SIBANYE-Stillwater has closed two shafts on its gold mines and another two shafts on its South African platinum mines “until further notice” in response to a string of recent fatal accidents despite a group-wide safety intervention programme held between October 28 and November.
All group operations were suspended during this period to focus on safety and allow comprehensive audits of all the operating areas. Despite this five workers have died in fatal incidents between November 30 and December 3
As a result of the shaft closures the group’s gold production for 2021 is expected to be 600kg (19,000oz) lower bringing forecast gold production – excluding DRDGold – for the year down to the lower end of prior guidance of between 27,500kg (884,000oz) and 29,500kg (948,000oz).
On the platinum side the closures are expected to drop platinum group metal (pgm) production by about 17,000oz but overall total production guidance for the year is being maintained at between 1,75m oz and 1.85m oz because of the “solid operational performance from the South African pgm operations.”
The gold mine shafts being closed are Kloof 1 and Beatrix 3 while the platinum shafts being closed are Rustenburg Khuseleka and Rustenburg Thembelani.
While no workers were killed at the Thembelani shaft the Sibanye-Stillwater statement said the recent increase in COVID-19 infections had “impacted supervisor and senior management availability” at the shaft so production had been suspended “in the interests of the safety of employees.”