Northam Platinum production update
Johannesburg, 13 October 2004. The management of Northam Platinum Limited advises that the order in terms of Section 54 of the Mine Health and Safety Act, imposed by the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) on 21 September 2004, has been set aside.
Operations at the company’s mine were suspended on Monday 20 September 2004 after an underground fire resulted in nine employees losing their lives. The order was set aside subsequent to a presentation made by management to the DME and National Union of Mineworkers dealing with risk assessments which had been done after the accident and an action plan to be followed before production resumes.
Underground activities have been resumed at the mine and will initially focus on fixing physical conditions which have deteriorated while the mine has been idle, rectifying any substandard areas identified through a risk assessment process, as well as cleaning and maintenance. Production will only be resumed in a working area once that area is made safe, as far as is reasonably practicable.
Total revenue losses at prevailing metal prices and exchange rates since the cessation of mining operations are estimated at R147 million. Material damage in the area affected by the fire is estimated at R8.5 million.
With the resumption of production, the only stoping areas that will be affected are those on the Merensky Reef below 12 level, which account for approximately 10% of total current monthly mill tonnage. Working crews from these areas will be deployed in other working areas.