Smokey Hills progress pleases Platinum Australia

[] — PLATINUM Australia (PLA) said on Monday it has made significant progress at Smokey Hills mine since it switched from contract mining to an owner operator in January.

The company took over operations at Smokey Hills on January 16. As part of the move, PLA had to offer employment to all the employees of the contractor, JIC, who wished to continue working at the mine.

“The process of transferring the ex-employees of the contractor was largely completed between February and mid-March,’ said PTA in a statement.

“A total of 852 employees elected to transfer, including almost 100 senior, supervisory and management personnel,’ the company said in a statement.

“Over the last month there have been some 30 terminations, including 8 at the senior, supervisory and management level. A total of 9 new employees have been recruited, all at the supervisory management level.’

Since the changeover, the mine recorded significant improvements in almost all areas of production, the group said, achieving average stoping of 290 metres per day in the second half of March, compared to 185m during the first half of January.
Similarly, average tonnes broken per day increased from 1,226 tonnes to 2,040 tonnes.

“The current levels of production are being achieved with less labour,’ said the company.

“One of the main areas which has proved challenging has been in tramming ore from underground to the plant due to poor equipment availability resulting from inadequate maintenance by the contractor during previous months.

“A program of work to correct this was initiated in January and a significant improvement is already evident with average tonnes trammed per day over the last two weeks up over 60% from that achieved by the contractor in the first half of January.

“Underground production over the last week has exceeded production ramp-up budget level (80% of full production) and the company expects production performance to continue to improve over the next quarter as the systems and procedures covering key areas such as training, management, personnel, planning and maintenance which have been introduced as part of the transition to owner operator become fully established.’