1 minute read
20 Aug 2014
9:10 am

Zimplats Bimha mine closed

The Bimha mine in Zimbabwe, operated by Impala Platinum (Implats) subsidiary Zimplats, has been closed, Implats announced on Wednesday.

FILE PICTURE: Miners. Picture: Michel Bega

“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,” spokeswoman Alice Lourens said in a statement.

This followed an announcement made by Zimplats on July 18 regarding an underground collapse at the mine.

On July 18, Zimplats said in a statement the collapse at the mine, 150km south-east of Harare, had affected nearly 50 percent of the mine’s mining footprint.

Bimha was the largest of Zimplats’s four mines.

“As a result of the proactive response from the management team and the timely evacuation of all personnel no injuries or damage of mobile equipment were reported,” Zimplats said at the time.

“The collapse was triggered by the accelerated deterioration of ground conditions associated with a major shear, the Mutambara Shear, that transgresses through half of the mining area.”

The fault was first identified in 2011 but had become more problematic over the past year, both along the declines and within the stoping footprint of the mine.

While efforts had been made to address the regional ground stability and employee safety, significant and accelerated ground deterioration was observed from May this year.

Zimplats said at the time preliminary estimates indicated it would take 15 months to reach full production of eight fleets and 50 months to reconnect the declines.