South AfricaSibanye Gold has for the quarter ended March 31, 2015 achieved its first fatality free quarter, despite several operational disruptions experienced by the gold miner during January and February.

This compares with two fatalities recorded during the same quarter last year. Sibanye was able to achieve this significant result despite the challenges of an underground fire at its Kloof 7 Shaft, failure of a conveyor system at its Kloof 8 Shaft, production disruption resulting from inter-union conflict at it Beatrix mine, a series of plant incidents that disrupted processing operations and electrical load curtailment as required by Eskom as well as the re-stocking of the production pipeline.

Zero fatalities

Sibanye’s Cooke Operation, 30km west of Johannesburg in the West Wits Basin, in particular has benefited from the implementation of Sibanye’s safety protocols and procedures, reporting its first fatality free quarter.

The Driefontein and Kloof operations, west of Johannesburg, have also both now recorded three consecutive fatal free quarters – also a first ever for these operations on a combined basis.

Sibanye said in a statement that it is committed to its zero harm target, which will remain a priority and a key focus area going forward.

Operational performance

The slower than normal start-up of operations after the December holiday period combined with the operational disruptions negatively impacted Sibanye’s gold production for the March 2015 quarter. Gold production was 5% lower, at 315 300 oz, than for the comparable period in 2014.

As a result of the lower production during the quarter, group total cash cost and all-in cost for the quarter compared with the March 2014 quarter increased to R384 839/kg and to R473 573/kg respectively.

Gold production forecast

The annual production forecast for the year ending 31 December 2015 remains unchanged unchanged at between 1.61 Moz and 1.67 Moz. Total cash cost is forecast at between R305 000/kg and R315 000/kg, while all-in sustaining cost is forecast to be between R380 000/kg and R395 000/kg, and all-in cost forecast to be between R385 000/kg and R400 000/kg.

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