Aquarius told to reduce bord widths

[] –MINING group Aquarius Platinum disclosed on Friday that its subsidiary Aquarius Platinum (South Africa) has received an instruction from the Principal Inspector of Mines in the North West region.

It states all mechanised bord-and-pillar mines in the North West region are to revise their mine Codes of Practice, and reduce all bord widths in their shafts from 10 metres to 6 metres.

This will apply to AQP SA’s Kroondal and Marikana operations.

The relevant extract of the instruction reads as follows: “…all mining companies in North West region employing the bord and pillar mining method are instructed in terms of Section 9(7) read with Regulation 7.4.4 still in force in terms of Schedule 4 of the Mine Health and Safety Act as amended, to immediately review the Code of Practice for the prevention of rockfalls and rockbursts in metalliferous mines, related mine standards and procedures to cater for more effective safety measures including but not limited to:

– Maximum mining bord width of not more than 6 metres;

– Extraction ratios should not exceed 75 percent;

– Supporting of prominent geological features by pillars;

– Boxing of roadways must be towards one direction;

– Orientation of leads and lags between headings must almost be aligned for the purposes of effective ventilation.

“Until such time that the aforesaid review is conducted, no headings/faces of more than six metres bord widths should be advanced for the purposes of production. All mines employing the bord and pillar mining method where bord widths exceed six metres must notify the office of the Principal Inspector of Mines on their action plans to convert to more safer and conservative mining parameters.”

Aquarius said it is assessing the impact of these instructions, which may take some time.

“AQP SA is also urgently consulting with government and the other mining companies affected by these instructions. We will inform shareholders once this assessment has been made,” the mining group stated.