Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 23 January, 2008 – A major storm has affected operations at Anglo Platinum’s Amandelbult mine, resulting in several underground working areas being inundated by flood water. As a result, current production at the mine is running at approximately 25% of normal output.
An Anglo Platinum announcement here today says that during a severe storm on Monday this week, some 210mm of rain fell between five a.m. and noon, far exceeding the worst precipitation estimates for a ‘once in 200 year’ event. The rain resulted in unprecedented and excessive water inflow into underground operations, primarily from the extensive, worked out, open cast areas. The water inflow from the storm – in addition to inflows from several days of normal rainfall, estimated at 150 mega-litres – exceeded the installed dewatering capacity, flooding the number 1 vertical shaft bottom, including the pump station, the statement continued.
Anglo Platinum emphasised that all personnel were safely removed from the mine and additional emergency water control measures were put in place to minimise further water inflows from the surface areas.
Rain has continued to fall in the Amandelbult area, and water inflows into the mine continue, although at a reduced rate. An emergency dewatering programme is being implemented on a continuous basis to facilitate the return to normal production levels as soon as possible, according to the announcement. Until water inflows stabilise it is not possible to determine the length of time required to complete de-watering of the shaft and re-commissioning of the flooded pump station.
Current estimates, based on the water level at 14:00 yesterday, indicate that measures necessary to return to full production will take between 9 and 12 weeks.
Anglo Platinum’s current best estimate of the reduction in refined platinum production in 2008 from Amandelbult is between 50 000 and 70 000 ounces. As soon as a more accurate estimate is possible a further announcement will be made, the company said.