ROYAL Bafokeng Platinum (RBPlat) has delayed the start of its new Styldrift mine because of difficulties at its services shaft, which is used for underground development, and poor ground conditions.
In a quarterly production update, RBPlat said it had increased production of platinum group metals by 23% year-on-year in the September quarter to 80 400oz.
The Styldrift project is 78 days behind schedule and RBPlat warned its main shaft, which was being equipped for hoisting activities, would be commissioned in the second quarter of next year instead of in the first quarter. RBPlat said there were hoisting constraints at the services shaft and poor ground conditions in some areas of its main shaft.
The start of ramping up production would start in the first quarter of 2016 and not in the third quarter of next year.
“As a result of the later commissioning of the main shaft and (the) start of production ramp-up, steady state will now be achieved in the first quarter of 2019,” RBPlat said, adding it would offset the delayed production by increasing output at the South Shaft at its BRPM mine during 2018.
The cost of the Styldrift project remained unchanged at R11 billion despite the delays, with additional costs “absorbing” savings and contingencies RBPlat had made for the project, it said.
The project is 48,2% complete, which is 3,6% behind the current plan of 51,8%.
RBPlat’s second project, the extension of a decline at its north shaft at BRPM, was ahead of schedule and below budget, the company said.