Ivanhoe sparks Laurentian-Limpopo partnership

Ivanhoe Mines (TSX: IVN; US-OTC: IVPAF) has partnered with Laurentian University in Sudbury and Limpopo University in South Africa to develop Limpopo’s geology department into a “centre of excellence in geosciences.”

Ivanhoe, through its South African subsidiary Ivanplats, has committed US$2.5 million to fund the renewable partnership for its first five years.

The partners’ goals for the project include: improving training and curriculum for economic geology and mineral exploration at Limpopo; more teaching and research for graduate students; equipping laboratories; buying a vehicle and trailer for field trips; and collaborating with Laurentian to improve Limpopo’s learning programs.

The partnership will also see Ivanplats provide training opportunities for students from both universities, and help them with research on the Northern Limb of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa.

Laurentian is providing $500,000, which it received from the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology. Another $570,000 comes from Laurentian, via Canada’s International Development Research Corp.

The money will bring 35 Limpopo students to Laurentian to study mineral exploration and economic geology, at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Advanced graduate students from Laurentian will also travel to Limpopo, where they will teach and help junior faculty.

“Canada’s Sudbury basin and South Africa’s bushveld complex are two of the most extraordinary geological features on earth, and now host two of the largest mining districts on earth — as well as these two enterprising universities,” Ivanhoe founder and chairman Robert Friedland said..

“The University of Limpopo can now draw on Laurentian’s vast experience to enhance its preparation of young South Africans with knowledge and skills that are required tickets to productive, rewarding careers in their modernizing mining industry,” he said.

For Ivanplats, the project is a “pillar of its social and labour plan,” Ivanplats managing director Patricia Makhesha said. “It’s part of our commitment to contributing to sustainable communities.”

Ivanhoe is advancing its 64%-owned Platreef polymetallic project in the Bushveld Complex’s Northern Limb, 280 km northeast of Johannesburg.

In early August the company started a feasibility study for Platreef, having releasing a positive prefeasibility study for the project in January 2015. That study outlined a large underground operation and 4-million-tonne-per-year concentrator, with a 31-year mine life. The study estimated US$1.2 billion in preproduction costs and an initial annual production of 433,000 combined oz. platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold, plus 19 million lb. nickel and 12 million lb. copper. The mining plan requires two shafts. Work on sinking the first shaft is underway and expected by 2018, with a 7.3-metre diameter and at 975 metres deep. Early works for the second shaft are scheduled this year.


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