Eastern Platinum Limited
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AIM : ELR
JSE : EPS

Eastern Platinum Limited

December 20, 2010 17:51 ET

Eastern Platinum Limited: Final Updated Technical Reports Filed on SEDAR and Clarification News Release

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Dec. 20, 2010) - Eastern Platinum Limited (TSX:ELR)(AIM:ELR)(JSE:EPS) (the "Company" or "Eastplats") reports that it has filed the following final Technical Reports on SEDAR in connection with the Company's short form prospectus offering:

  • "Technical Report Update on the Crocodile River Mine, Eastern Platinum, North West Province, South Africa";
  • "Technical Report Update on the Mareesburg Platinum Project Limpopo"; and
  • "Technical Report for the Kennedy's Vale Project".

In connection with the filings the Company is pleased to provide a statement of current resources and reserves supported by the report on the Crocodile River Mine ("CRM"), and summaries of the results as reported in updated reports on the Mareesburg and Kennedy's Vale/Spitzkop projects.

The Company also wishes to clarify certain of its prior disclosure relating to its Kennedy's Vale/Spitzkop project.

CROCODILE RIVER MINE

Resources and reserves as reported in the Technical Report update are provided in the following tables. The resources are effective as of May 30, 2009. The reserves are effective as of November 30, 2010.

Table 1: Classified Resources – CRM

Resource Area Tonnes Metal Concentration Contained Metal
4E (g/t) Pt (g/t) Pd (g/t) Rh (g/t) Au (g/t) 4E
(Kg) (Oz)
Measured
Crocette 2,806,950 3.78 2.40 0.95 0.39 0.02 10,599 340,772
Maroelabult 614,442 3.98 2.51 1.02 0.42 0.02 2,443 78,558
ZF above 9 level 1,619,995 4.15 2.60 1.09 0.43 0.03 6,726 216,232
ZF below 9 level - - - - - - - -
Total 5,041,387 3.92 2.48 1.00 0.41 0.02 19,768 635,562
Indicated
Crocette 2,541,629 3.81 2.42 0.96 0.40 0.02 9,688 311,492
Maroelabult 2,587,973 3.90 2.47 0.99 0.41 0.02 10,094 324,523
ZF above 9 level 22,435,194 4.02 2.53 1.04 0.42 0.02 90,274 2,902,394
ZF below 9 level 8,524,977 4.22 2.64 1.11 0.44 0.03 36,002 1,157,501
Total 36,089,773 4.05 2.54 1.05 0.42 0.02 146,059 4,695,910
Total Measured and Indicated
Crocette 5,348,579 3.79 2.41 0.95 0.40 0.02 20,288 652,264
Maroelabult 3,202,415 3.91 2.48 1.00 0.41 0.02 12,537 403,081
ZF above 9 level 24,055,189 4.03 2.54 1.04 0.42 0.02 97,000 3,118,626
ZF below 9 level 8,524,977 4.22 2.64 1.11 0.44 0.03 36,002 1,157,501
Total 41,131,160 4.03 2.54 1.04 0.42 0.02 165,827 5,331,472
Inferred
Crocette 826,471 3.84 2.44 0.97 0.40 0.02 3,173 102,005
Maroelabult - - - - - - - -
ZF above 9 level 2,234,991 4.06 2.55 1.05 0.42 0.02 9,081 291,949
ZF below 9 level 19,007,813 4.09 2.57 1.06 0.43 0.03 77,780 2,500,690
Total Inferred 22,069,275 4.08 2.56 1.06 0.43 0.03 90,033 2,894,644

Table 2: Classified Reserves – CRM

Reserve Area Tonnes Metal Concentration Contained Metal
4E (g/t) Pt (g/t) Pd (g/t) Rh (g/t) Au (g/t) 4E
(Kg) (Oz)
Proven
Crocette - - - - - - - -
Maroelabult 132,000 3.91 2.42 1.06 0.4 0.04 515 16,600
Zandfontein 842,000 4.08 2.53 1.10 0.4 0.04 3,435 110,400
Total Proven 974,000 4.06 2.52 1.09 0.4 0.04 3,950 127,000
Probable                
Crocette 3,530,000 3.78 2.41 0.95 0.4 0.02 13,340 102,005
Maroelabult 2,173,000 3.91 2.48 1.00 0.4 0.02 8,487 272,900
Zandfontein 22,748,000 4.08 2.56 1.06 0.4 0.03 92,896 2,986,600
Total Probable 28,451,000 4.03 2.54 1.04 0.4 0.02 114,723 3,688,400
Total 29,425,000 4.03 2.54 1.04 0.42 0.03 118,673 3,815,400

Full details of the methodology used in the estimation of reserves and resources, along with details of the mining operations at CRM are provided in the Technical Report filed on SEDAR.

MAREESBURG

Revised resource and reserve estimates were prepared for the UG2 reef on Mareesburg as part of the economic analysis for the project. The Resource estimate is shown in Table 3 below.

Table 3: Classified Resources – Mareesburg

  Tonnes Grade 4E (g/t) Contained 4E (ounces) Cu Ni
Measured Resources 8,940,000 5.26 1.51 million .035% .082%
Indicated Resources 6,950,000 2.19 0.49 million .015% .056%
Total M&I Resources 15,890,000 3.92 2.00 million .026% .070%

This Resource estimate conforms to the requirements of NI 43-101 and includes the Probable Reserves outlined in Table 4 below.

Table 4: Classified Reserves – Mareesburg

  Tonnes Grade (4E) (g/t) 4E (Ounces)
Probable Reserve 4,557,810 4.0 586,213

Eastplats proposes to mine the UG2 reef by open pit mining methods.

The mined reef material would be processed in a concentrator to be built on land currently owned by Eastplats in the Steelpoort valley, some 30 km away from Mareesburg. An all-weather road connects the two sites. The concentrator is planned to process 90,000 tpm of feed.

Metallurgical testing confirms that the UG2 reef at the Mareesburg deposit is amenable to standard concentrating processes for UG2 material and that a saleable grade concentrate should be produced.

Concentrator recoveries are estimated to be in the order of 80%. Initial process test work indicates that a saleable concentrate containing approximately 200 g/t of 6E PGMs should be achievable. The concentrator should also produce a by-product chromite concentrate which should also be marketable.

Eastplats currently has a sales contract with Impala Refining Services for concentrate from its operating Crocodile River Mine. A similar contract is in the process of being negotiated for the Mareesburg concentrate.

The Mareesburg deposit should support a mine that could be placed into production relatively quickly and with a relatively low capital cost.

Estimated capital costs for the Mareesburg mine and concentrator were developed in April 2010 based on engineering work performed by qualified South African engineering and mining companies in 2008 and 2009. These costs include the necessary infrastructure to support mining operations, such as power, water, maintenance and warehouse facilities and other operating facilities, as well as for capitalized pre-stripping for the open pit mine.

Costs were reviewed in early 2010 and have been escalated to April 2011 to reflect the current estimated construction start date. All conversions to US dollars from South African Rand (ZAR) are at a rate of US$1.00 = ZAR7.00.

Estimated capital costs are US$288 million. A full breakdown of capital costs is provided in the Technical Report filed on SEDAR.

The mining operations at Mareesburg are estimated to produce on average 115,000 6E PGM ounces per year.

Operating costs for the Mareesburg open pit mine were developed from bids from qualified contract miners based on a scope of work developed by Eastplats. Operating costs for the concentrator were developed by Eastplats based on current operating experience at the Crocodile River Mine, adjusted for the smaller throughput at the new concentrator. All capital costs are converted to US dollars from South African Rand (ZAR) at an exchange rate of US$1.00 = ZAR7.00.

Total operating costs per ton milled are estimated at US$62.80. A full breakdown of estimated operating costs is provided in the Technical Report filed on SEDAR.

A financial analysis was performed internally by Eastplats on the project. The project shows an NPV of ZAR 593 million (US$85 million) and an IRR of 27%. A full breakdown of the financial analysis and parameters used is provided in the Technical Report filed on SEDAR.

KENNEDY'S VALE/SPITZKOP

The updated Technical Report filed on SEDAR describes the Kennedy's Vale Project, covering the farms Kennedy's Vale 361 KT, Belvedere 362 KT, De Goedeverwachting 332 KT, Spitzkop 333KT and portions of the farms Tweefontein 360 KT and Boschkloof 331 KT.

Exploration has been undertaken on properties within the Kennedy's Vale Project since 1988. The primary target has always been the UG2 chromitite, due to its high grade with the separate Merensky Reef being a secondary target. Exploration to date has included geological mapping, aeromagnetic surveys, a 3-D seismic survey and extensive diamond drilling with a total of 207,062 metres of drilling having been completed to date.

Mineral Resource estimates have been completed and are reported in compliance with National Instrument 43-101, Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects.

The resources shown in Tables 5 and 6 have been classified as Measured, Indicated and Inferred in accordance with NI 43-101 reporting requirements. Geological losses applied were 20% for the UG2 reef and 25% for the Merensky reef.

Table 5 shows the diluted UG2 reef resource reported in the updated Technical Report that can be practically mined at Spitzkop and is the resource that will be used when project economics are assessed.

Resources for the Merensky Reef are shown in Table 6.

Table 5: Classified Resources for the Diluted Interval in the UG2 Reef – Kennedy's Vale/Spitzkop

LC2 To U2MC Width SG Million Tonnes Ni Cu 3PGE+Au 3PGE+Au Million Ounces 5PGE+Au Pt Pd Rh Au
(m)   20% Geol Loss (g/t) (g/t) (g/t) 20% Geol Loss (g/t) (g/t) (g/t) (g/t) (g/t)
Measured
Boschkloof 1.50 3.88 20.9 618 286 5.13 3.45 6.11 2.70 1.83 0.55 0.06
De Goedeverwachting 1.49 3.93 28.6 574 158 5.20 4.79 6.22 2.81 1.81 0.53 0.06
Kennedy's Vale 1.50 3.82 42.3 520 150 4.43 6.03 5.31 2.36 1.57 0.45 0.05
Spitzkop 1.48 3.81 41.8 481 158 5.21 7.00 6.26 2.83 1.83 0.48 0.07
Total 1.49 3.85 133.6 535 175 4.95 21.3 5.93 2.65 1.75 0.49 0.06
Indicated
Belvedere 1.50 3.84 15.3 560 192 3.94 1.9 4.72 2.11 1.40 0.38 0.05
Boschkloof 1.50 3.86 13.8 560 213 4.84 2.2 5.81 2.59 1.71 0.49 0.06
Kennedy's Vale 1.50 3.83 21.5 494 146 4.15 2.9 5.00 2.26 1.41 0.43 0.05
Tweefontein 1.48 3.85 3.1 614 148 4.43 0.4 5.27 2.36 1.56 0.47 0.05
Total 1.50 3.84 53.8 537 177 4.28 7.4 5.15 2.31 1.50 0.43 0.05
Total Measured and Indicated 1.49 3.85 187.4 535 176 4.76 28.7 5.70 2.55 1.67 0.48 0.05
Inferred
Belvedere 1.50 3.84 51.3 543 142 4.71 7.8 5.59 2.43 1.73 0.49 0.05
Boschkloof 1.50 3.83 2.9 711 288 4.52 0.4 5.43 2.39 1.63 0.44 0.06
Tweefontein 1.49 3.83 20.9 548 124 4.58 3.1 5.43 2.39 1.66 0.48 0.05
Total Inferred 1.50 3.84 75.1 551 143 4.67 11.3 5.54 2.42 1.71 0.49 0.05

Table 6: Classified Resources for the separate Merensky Reef – Kennedy's Vale/Spitzkop

Merensky Reef Width SG Million Tonnes Ni Cu 3PGE+Au 3PGE+Au Million Ounces 5PGE Au Pt Pd Rh Au
(m)   25% Geol Loss (g/t) (g/t) (g/t) 25% Geol Loss (g/t) (g/t) (g/t) (g/t) (g/t)
Measured                        
Boschkloof 2.51 3.27 16.26 1104 666 2.30 1.20 2.53 1.37 0.68 0.11 0.14
De Goedeverwachting 2.53 3.25 36.75 1040 605 2.35 2.78 2.56 1.36 0.75 0.09 0.16
Kennedy's Vale 2.50 3.26 59.22 1210 635 2.79 5.30 3.04 1.59 0.91 0.12 0.17
Spitzkop 2.49 3.21 48.92 1147 670 2.53 3.98 2.77 1.44 0.80 0.11 0.19
Totals 2.50 3.25 161.15 1141 642 2.56 13.26 2.79 1.47 0.82 0.11 0.17
Indicated
Belvedere 2.47 3.28 24.33 1408 645 3.98 3.11 4.34 2.24 1.35 0.16 0.23
Boschkloof 2.51 3.28 30.89 1283 659 2.65 2.63 2.90 1.49 0.89 0.12 0.15
De Goedeverwachting 2.48 3.30 0.98 1092 654 2.42 0.08 2.62 1.37 0.79 0.09 0.17
Kennedy's Vale 2.49 3.27 25.91 1192 612 3.62 3.01 3.95 2.00 1.25 0.15 0.21
Tweefontein 2.53 3.27 5.95 1416 673 3.52 0.67 3.83 1.98 1.21 0.13 0.20
Totals 2.50 3.28 88.06 1298 642 3.36 9.50 3.67 1.88 1.14 0.14 0.20
Total Measured and Indicated 2.50 3.26 249.21 1197 642 2.84 22.8 3.10 1.61 0.93 0.12 0.18
Inferred                        
Belvedere 2.52 3.28 64.47 1338 610 3.04 6.31 3.31 1.72 1.04 0.12 0.17
Boschkloof 2.61 3.27 3.33 1416 569 3.07 0.33 3.35 1.71 1.06 0.12 0.18
Tweefontein 2.50 3.28 26.28 1555 668 3.50 2.96 3.81 2.00 1.17 0.13 0.20
Total Inferred 2.52 3.28 94.08 1401 624 3.17 9.60 3.45 1.79 1.08 0.12 0.18

Full details of the methodology and resource estimates are provided in the updated Technical Report filed on SEDAR.

In news releases dated April 10, 2008 and April 22, 2008, the Company made reference to anticipated production rates that it considered could be achieved at Spitzkop (being the shallower section of the Kennedy's Vale/Spitzkop project), that were based upon its operational experience in underground mining in the UG2 reef at CRM. The Company wishes to clarify that it has not received an economic evaluation or other economic analysis for an underground mining operation at the Kennedy's Vale/Spitzkop project and that this resource is not planned to be exploited as part of the Mareesburg project.

In the news release dated April 22, 2008, the Company incorrectly made reference to "ore" production at Spitzkop. The reference to "ore" for the UG2 resource at Spitzkop was not supported by an economic analysis as required by NI 43-101 reporting requirements for reserve/resource classification and the Company wishes to retract that reference.

References made to other production aspects for an underground mine in the UG2 reef at Spitzkop were based on Eastplats' operating experience in underground mining of the UG2 reef at CRM, and are not supported by an economic analysis for Spitzkop. The Company has not yet prepared mining plans for Spitskop, does not have a timetable for the development of the Spitzkop section, and has not yet made a production decision for its development.

Long lead items were purchased for the proposed mill for treatment of material from Mareesburg, and while this mill could be used for treatment of UG2 reef material from Spitzkop, they were not acquired for Spitzkop.

Some initial work was previously done by Eastplats to estimate the capital cost of adding a milling line to the Mareesburg concentrator to treat a possible 90,000 t/m of feed from an underground mine at Spitzkop. The Mareesburg concentrator will be treating 90,000 t/m of open cast ore from the Mareesburg mine and is located relatively close to Spitzkop. If economic conditions permit, another concentrating line could be added to the plant in the future to run Spitzkop material in parallel with Mareesburg ore.

No costing or economic modeling have been done on these scenarios other than a preliminary capital cost on expanding the concentrator that was derived from part of the capital cost estimate for the Mareesburg project. The estimated cost for the second milling line is US$98M. A full breakdown of the costs for the second milling line is provided in the Technical Report filed on SEDAR.

All work on the Kennedy's Vale/Spitzkop project remains on hold.

The updated Technical Report recommends that once Eastplats decides to reinitiate work on the Kennedy's Vale/Spitzkop project, a feasibility study will be done to develop a project timeline, capital costs, operating costs, project economics, and a corresponding mineable reserve. Such a study is estimated to take 12 to 18 months and would cost approximately US$2 million in 2010 dollars.

The Qualified Person having prepared the contents of this news release is Mr. Brian Montpellier, P.Eng.

Total shares issued and outstanding – 683,223,948

Cautionary Statement on Forward-Looking Information

Certain statements included herein constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of applicable Canadian securities legislation. These forward-looking statements are based on certain assumptions by Eastplats and as such are not a guarantee of future performance. Such statements include those about the commencement of development of the Eastern Limb projects and future production levels. Actual results could differ materially from those expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements due to factors such as general economic and market conditions, increased costs of production and a decline in metal prices. Eastplats is under no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable laws.

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No stock exchange, securities commission or other regulatory authority has approved or disapproved the information contained herein.

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