Modern Mining December 2022


potential to extend the exploration programme to the east of the project, which could unlock further pre cious ounces.” Bengwenyama attractiveness The Australian listed entity, which had a market capitalisation of A$45-million when it floated its shares on the ASX and JSE at a share price of 50 cents (Australian) has doubled its market value to A$100-million (close to R1-billion) since start, taking its project up the value curve. According to Odendaal, the company listed at just the right time, when the appetite for “green metals” is strong and there is a renewed interest in PGMs. The company is exploring for minerals such as pal ladium, rhodium, platinum and iridium – minerals that support the green economy. “Southern Palladium’s shares were oversub scribed, and we raised A$19-million, which is being used to progress our exploration programme. We are in the fortunate position that we sit with a strong balance sheet,” he says. Further to this, he adds that being located on the Eastern Limb of the Bushveld Complex, a well known PGM bearing area, means the metallurgy is well understood and there is no need to inject fur ther capital to fathom the minerology. The Bengwenyama shallow deposit lends itself to significantly reduced capital costs as the UG2 and Merensky reefs will be accessed via a decline, a much more cost-effective initiative compared to sinking a vertical shaft. Given that the UG2 reef starts at a depth of less than 50 m and the Merensky reef outcrops on the surface, gently dipping between 10º - 12º degrees westwards, the Bengwenyama project will require a shallow decline system. Further to this, the Steelpoort area is an estab lished area containing the relevant infrastructure such as road, power and water, as well as ample and readily available skills. “In fact, the Lebalelo water pipeline runs past the entrance of our project, and we are currently sourcing water from the pipeline for our exploration initiatives,” explains Odendaal. Mitigating the challenges that plague junior miners Junior miners are often plagued by myriad chal lenges, the foremost of which include limited funds, which see teams kept to the minimum number of people and a reliance on consulting companies to provide technical backing and insight for their proj ects. However, in the case of Southern Palladium, the company teamed up with advisory specialist Minxcon, which acts as technical advisor. “We have full access to Minxcon’s expertise and can interact with a mining engineer, processing engineer or geologist when the need arises. The

the project also has further upside potential with an additional 134 – 201 mt at 3,5 – 5,2 g/t platinum + palladium + rhodium + gold (3PGE+Au) in Exploration Target,” says Odendaal. The ASX-listed project developer began its pro gramme to firm up its resource with a geophysics flyover in January this year. This provided the com pany with insight into the structure of the orebody, which was followed by the latest drilling programme, initiated in August. Southern Palladium’s two-phase drilling pro gramme entails drilling 63 boreholes or 25 000 m in Phase 1 and 12 boreholes or 14 000 m in Phase 2. The Phase 1 drilling programme recently com pleted three drill holes, all of which intersected the UG 2 reef. “Our drilling programme is going extremely well – we have sent samples from the first three boreholes for assaying, the outcome of which is expected in November. We currently have five drill rigs on the property.” “What is interesting,” says Odendaal, “is that the data that was recently unpacked indicates the

The Bengwenyama community is a significant shareholder in the project.

20  MODERN MINING  December 2022

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