Tailings retreatment

The principal part of Sylvania’s tailings reteatment business currently comprises a 74% interest in Sylvania Dump Operations (SDO), which, in terms of a service and supply agreement with Samancor Chrome (Pty) Limited (Samancor Chrome), treats chrome tailings to recover PGMs from Samancor Chrome’s mines on the Western and Eastern Limbs of the Bushveld Igneous Complex.

To service Sylvania’s Samancor Chrome agreement, two plants – Millsell and Steelpoort – became fully operational during the 2007-2008 financial year. Process improvement projects at both plants, involving the addition of beadmills and extra cleaner flotation cells, which have improved recoveries. Construction of two additional plants, Lannex and Mooinooi, is under way, with commissioning and ramp-up of production at both scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2009. In terms of an addendum to the Samancor Chrome agreement, a right has been secured to treat an estimated annual 300,000t of run of mine (ROM) from Samancor Chrome’s Broken Hill, Spitzkop and Buffelsfontein East chrome mines to win PGMs. ROM from Broken Hill and Spitzkop will report to the Lannex plant for treatment and those from Buffelsfontein East to the Mooinooi plant. The Doornbosch and Tweefontein plants, due for construction in the latter half of FY09, will lift production profile to 61 000 PGM oz.

In addition, Sylvania has a 25% interest in the Chrome Tailings Retreatment Plant (CTRP) at Kroondal on the Western Limb, managed by Aquarius Platinum Limited, which treats the Xstrata and Beyer chrome tailings to recover PGMs.

Project locations

Project locations on the Bushveld complex