Implats announces closure of Bimha mine

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According to the platinum group metals (PGM) producer, the collapse was triggered by the accelerated deterioration of ground conditions associated with a major fault – the Mutambara Shear – which transgresses through the mining area.

(READ MORE: Zimplats’ mine collapse cuts platinum output by 50%)

“Further to the announcement by Zimplats regarding Bimha mine, Implats wishes to inform shareholders and other stakeholders that a decision has now been made to cease all mining activity at the mine, with immediate effect, to ensure the safety of our employees,” it said.

“Over recent weeks, ground conditions have continued to deteriorate and as a consequence, it has been decided to withdraw employees in high-risk areas and to implement orderly closure procedures across the rest of the mine.”

Zimplats, which operates four shallow mechanised underground mines and a concentrator at Ngezi, reportedly produced 240,000 platinum ounces in the 2014 financial year.

[DATA IMP:Implats] stated that a team of company and independent advisors has been appointed to conduct investigations regarding current mine stability concerns and that further announcements would be made as soon as there is clarity on the outlook for the mine.

(READ MORE: Implats’ HEPS set to fall by 70%)

“At this stage, there is a possible production impact of up to 70,000 platinum ounces in the 2015 financial year at the Zimplats’ operation as a consequence of closing the Bimha mine,” the company said.

“Production from the other three mines is not expected to be affected and the ramp-up of Mupfuti mine continues as planned. In addition, two mining fleets from the Bimha mine have already been deployed to the other Zimplats mines to mitigate production losses.”