Seismic events a fact of life in deep underground mining

SEISMIC events in deep underground mining were a fact of life, said Reuters citing the comments of Neal Froneman, CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater. Froneman was speaking in a presentation to investors on June 7.

At Sibanye’s Driefontein and Kloof operations west of Johannesburg, from 2013 to the middle of May 2018, there were an average of 649 seismic events per year measuring between 1 and 2 magnitude on the Richter scale, said Reuters quoting Froneman. In 2018 alone there have been 234 to that date.

Over the same period there were an average of 84 seismic events per year that were stronger than 2 magnitude. Seismic events at the operations killed one miner in 2015, one in 2017, and now eight in 2018 in the two recent quakes.

“Seismicity is a feature of mining in the region and deep-level mining layouts and support systems have been designed specifically to cope withy seismicity,” said Froneman. “You cannot predict seismic events … That kind of technology does not exist,” he said.

An earthquake measuring 2.2 on the Richter Scale killed seven miners in May at Sibanye-Stillwater’s Driefontein mine. Another miner was killed at the mine last week.