Sibanye-Stillwater suspends PGM shaft after conveyor damaged

SIBANYE-Stillwater on Wednesday suspended its Siphumelele shaft following an accident…

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SIBANYE-Stillwater on Wednesday suspended its Siphumelele shaft following an accident in which a conveyor belt was damaged at the platinum group metals operation. There were no injuries.

Siphumelele comprises 3.5% of Sibanye-Stillwater’s annual PGM production, the group said in an announcement to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

An ore collector bin attached to the shaft headgear “sheared off” and fell to the ground damaging a surface ore conveyor belt system, the company said.

An investigation into the cause of the accident was underway as well as an assessment of the hit to production. Stakeholders, including the South African government’s department of mineral resources and energy as well as representative unions had been informed about the incident.

Siphumelele, which has also been vulnerable to seismicity, was forecast to produce 54,000 ounces of PGMs this year, equal to monthly output of 4,500 oz.

Sibanye-Stillwater forecast PGM production from South Africa of this year of between 1.8 to 1.9 million oz at an all in sustaining cost of R21,800 to R22,500 per 4E oz produced.

The group’s PGM division is under strain following last year’s decline in average prices, especially for rhodium and palladium. It responded by cutting production about 50,000 oz including at Siphumelele which was “repositioned”.

All in all 852 employees and contractors were retrenched consisting of 47 full time employees and 805 contractors. A further 1,281 employees granted voluntary separation or early retirement packages.

In August, the group said its Kloof No 4 shaft in its gold operations was partially damaged following “an incident”. The was sustained to steelwork during a safety trial run of the conveyance system ahead of hoisting employees up the shaft.

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