Mine southwest of Harare and Mimosa, a joint venture between Implats and Sibanye-Stillwater situated east of Bulawayo.
The Lac Des Iles Intrusive Complex
The Lac des Iles property is underlain by mafic to ultramafic rocks of the Archean Lac des Iles Intrusive Complex (LDI-IC). Most of the known Lac des Iles suite intrusions host economically notable platinum group elements (PGEs) and the LDI-IC remains the only member of the suite in which PGE mineral resources have been delineated.