Neal Froneman, Sibanye Stillwater CEO Credit: Sibanye-Stillwater

Sibanye-Stillwater has revised down its gold production guidance for its gold operations – estimating that it will be about 6% lower than forecast as a result of operational disruptions following various fatalities.

The revised production guidance for the year ending 31 December 2018 will be between 36 500 kg and 37 500 kg (1.17 Moz - 1.21 Moz), with All-in sustaining costs (AISC) revised to between R515 000/kg and R530 000/kg (US$1 227 and $1 263/oz) and capital expenditure to $230 million.

These revisions are primarily due to operational disruptions following safety related incidents at Kloof and Driefontein and the power disruption earlier in the year at Beatrix, as well as damage to footwall infrastructure providing access to the western side of the Masakhane mine, following a seismic event on 3 May 2018

In a briefing to stakeholders, investors and media yesterday, CEO Neal Froneman confirmed how concerned himself and his board is regarding the fatalities, noting it is being addressed with utmost urgency.

“I am appalled by the loss of our employees’ life but we will support the families affected and have taken active steps to prevent similar accidents from happening again.”

“To lose 21 lives in the space of five months is unparalleled in Sibanye-Stillwater’s history as well as mu 40-year career – it saddens me and traumatises me.”

Following a thorough assessment of the damage caused by the seismic event on the western side of the Masakhane mine, a decision has been taken to rehabilitate the footwall infrastructure in order to enable access to this part of the mine.

Production from the western side of the Masakhane mine is planned to commence in February 2019, building up to normal production volumes of approximately 170 kg (5 466 oz) per month by April 2019.

Access to the eastern side of the Masakhane mine was unaffected by the seismic event, and operations in that area which produces approximately 80 kg (2 570 oz) per month of gold, resumed on 11 June 2018.

The resumption of full production of approximately 250 kg (8 038 oz) per month from the Masakhane mine in April 2019, should result in annual production from the SA gold operations increasing in 2019.