The acquisition fits in with new CEO Nico Muller's stated intention of looking for large, shallow resources to offset the risk of operating deep-level platinum mines.
"We have made it a priority to increase Implats's strategic optionality and this investment represents an important step to create the potential to develop a significant, lower-cost, lower-risk resource," Muller said in a statement.
Implats is buying the 15% stake in the Waterberg prospect on the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex for cash from Platinum Group Metals, which has just sold its only operating asset to Royal Bafokeng Platinum, and Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corporation (Jogmec), with an agreement to take control of the project after a definitive feasibility study on it.
"Waterberg represents a large-scale platinum group metal resource with an attractive risk profile given its shallow nature. This facilitates fully mechanised production with the potential for the project to have among the lowest operating costs in the PGM (platinum group metals) sector," Implats said.
Implats will from now be closely involved in the definitive study of the Waterberg prospect and will then have 90 working days once the study is complete to decide whether it will take up a 50.01% stake in the project by buying a further 12.19% from Jogmec and investing $130m into developing a mine at Waterberg for a 22.18% stake in the project which Implats will manage.
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