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Wesizwe Platinum to scale down Bakubung mine development amid weak market

Wesizwe Platinum Ltd. said March 15 that it will scale down the development of its Bakubung mine in South Africa to a 1-million-tonne-per-annum mine with an equivalent 1 mtpa processing plant, from the 3 mtpa mine previously envisioned.

The decision comes amid a weak market for platinum group metals. The company is also curtailing all nonproduction expense and allocating all resources to finish developing Bakubung toward production. The smaller mine will operate from 2021 through 2026.

"The prevailing low PGMs market caused by reduced demand has created negative environment for the mining industry including Wesizwe, which has negatively impacted the company's ability to raise the required additional funding to commission a 3 million [tonnes] per annum mine and a processing facility, the company said in a statement. "All measures of austerity are aimed to keep the company afloat within the current market challenges whilst continuing to develop an asset that will be maximally exploited when the market turns."

The miner plans to revert the operation to its base-case 3-mtpa operation if market conditions improve.