Canadian-based Eastplats was formed in 2003 with the objective of becoming a major producer of platinum group metals.
In less than four years the Company has met its objectives by acquiring a portfolio of high-grade platinum and rhodium-rich deposits in South Africa's Bushveld Complex with resources containing over 85 million ounces of platinum group metals.
In 2006, Eastplats became Canada's largest platinum group metals producer when it acquired a 69% indirect interest in Barplats Investments Limited. This acquisition was accompanied by a successful Cdn $150 million capital raising campaign, much of which has been invested in the Crocodile River Mine operations.
Eastplats is now an established platinum group metals mining company with assets on both the western and eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex. Based in Vancouver, and listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX:ELR), the Alternative Investment Market (AIM:ELR) and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE:EPS), the company's four primary assets are:
- The Crocodile River Mine on the western limb of the Bushveld and;
- The Kennedy's Vale project located on the eastern limb of the Bushveld.
- The Spitzkop project adjacent to Kennedy's Vale
- The Mareesburg project, close to Spitzkop and Kennedy's Vale
In May 2007 Eastplats acquired an additional 5% of Barplats. Simultaneous with a listing on the JSE in May 2007, Eastplats completed a $200 million capital raising and announced plans to develop the Spitzkop project and refurbish the existing Crocodile River Mine smelter.
In June 2007, Eastplats completed the acquisition of 42.3% of the shares of Gubevu, a company that holds 26% of the shares of Barplats.
In December 2008, Eastplats increased its direct shareholdings in Barplats to 74.99% and at the same time increased its ownership in Gubevu to 49.9%, in each case by way of equity investments.
In December 2010, Eastplats completed a brokered equity financing raising Cdn$347 million. Proceeds from the offering were used for Phase 1 of its Eastern Limb development plan, which involves the development of the Maressburg Project consisting of construction of an approximately 90,000 tpm PGM concentrator at the Kennedy’s Vale property along with development of the Mareesburg open-pit mine.
Due to the continuing negative outlook in the global economic environment, the sustained weakness in PGM pricing and the current operating environment in South Africa, the Company has made two major decisions to preserve capital. In June 2012 the Company decided to suspend funding for construction work on the Mareesburg Project on the eastern limb of the BIC and completed and ordered shutdown of the same by year end. The project is at approximately 45% completion. The Company also decided in June 2013 to suspend funding for the Crocodile River Mine. The Company will continue to reassess the viability of both situations and reinitiate funding for production once conditions support such a decision.
Eastplats has made a significant investment in infrastructure at both Mareesburg and the Crocodile River Mine, and the Care and Maintenance programs will ensure that both properties remain in a state of readiness in order to reinitiate activities when economic conditions and the operating environment improve.