As part of this effort, the firm has submitted the mining right application to South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources (DMR), consisting of the mining work program, social and labour plan and associated environmental applications.

Located in the Bushveld Igneous complex, approximately 85km north of Mokopane town in Limpopo Province, South Africa, the Waterberg mine has estimated life of the mine is 18 years.

Platinum Group president and CEO R Michael Jones said: “The filing of the Mining Right Application represents a significant milestone in the evolution of the Waterberg Project.

“First discovered in 2011, Waterberg has grown both in scale and stature to become a significant mineral asset and a rare, large scale, low cost primary palladium deposit.

“The project has the potential to positively impact South Africa’s economic development, creating high-value jobs and skills training opportunities for local residents.”

Platinum Group is the operator of the Waterberg project with 50.02% stake while other joint venture partners include Implats Platinum with 15% stake, Mnombo with 26% interest and the Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (JOGMEC) holding the remaining 21.95% interest.

JOGMEC is in the process of transferring 9.755% interest in the Waterberg project to Japanese conglomerate Hanwa.

PTM said in a statement: “Waterberg represents a large scale resource of platinum group metals (“PGM”), including palladium, platinum and gold, with an attractive risk profile.”

The Waterberg Project’s Current Platinum Group Element (PGE) Probable Mineral Reserves are 12.3 million ounces, comprising 61% palladium, 30% platinum, 8% gold and 1% rhodium as well as 191 million and 333 million pounds of copper and nickel respectively.

A pre-feasibility study (PFS) for the project was completed in 2016 while a definitive feasibility study (DFS) is currently in progress with planned completion in Q1 2019.

The project is expected to have an annual production capacity of 744,000oz of 4E (platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold) and 23 million pounds of nickel and copper.