Aquarius’ Everest production stopped after contractor leaves (Source: Mining Weekly)

By: Mariaan Olivier
Published: 25 Jan 08 - 11:35
Precious metals miner Aquarius Platinum has stopped underground operations at its Everest mine after mining contractor Shaft Sinkers Mining (SSM) abandoned the contract, it said on Friday.

The company cited “industrial relations” and “financial issues” as reasons for this move.

“With immediate effect, Aquarius Platinum South Africa (AQPSA) has assumed management of the Everest mine’s underground operations and the management are implementing contingency plans to resume production at the mine on January 28,” it stated.

As a result of the dismissal and shut down of operations, production losses were to date estimated to be 12 000 platinum group metal (PGM) ounces, and until operations were back to normal it would not be possible to quantify the total lost production at AQPSA.

Shaft Sinkers had entered into a transaction to sell its contracting subsidiary, SMM, to JIC Mining Services in August.

AQPSA explained that SMM workforce had raised ”significant concerns” over the deal, when they returned from the traditional Christmas and New Year break, which had led to a series of go-slows and unprotected strike action. The mine’s output declined to a level of around 50% of the pre-Christmas output, it stated.

AQPSA said that SMM had dismissed significant numbers of employees last Friday, which brought the production to a stand still at the mine.

The company notified AQPSA on Thursday that it was abandoning the contract, completely halting production on the mine.

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