Impala’s Rustenburg operations back on track

Impala Platinum said on Monday that the world’s largest platinum mine had restarted as planned.

The company’s Rustenburg mine has been hit by a crippling illegal strike which cost the company 120 000 ounces in lost platinum group metals production.

“Everything happened as we had hoped,” said Implats executive Johan Theron, of the return to work. “Our focus now is to stabilise and normalise production,” he added.

Implats full year production target for Rustenburg of 915 000 to 920 000 ounces will be revised downward following the industrial action, but the company said it was committed to trying to make up at least some of the lost ounces.

The company has reinstated about 14 950 of the 17 200 people it dismissed for participating in the stay away.

“We think the bulk of the people have headed back,” said Theron, who is in charge of industrial relations.

David Msiza, the chief inspector of mines for South Africa who is spearheading a safety drive, said the reboot would be monitored closely to ensure it was done in a safe manner.

“They have been away six weeks and we will expect them to do certain things as they start up,” he said in a phone interview. He said this would include rehashing their safety drills and ensuring that underground support systems were still adequate. — Reuters

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