JSE-listed platinum development company Wesizwe Platinum reached a critical milestone in the development of its flagship Bakubung platinum mine (BPM) when it intercepted the UG2 platinum reef in March.
It is full steam ahead for the project as it pushes forward to complete construction and reach steady-state production two years faster than originally anticipated. Chantelle Kotze writes.
Wesizwe Platinum corporate aff airs and investor relations executive Hamlet Morule says the key strategic focus, as outlined by the Wesizwe board, is the acceleration of the development of BPM. “We are focused on delivering BPM on time and within the cost anticipated,” he states.
The BPM development project entails the sinking of twin independent vertical shafts, currently both at a sinking depth of around 770 m, as well as a shorter third shaft, which is being undertaken by multidisciplinary construction and engineering group Aveng Grinaker (currently in the process of merging with its opencast mining sister company, Aveng Moolmans). Once completed, BPM will comprise an 8.5 m diameter Main shaft, reaching a depth of 940 m, and a 7.5 m Ventilation shaft, reaching a depth of 880 m.
The main shaft, which will have a hoisting capacity of 250 000 tpm of ore and 15 000 tpm of waste, will be equipped for workers and materials. Springs-based steelwork fabricator and erector Louwill Engineering undertook the construction of the 82 m-high steel headgear for Wesizwe’s Main shaft in 2013.
The second shaft, which will be used for ventilation, will not be equipped, while the third shaft will be for support functions, added ventilation and for use as an escape route. Speaking at a media visit to BPM at the end of March, mine general manager Eddie Mohlabi said the ventilation shaft-sinking process is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2015, and the main shaft by the fi rst quarter of 2016,