Zimplats has warned of a possible 70 000 ounces drop in FY15 (2015 financial year) production after the mining group ceased all mining activities at its Bimha Mine on Wednesday amid safety concerns.
The company announced Wednesday it had with immediate effect shut down the mine to safeguard the lives of personnel and equipment.
“Further to the announcement by Zimplats on 18 July 2014 regarding the underground collapse at a section of the Bimha Mine, Zimplats wishes to inform shareholders and other stakeholders that a decision has now been made to cease all mining operations at the Bimha Mine with immediate effect in order to safeguard the safety of underground personnel and equipment,” the company said in a statement.
“In July 2014, a collapse within a section of the underground working area of the Bimha Mine was triggered by the accelerated deterioration of ground conditions associated with a major fault, the Mutambara Shear, which transgresses through the mining area.”
The company said ground conditions had continued to deteriorate in the last few weeks, forcing management to withdraw employees in high-risk areas with immediate effect and to implement orderly closure procedures across the rest of the mine.
Zimplats said a team of company and independent advisors has been appointed to conduct detailed investigations to re-engineer and arrest the current mine stability concerns at the Bimha Mine.
The company added it would make announcement as soon as there is clarity on the outlook for the mine.
“At this stage, there is a possibility that the company’s overall production could be adversely affected by up to 70 000 platinum ounces as a result of closing the Bimha Mine,” said Zimpats.
“Production from the other three mines is not expected to be affected and the ramp-up of Mupfuti Mine continues as planned.”
The platinum mine said two mining fleets from the Bimha Mine have already been deployed to the other mines to mitigate production losses.
Zimplats produced 240 000 platinum ounces in the 2014 financial year.