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).

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