South Africa. DRDGOLD Limited has announced that the ERPM mine neer Boksburg on South Africa’s East Rand will discontinue pumping of underground water at the mine’s South West Vertical Shaft.
ERPM’s South West Vertical Shaft has been used for some time to manage the rising water level on the Central Witwatersrand Basin. Some 60 megalitres of water are pumped daily from a depth of approximately 1 000 metres.
The decision to cease pumping follows the death of two employees underground at the South West Vertical Shaft on Friday, 19 September 2008. Post mortems suggest that the two men, who had been conducting routine water level measurements, died of asphyxiation . South West Vertical Shaft has been used only for water pumping purposes for several years.
The Department of Minerals and Energy issued a Section 54 notice in terms of the Mine Health and Safety Act , subjecting access into the area to certain restrictions and conditions relating to ventilation.
"Exhaustive monitoring has revealed high volatilies in gas emissions in this working area, complicating measures to counteract the displacement of oxygen and to provide an adequately ventilated workplace," said DRDGOLD SA Managing Director Niël Pretorius
"For Safety reasons we can no longer deploy personnel underground at South West Vertical Shaft to conduct essential routine monitoring of water levels and maintenance of pumps, and consequently, we have to discontinue pumping of water from that location."
Over the next two weeks, ERPM will examine how the cessation of pumping will affect the rest of its operations.
Source: DRD Gold Limited
Posed: 6 October 2008