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Impala Platinum


Location:  Northern Western Transvaal  (View location on map)

Minerals Worked: Platinum Group Metals

Principal Mines: The Bushveld Complex.

Background History:

Impala Platinum’s operations are located in an area of the north western Transvaal known as "The Bushveld Complex". The main ore deposit was discovered by Hans Merensky in 1924 and takes its name after its descover "The Merensky Reef". Impala Platinum was established 40 years later in order to house the platinum interests of the Union Corporation.  At the time, a prospecting permit was acquired and following exploration and mine development, production commenced in 1969.

Impala Platinum stepped up its operations in 1980. Having previously limited mining to the Merensky Reef, the company took advantage of technological advances enabling the smelting of higher chrome ore, and began mining the UG2 chromitite layer. Impala Platinum’s growth was swift. By the 1970s, the company had secured contracts from major US motor manufacturers like Chrysler and General Motors, and supplied up to 300,000 ounces of platinum and 120,000 ounces of palladium for the latter between 1974 and 1983. By the 1990s, Impala Platinum was producing one million ounces of platinum per annum, making it the world’s second largest platinum producer.

Other milestones within the company’s history included the 1973 Johannesburg Stock Exchange listing of Bishopsgate Platinum Limited, of which Impala Platinum was a wholly-owned subsidiary. The company changed its name to Impala Platinum Holdings Limited (Implats) in 1978. The history of Impala Platinum cannot be divorced from that of the Royal Bafokeng Tribe (now known as the Royal Bafokeng Nation or RBN). In 1968, Impala Platinum was granted a mining lease over land owned by the RBN. In February 1999, RBN and Impala Platinum signed an agreement which secured the company’s access to mineral rights for the next 40 years. The RBN, meanwhile, would be entitled to royalties mined in the area over which they hold mineral rights. RBN was also made a shareholder in Implats. This status has been further entrenched by the agreement concluded in 2007, which sees RBN’s royalties converted into equity in Implats. RBN is now Implats’ largest shareholder.


The Postcards

The webmaster knows of only one mining related postcard view from this region but suspects there are more. 

"Thumbnail" Images  Card Title or Description Card  Ref. No.
Aerial view of Impala Platinum Mine PC199


1) For further information and enlarged views of each postcard click on any one of the above images.

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