Wesizwe’s Bakubung Platinum Mine will switch to partially mechanised mining, reducing the number of employees at steady state by 235 to 3 135.
This is one of the main outcomes of the optimisation study approved by the Wesizwe board on 12 March.
Increasing cost pressures in the platinum sector, combined with a changing social climate and working conditions, prompted the study, COO Paul Smith said at an investors and media briefing.
Some of the revised design features include:
- The shortening of shafts, accommodated by the removal of underground crushing and bringing level development onto reef horizons (on reef development), resulting in a substantial reduction in off-reef development (a reduction of around 402 000 cubic metres of off-reef development);
- The substantial use of conveyor belts (ore transport) and chair lifts (people transport);
- The inclusion of a third (6m)raise-bore shaft to further assist in ventilation and logistics (men and material);
- The increase in hoisting capacity, to support the increased production rates;
- The removal of underground infrastructure to surface (including primary crushing); and
- The revision of the shaft pillar strategy (to be mined at end of mine life).