Johannesburg, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 17 September 2008 – Emerging South African resources company Simmer and Jack Mines Limited (Simmers) says its Buffelsfontein Gold Mine (BGM) has reached a significant milestone by commencing hoisting operations at its high-grade Number Five shaft.
“This is a significant step in terms of getting the Number Five shaft to the point where it can begin making a meaningful contribution to BGM`s production profile,” said chief operating officer Deon van der Mescht.
“Until now, production at Five shaft has been constrained by cage hoisting,” he explained, “but with the commissioning of the new hoisting facility at the Number Five main shaft, this problem has been resolved. The immediate impact will be to increase the shaft`s production for the current month 50% above the previous month. In the longer term, it gives us the capacity to take advantage of the expected 20% month on month increase in face length coming out of Five shaft over the next four months,” Van der Mescht added.
Number Five shaft is undergoing a three-phase rehabilitation programme which has thus far added 1.6 million reserve ounces to BGM`s reserve base at a capital cost of US$13/oz. It is one of six operational shafts at BGM and is destined to play a significant role in the mine`s profitability by the end of the current financial year in March 2009. Currently, the bulk of the mine`s production comes from the Number Six, Seven and Eight shafts.
"The exciting thing about Five Shaft is that it contains large blocks of virgin ore which are of a better grade and easier to mine than the remnant mining that has occupied us to date,” he said.
“Phase One was completed at the end of the first quarter this year. The new hoisting facility is part of Phase Two and makes it significantly easier and more efficient to get ore to the surface.
But by March next year we hope to have completed the third phase of the project, which involves installing a refrigeration plant on 72 Level to facilitate access to the lower blocks and the high grade haulage pillar on 77 level,” Van der Mescht revealed.
Five Shaft is expected to contribute 20% (or 1.2 million ounces) of BGM`s production over the life of mine. With an average delivered grade of 8 g/t compared to the mine`s average delivered grade of 5.4 g/t, it is also expected to boost volumes and gold output at the mine.
The shaft – which suffered extensive damage in March 2005 at the hands of a severe seismic event – is expected to be fully operational at the end of March 2009.