File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

JOHANNESBURG - Vancouver-based Eastern Platinum (Eastplats) said on Tuesday it had commenced commissioning its newly constructed chrome plant in Brits in North West province and the chrome circuit had produced its first concentrate at its Zandfontein UG2 tailings plant. 

The chrome processing circuit is located at the Crocodile River mine.

In March, Eastplats and its subsidiary Barplats Mines entered into a framework agreement with Union Goal for the construction, mining and processing of the tailings resource and offtake of chrome concentrate from Barplats' tailings facility at Crocodile River. 

The cost has since increased by 16.6 percent to R191.2 million.

On Tuesday Eastplats said all site teams were now in place to continue commissioning and initial pre-operations, with the intention to move towards full-scale production upon completion.

The company is targeting commercial production in early 2019 and expects to ramp up to full commercial production during the second quarter.

Eastplats chief executive Diana Hu said the achievement of this milestone was the culmination of a team effort over the last several years which had resulted in a highly productive 2018 for the company.

"Rebounding from the past five years in care and maintenance ... the company is on the verge of generating production revenue once again, realizing a tremendous opportunity to create value for all our stakeholders," Hu said.

- African News Agency (ANA)