RUSTENBURG (miningweekly.com) – Chinese-owned Wesizwe Platinum initiated the first blast at its flagship Bakubung platinum mine, in the North West province, on Friday.
The new mine, formerly known as the Frischgewaagd-Ledig mine, embarked on a 62-month R1.64-billion shaft-sinking process.
The twin vertical shaft system, which would be developed by Aveng Grinaker LTA, would comprise a 8.5-m-diameter main shaft reaching a depth of 1 000 m, and a 7.5 m ventilation shaft at a depth of 930 m.
The main shaft was expected to have a 230 000 t hoisting capacity.
The group initially expected to mine the Merensky reef at a rate of 180 000 t/m.
Wesizwe aimed to deliver first production during the second quarter of 2018 and ramp up to full production of 350 000 oz a year by 2023.
Concentrate from the underground mine would be sold in offtake agreements with local smelters.