Pedra Branca Platinum/Palladium Project - Brazil
We believe that our Pedra Branca project represents one of the best undeveloped platinum-palladium (“PGM”) projects in the Western Hemisphere. 2012 marked the tenth year in a row that Anglo Platinum funded exploration on the project committing $1.5 million in funding.
The platinum-palladium market has once again ignited with potential global shortages of both these strategic metals forecast by many commodity analysts. This has raised the profile on our Pedra Branca project.
The Pedra Branca PGM project consists of 57 exploration concessions totaling approximately 70,000 hectares (173,000 acres) in Ceará State, northeastern Brazil. This is an advanced exploration project with 10.0 million in past expenditures with 318 drill holes of core drilling have been completed on 25 prospects located throughout the project area. Drilling has intersected significant mineralization on 13 of the prospects.
The geology of the Pedra Branca project is similar to the Bushveld complex of South Africa where the vast majority of the world’s PGM production originates. PGM mineralization occurs in stratigraphic layering of an ultramafic (iron-magnesium-rich) body. In many cases the PGM grade is associated with the mineral chromite. In other areas the PGM is more closely related with minor sulfide concentrations.
Our Pedra Branca Agreeent: Anglo Platinum World’s Largest Platinum Producer
The property is owned through our jointly held Brazilian subsidiary, Pedra Branca do Mineração (“PBM”). Anglo Platinum, the largest platinum producer in the world, has funded approximately $10.0 million for exploration since signing the initial Letter Agreement in January 2003 and has now earned a 51% interest in PBM.
Anglo Platinum has the option to earn an additional 9% interest in PBM (for a total of 60%) by funding a further $7.0 million on exploration and development. However, Anglo Platinum is not required to fund any future exploration expenditures. After Anglo Platinum has spent $17 million, we would fund our 40% share of feasibility expenses. Anglo Platinum has the option to earn an additional 5% interest (for a total of 65%) by arranging for 100% financing to put the project into commercial production after completion of a feasibility study.
2012 Exploration Update
In 2012 Anglo Platinum, our 51% joint venture partner and largest platinum producer in the world, assumed management of the project from Solitario and is now funding and managing all exploration activities on the project. Current plans call for a regional airborne geophysical survey designed to identify magnetic ultramafic rock formations. Ultramafic rocks are iron-magnesium rich with a very high magnetic geophysical signature, and commonly host platinum-palladium mineralization in the Pedra Branca area. If the geophysical program is successful in identifying new magnetic bodies, drilling is anticipated in late 2013 or 2014.