Aquarius Platinum Resumes Production at Everest

Aquarius Platinum has restarted operations at its Everest mine in South Africa. The mine was closed in late 2008
due to underground subsidence problems. (Photo courtesy of Aquarius Platinum).
Aquarius Platinum began shipping concen- trate from its Everest mine on the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa following restart of operations in mid-May 2010. Everest was shut down in December 2008 after a subsidence inci- dence blocked decline access to under- ground mining operations.

Everest production is expected to total 120,000 PGM oz (platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold) during Aquarius' fiscal 2011, ending June 30, 2011; 180,000 oz in fiscal 2012; and 200,000 oz/y after reaching steady-state production beyond that. Capital costs for the restart are esti- mated at R259 million. Impala Refining Services processes Everest concentrate under an off-take agreement with Aquarius.

The Everest orebody is a well-defined, elongated basin-like structure of UG2 Reef lying beneath a hill and extending from surface to a depth of around 250 m at the deepest point. The subsidence that led to the suspension of operations was limited to a portion of the access decline. Stoping and development areas were not affected and have been re-accessed by establishing two new access declines, one north and one south of the original decline. The north decline is a three-shaft system for men, trackless equipment, and a conveyor belt. The south system is a single shaft with a steel prefabricated tunnel for ventilation and men and material access.

Everest has total attributable mineral reserves of 1.99 million PGM oz and total attributable mineral resources of 3.73 mil- lion PGM oz after application of geological losses.

As featured in Womp 2010 Vol 06 -