JSE-listed precious metals miner Village Main Reef is the latest mining company to announce the strain it is taking as a result of last year’s recent labour unrest, safety-related stoppages and holiday season.The company has announced a 20% drop in production for the December 2012 quarter, with gold down by just over 12 000 oz to 49 111 oz from the September quarter. Antimony production dropped by 15% from the September quarter to 1 255t. It most recent acquisition, Blyvooruitzicht gold mine, delivered 9335 oz of gold for the period, 46% lower than the previous quarter. The mine suffered illegal strike action, a seismic event that affected 40% of underground production areas and a fatality due to fall-of- ground incident. A strategy to prevent this further is being implemented.
The Tau Lekoa gold mine’s production dropped 14% for the quarter to27 360ozlargely due to safety related stoppages,the slow start up post the fatal accident that occurred during the quarter and the impact of lower production volumes on the overall mining mix that resulted in lower recovered grade. Production volumes and mix have stabilised and a review of safety systems and improvement strategies are in the initial stages of implementation and should have a positive impact on the March quarter.The gold and antimony Cons Murch mine also dipped south by 27% (for gold) to deliver 2037oz. Production performance was affected by lower volumes resulting from a prolonged stoppage for infrastructure repairs at the high-volume Monarch shaft. Normal production has since been restored. The only mine that recorded an increase in production, of 10% to 10 359 oz, was Buffelsfontein, thanks to the improvement in production volumes, notwithstanding the impact of a safety related stoppage at the high-grade 2 Shaftand the fatal accident that occurred towards the end of the quarter.