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Sibanye suspends security-affected South African mines, adjusts guidelines

By on December 15, 2021 0


Sibanye-Stillwater, a JSE and NYSE-listed precious metals and battery miner, has revised its operational guidance for this year, primarily due to various security-related interventions and measures that have been implemented to strengthen the main priority of the group, safety.

A group-wide security response was launched between October 28 and November 2, during which all operations across the group were suspended to focus on security and allow for full and comprehensive audits of all areas of operation.

Sibanye-Stillwater said this reaffirms his core tenet that safety puts safety “well before production.”

However, as a result of this group security intervention, Sibaye’s South African operations experienced three separate fatal security incidents between November 29 and December 3, resulting in the deaths of five of its employees.

On November 30, the winch operator Stephane Nyoni (45) was fatally injured in a blasting incident at the Beatrix 3 well, while, on December 3, the supervisor of the Rustenburg shaft extraction team Khuseleka Raimundo mondlane (56) suffered fatal injuries in a fall from the ground while barring the flank of a development end.

Again on December 3 at Beatrix 3 well, a trackless mobile machinery incident at the bottom of the well resulted in the deaths of three miners – rock drilling operator Alfred Ngalo (42), gas station attendant Mabohlokoa Tsoafo (40) and basement fitter Frank swart (51).

All of these incidents are being investigated in collaboration with inspectors from the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) and in cooperation with other stakeholders.

“We remain committed to the regulatory processes,” the miner said in a statement.

After careful consideration of accident and injury trends, Sibanye has elected to suspend operations at the Kloof 1 and Beatrix 3 wells, as well as the Rustenburg Khuseleka well until further notice. According to the miner, this will remedy the regression in security in those particular business units.

Additionally, the recent spike in Cocid-19 infections has impacted the availability of supervisors and senior managers at the Rustenburg Thembelani well in Sibanye – where the miner has also suspended production in the interests of employee safety.

Sibanye’s safety interventions on October 28 and November 2, and the suspension of the Kloof 1 and Beatrix 3 wells for the remainder of the year, resulted in an estimated 19,000 ounce reduction in planned gold production.

As such, the miner reports that its gold production (excluding DRDGold) for this year will be near the lower end of forecast – between 884,000 oz and 948,000 oz, while its all-in sustaining costs are expected. at the higher end of the tip range between $ 1,690 / oz and $ 1,742 / oz.

Capital spending for this year is forecast at 3.9 billion rand ($ 260 million).

The group’s security intervention and the suspension of operations at the Khuseleka and Thembelani mines for the remainder of the year are expected to reduce platinum group metal (PGM) production and production by about 17,000 ounces of platinum. gold production (4E) from South African PGM operations at Sibanye. , palladium, rhodium and gold (4E).

Despite this, due to the strong operational performance of its PGM operations in South Africa, Sibanye maintains its production targets for this year between 1.75 million and 1.85 million ounces of 4E at an all-inclusive sustaining cost. between $ 1,230 / oz and $ 1,295 / oz.

The capital expenditure for its PGM operations in South Africa is estimated at 3.85 billion rand ($ 257 million).

At the same time, in addition to the group’s security intervention at the end of October, which was also undertaken in the PGM operations in the United States of Sibanye, the production of platinum and palladium (2E) from these operations was again affected in the second half of the year by the finalization of other safety improvements related to the fatal June incident.

In addition, the temporary suspension of ore transport from the Stillwater East operation to allow for the replacement of the bridge that crosses the Stillwater River to the concentrator will have an additional impact on production for the year.

A beam failure on the bridge, detected in November, initially resulted in reduced payloads crossing the bridge as a precautionary measure and ultimately informed a decision to rebuild the bridge in the interest of safety.

Repairs are expected to be completed by the end of December, with the ore stockpiled from Stillwater East to be processed in the first quarter of 2022.

As a result of these factors, production forecast for the full year of PGM operations in the United States this year has been revised between 570,000 oz and 580,000 oz of 2E, with revised all-in sustaining cost forecast between $ 1,000 / oz and $ 1,025 / oz due to lower forecast production.

The capital expenditure forecast for Sibanye’s U.S. PGM operations is between $ 285 million and $ 295 million, of which 55 to 60 percent is growth capital.

The estimated recycling of GMPs for the year is unchanged between 790,000 oz and 810,000 oz.