HomeDiamonds & Gemstones3 Mt wall scaling at Petra Diamonds' Cullinan open pit

3 Mt wall scaling at Petra Diamonds’ Cullinan open pit

Petra Diamonds has released a statement regarding the scaling of its open pit wall at the Cullinan mine in South Africa.

Mining in the open pit at Cullinan was discontinued more than 50 years ago and all current mining operations are underground.

No one was harmed in the incident and all necessary precautions have been taken to safeguard the well-being of our employees. 

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It is not anticipated that this incident will have a material impact on production, but the company is following all appropriate measures to properly address safety of the related mining areas.

Details of the incident:

Following a thunderstorm on Saturday 26 October, a notable scaling of the sidewall of the open pit at Cullinan occurred over the weekend and on Monday 28 October.

The scaling was along geological structures with approximately 3 million tonnes of material falling into the open pit.

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The scaling resulted in a large plume of dust being generated, having some effect on the local community and entering the underground areas.

As a precautionary measure, all employees were evacuated, while an underground team of ventilation specialists and proto team members carried out an underground inspection and declared the mine safe, with the result that underground mining resumed later on the evening of Monday 28 October.

Community members were also engaged to assess the impact.

Following this incident, there has been thorough engagement with the Department of Mineral Resources, labour unions and the local community, with a number of actions agreed upon.

The operation is being disrupted for approximately one day in order to give management the opportunity to thoroughly inspect the underground workings for any anomalies and to complete a risk assessment before allowing operations to continue.

The nearest Cullinan community is on the south eastern corner of the pit and ongoing monitoring of the pit walls show no unusual movement, other than in the south west corner where ongoing scaling is evident.

As a result, we do not foresee any risk to the larger community.

Petra’s dedicated community response team is in direct contact with the community to assist with any concerns and a public meeting will be scheduled later this week to provide further information on the matter.

Petra Diamonds‘ CEO, Richard Duffy, and COO, Luctor Roode, were on site on Tuesday 29 October with the mine management team meeting with representatives of the DMR, union representatives and the community, as noted above.

“We will take whatever steps are necessary, including the engagement of external technical specialists if required, to better understand this incident and any impact on future pit stability.

“The safety of our employees and surrounding communities continues to remain our key focus. Our meetings with our partners in government, labour unions and the community earlier today were very constructive and their valued input is appreciated.”