Since the announcement of a 21-day lockdown in South Africa, Anglo American Platinum (Amplats) has been in the process of ramping down its underground mining operations.
Mines impacted by this ramp down are Amandelbult, the Modikwa and the Kroondal, as well as the Mortimer smelter and Waterval smelter – which receives concentrate from those operations. By ramping down these operations, Amplats will be able to place them safely into care and maintenance for the period of the lockdown.
The platinum producer has also assessed the ability to continue some operations on a reduced basis. Subject to further planning, mining operations at the open-pit Mogalakwena mine, and at the mechanised Mototolo mine may continue on a reduced basis. The Polokwane smelter will also operate to smelt this material into furnace matte. Following a thorough risk assessment to determine the safety of employees and contractors on site, additional safety, health and hygiene provisions have been put in place to protect the wellness of employees that will continue to work during the temporary shut-down period.
Critical care and maintenance work will continue at all operations and will include the ongoing repair of the Anglo Converter Plant (ACP) Phase B unit, to ensure the integrity of the assets, and prepare for a safe operational ramp-up. All required parts and equipment for the Phase B repair are on site and the estimated time for repair work remains 80 days, ending around 25 May 2020.
Several specified essential services will also continue, including security; mine maintenance; tailings facility safety management; water treatment; community water supply; accommodation provision; health, safety and emergency response; and critical head office services.
The lockdown will inevitably have an impact on Amplats employees and as a result, the company has reached agreement to pay all employees basic salaries, housing allowance and continue with company contributions to medical and pension funds throughout the 21-day lockdown period. In addition, the company will continue to provide services to local communities of the operations. Some of the services include the supply of potable water, healthcare, emergency response assistance and maintenance of civil infrastructure throughout the lockdown period.