Zimplats’ total platinum production could be 70 000 oz less than anticipated in 2015 due to the closure of its Bimha mine over safety concerns.

After the underground collapse at a section of the Bimha mine last month, Impala Platinum has taken the decision to cease all mining activity at the mine, with immediate effect, to ensure the safety of employees.

In July 2014, a collapse within a section of the underground working area of the Bimha mine was triggered by the accelerated deterioration of ground conditions associated with a major fault, the Mutambara Shear, which transgresses through the mining area.

Over recent weeks, ground conditions have continued to deteriorate and as a consequence, it has been decided to withdraw employees in high-risk areas with immediate effect and to implement orderly closure procedures across the rest of the mine, Impala Platinum said in a statement.

A team of company and independent advisors has been appointed to conduct detailed investigations to re-engineer and/or arrest the current mine stability concerns.

At this stage, there is a possible production impact of up to 70 000 platinum ounces in the 2015 financial year at the Zimplats’ operation as a consequence of closing the Bimha mine. Production from the other three mines is not expected to be affected and the ramp-up of Mupfuti mine continues as planned.

In addition two mining fleets from the Bimha mine have already been deployed to the other Zimplats mines to mitigate production losses. Zimplats produced 240 000 platinum ounces in the 2014 financial year.

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