In an operational update, the company said its PGM retreatment project at the Barplats Crocodile River property in North West, South Africa, produced 588,006t in 2019, and 987,003t in 2020. As of December 31, its total production was 1.575Mt.
Total tonnage of tailings remaining in the retreatment programme was 1.778Mt in 2019, but jumped last calendar year to 2.328Mt.
The retreatment project for chrome concentrates includes a combined hydro and mechanical re-mining method and magnetic separation applied to produce chrome concentrates, thus offering a greater yield result versus traditional gravity technology.
The Crocodile River retreatment project is the only large-scale magnetic separation application in South Africa. It is projected to continue operations into 2024.
Eastplats noted that the project has seen a jump in availability as a 24-hour continuous operation. Between 2019 and 2020, it increased from 76.43% to 85.71%.
"The two years of successfully operating the Retreatment Project has laid the groundwork to acquire the technical knowledge, confirm the upgrade required in the feed as well as establish the financial resources required to restart the PGM operations," Eastplats officials said.
"Eastplats is currently reconfiguring and optimizing the small-scale PGM circuit (previously the scavenger plant circuit)," it added, which should be completed before March 12.
Last July, Barplats inked an agreement with Advanced Beneficiation Technologies for an independent feasibility study to outline the development and construction of a new modular plant that would process PGMs from the redeposited tailings at the retreatment project at the Zandfontein tailings dam at about 50,000t/m.
"The Circuit H Project is being pursued to provide the opportunity to remine the tailings already deposited from the beginning of the Retreatment Project and extract additional value from PGMs. The Feasibility Study is in its final stages and the results are expected by the end of March 2021," the company said.