Shares of Ivanhoe Mines (TSX:IVN) rose 6.57 percent, or 14 cents, after the company announced today that at its Flatreef discovery, it has intersected mineralization containing 4.51 grams per tonne (g/t) platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold (4PGE) over 90.64 meters at a cut off of 1 g/t platinum, palladium and rhodium (3PE). Flatreef is part of Ivanhoe’s South Africa-based Platreef project.
The intersection also includes:
- a 40.79-meter section grading 6.88 g/t 4PGE at a 3 g/t 3PE cut off
- nickel and copper mineralization grading 0.37-percent nickel and 0.2-percent copper, as well as a platinum-palladium ratio of about 1 to 1 over the whole 90.64-meter section
Commenting on the news, Robert Friedland, Ivanhoe’s executive chairman, said, “[t]his is an extraordinary drill hole. The 90-metre thickness of the intercept, which roughly is the same height as a 30-storey building, is unprecedented at Flatreef and I believe it also is without precedent in an underground platinum discovery in South Africa.”
Friedland also noted that “[t]he combined grade and thickness of the PGMs and base metals mineralization seen in this hole far exceeds anything we’ve previously encountered in all of our years of delineating resources on our Platreef Project.” The fact that those years total over a decade gives a sense of just how significant today’s results are.
The news follows comments made last week by Friedland to the Canada-Southern Africa Chamber of Business. As per Mining Weekly, he told the organization that he has it “on good authority” that in November, Toyota Motor (NYSE:TM) will launch the first commercially available hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars. He believes that will be a game changer for South Africa and envisions the creation of a “Platinum Valley” — similar to California’s Silicon Valley — in Limpopo.
Friedland clearly sees Platreef as key to such a development — he remarked to his audience last week that Platreef is the world’s largest mechanizable, ethical precious metals discovery, also noting that its geological nature “would allow for more humane working conditions than those in rival South African mines.”
For now, Ivanhoe’s plan is to complete a 3D seismic survey over Flatreef. It should be finished by November and will provide the company’s engineers with high-resolution imaging of the mineralized zones at the discovery. Preparation work for a bulk-sample shaft will follow in December.
At the same time, the company will be finishing up this year’s drill program at Platreef; according to today’s press release, since June Ivanhoe has drilled about 24,759 meters — that amounts to around 70 percent of the development drilling planned for 2013.
Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.