CANADA's Platinum Group Metals has made a discovery of a potential new platinum deposit in SA that CEO Mike Jones describes as "geologically the most interesting thing I've done".

Mr Jones, who has been involved in mining for 25 years, tells a story about a silver mine in Mexico that had been in operation for more than 400 years and yet a company he was involved in found a rich silver deposit nearby.

"In SA, there's been more than 100 years of mining, but don't be so sure the best-grade thicknesses have all been found yet," he said last week.

The area in Limpopo where the deposit was found was generally thought not to have platinum group metal mineralisation due to its geological make-up.

The Waterberg deposit, which Mr Jones describes as a potential new lobe of platinum mineralisation, lies to the north of the geological feature called the northern limb of the Bushveld Igneous Complex, beyond the maps showing the extent of that limb. The two reefs that Platinum Group and its partner, Japan's state-owned Jogmec, had discovered were unlike the Platreef that made up the northern limb, he said.

The reefs had a 50% palladium, 30% platinum and 20% gold content and were dissimilar to the Merensky and UG2 reefs mined on the western and eastern limbs of the complex, he said.

No rhodium, a common metal in the group of platinum metals, has yet been found.

Eight drill rigs are exploring the area for which the venture has secured prospecting rights and applied for more. It holds a prospecting right for 200km² and has applied for another 800km².

"If this is a new lobe of the Bushveld Complex then we'll own it all," Mr Jones said.

"We are very confident of the mineralisation. It is not a nickel system," he said.

Platinum Group has diverted its entire geology team from its Western Bushveld Joint Venture mine near the Pilanesberg game reserve to the project and may add two more drill rigs and dramatically bump up the venture's $2m exploration budget.

seccombea@bdfm.co.za