Posted on: January 8, 2008 Posted by: Diane Swarts Comments: 0

South Africa. Aquarius Platinum advised that the Company’s Everest and Marikana mines in South Africa have passed the Presidential Safety Audits in respect of Mine Safety as conducted by the Department of Minerals and Energy (DME).

Everest was the first mine in South Africa to be audited under the newly instituted Presidential Audit system. The audits comprised two streams – a Legal audit and a Technical audit of certain installations and practices at mines.

These included, but were not limited to, design and maintenance with regard to the provision of healthy and safe working conditions, servicing and maintenance of all equipment and systems, communication systems, Occupational Health and Safety Policy, Safety Risk Management, mandatory codes of practice, explosives control, water management, and public Health and Safety.

In addition to successfully passing the safety audit, the Marikana mine also underwent a DME Mining Right Compliance Inspection, in terms of the ‘new order’ mining right granted by the DME.

The Kroondal mine is yet to be scheduled for the Presidential Safety Audit. In Zimbabwe, the Mimosa mine completed the quarter without a disabling injury which is commendable.

Aquarius’ CEO, Mr Stuart Murray said, “These audits require considerable preparation in terms of management time and resources and mine management are to be applauded for successfully passing each of these audits. These processes demonstrate that our mines are in good standing and that the Board’s high regard for safety and operating standards is being adhered to at operational level.

These audits occurred during a challenging quarter at all of our SA operations, where voluntary shutdowns related to Safety matters have impacted output.

Looking forward, the SA mines are in good shape to improve production levels despite the number of challenges that arose during the second quarter. At Marikana, the return to work of labour continues following the illegal industrial action, at Kroondal the ramp-up of the new K5 shaft is making good progress and the K2 concentrator is back to full capacity after being stopped for substantial unplanned maintenance work arising from the annual inspection.

Timeous repairs were undertaken to cracks discovered in the teeth of the girth-gears of both primary and secondary mills. Picking up this problem early has averted a possible major mill outage in the future, albeit at the expense of some production in the quarter.”

The combined impact of the prior announced shutdowns, illegal industrial action and mill repairs has impacted production by approximately 12,000 PGM ounces.

Posted to the web on 7 January 2008
Monday 7th January 2008