Managed mines overview




Pieter Louw

The mining operations of Anglo American Platinum Limited (Amplats) consist of managed mines, joint-venture mines and associate mines across South Africa and in Zimbabwe. These mines extract ore from the Merensky and UG2 reefs, the Platreef and the Main Sulphide Zone. The ore is processed by own-managed, joint-venture and associate concentrators; and further processed by our own smelters and refineries.


Amplats-managed mines consist of 11 mines and one project stretching from the Western Limb to the Eastern Limb of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa, and also Unki Platinum Mine, located 21 kilometres
south-east of the town of Shurugwi on Zimbabwe’s Great Dyke. With the exception of Mogalakwena Mine, which is an open-pit venture, all the mines are underground operations.

Several of our operations attained significant safety milestones during 2012, as follows:

  • There were 2 million fatality-free shifts at Tumela Mine.
  • Dishaba Mine reached 2.6 million fatality-free shifts.
  • Siphumelele Mine achieved 1.9 million fatality-free shifts and 2.9 million shifts without fall-of-ground fatalities.
  • Thembelani Mine achieved 1.6 million fatality-free shifts and five years of shifts without fall-of-ground fatalities.
  • Khomanani Mine reached 1 million fatality-free shifts.
  • Our managed operations as a whole were free of fatalities in the third quarter of 2012.

The lost-time injury-frequency rate (LTIFR) per 200,000 hours worked improved to 1.33 from 1.50 in 2011, with the Bathopele, Dishaba, Khomanani, Siphumelele, Tumela, Union North and Union South mines and Unki Platinum Mine recording improvements in their respective LTIFR rates in 2012.

Sadly and despite the achievements mentioned, six employees lost their lives at our managed mining operations and one at process during 2012.

Production at managed mining operations was impacted by a series of work stoppages, particularly in the second half of the year. Besides an illegal miners’ strike in July 2012, there was also an unprotected and illegal strike by workers at all our South African underground mines, which started on 18 September and ended on 15 November. As a result, the equivalent refined platinum ounces produced decreased by 9.0% or 149,000 ounces to 1,458,000 ounces in 2012. The number of platinum ounces lost owing to the illegal strikes added up to 278,000. Of these, 200,000 related directly to the strike periods; while the rest were lost in the build-up to normal production levels following the main illegal strike.

Unki Mine in Zimbabwe continued to perform above expectation in 2012 and increased its output by 20%, to 62,100 platinum ounces. At 300,200 ounces, platinum production at Mogalakwena Mine was 2% down on the production figure for 2011. This was caused by lower milled volumes of some 3% that were exacerbated by a lower 4E head grade down to 2.81 g/t but were partly offset by improved recoveries which increased by 5%.

The overall 4E built-up head grade for underground mines was 4.05 g/t compared with 4.15 g/t in 2011, while the grade of ore from surface sources increased by 16% to 1.07 g/t.

A continued strong development performance in 2012 is evident in the immediately available Ore Reserves position, which ended the year at 22.2 months, up by 4% when compared with the position in 2011.

Productivity measured in m² per employee per month decreased by 10% to 5.3, on the back of the lower volumes produced as a result of the strike.

Cash on-mine costs (mining and concentrating) increased by 10.5% to R20.3 billion between 2011 and 2012, which is above the inflation index of 5.7% of the Mining and Quarrying PPI Index. The well-above-inflation increases on wages (9%), electricity (16%), explosives (9%), support material (7%) and diesel (19%) adversely affected the ability of operations to contain costs in absolute terms. In 2012, cash on-mine costs per tonne milled rose by 19.4%, to R692. Cash operating expenses (i.e. costs after allowing for off-mine, concentrating, smelting and refining activities) per refined platinum ounce increased by 22.5% to R16,547 as a consequence of the volumes lost through strike action and inflationary adjustments.

Capital expenditure for managed mines and their respective concentrator operations during 2012 was R3.8 billion (down 9% from R4.2 billion in 2011), spent as follows: R1.51 billion on projects (2011: R1.57 billion); R399 million (2011: R563 million) on waste stripping at the Mogalakwena opencast mine; and R1.87 billion on stay-in-business projects (2011: R2.03 billion).

Various capital projects are currently in execution at our mines. Details of these and of the impact of our recently announced portfolio review are covered in the individual mine reviews.


Equivalent refined production from managed mines is expected to remain unchanged in 2013

Daily preshift briefing underground at Unki Mine

Daily preshift briefing underground at Unki Mine

Khomanani 1 Shaft

Khomanani 1 Shaft


Twickenham Platinum Mine (Managed – 100% owned)

The Twickenham project is central to unlocking value for the Company in the Eastern Limb of the Bushveld Complex.


Twickenham’s safety performance improved in 2012. There was a 79% reduction in the lost-time injury-frequency rate, from 0.76 in 2011 to 0.53 in 2012. The project achieved 2 million fatality-free shifts in July 2012. A total of 2.2 fatality-free shifts were worked in 2012, and the project has now been fatality-free for five years.

Going forward

The current macroeconomic environment has resulted in Amplats having to review its capital expenditure over the next three-year period. As a result, Twickenham Mine will defer its current ramp-up schedule and enter into a period whereby it is required to stay-in-business as an operating mine without the support of significant capital funding for the next three years.

The revised operating strategy has been modelled on a singular mine development schedule and production profile, which includes both Hackney and Twickenham shafts. The mining scope will prioritise haulage (flat) development on levels 1, 2 and 3 in order to establish raise line development to support sustainable production over the three-year period. Development to support the mining scope will be confined to critical “fit for purpose” infrastructure. During this period, Twickenham’s development ore will be toll-treated by neighbouring mines.

The mining steady-state of 3 million tonnes per annum will be deferred to 2023.

Additional study work to improve the mine’s business case will be carried out during 2013, and a consolidated restated investment proposal will be prepared for review and board approval by the fourth quarter of 2013.

Capital expenditure

The current approved capital for the consolidated project IP is R7.96 billion, while actual capital spend to date is R2.65 billion, with capital expenditure for 2013 estimated at R300 million.

Der Brochen
(Managed – 100% owned)

Der Brochen is a greenfield project area in the extreme south of the Eastern Limb of the Bushveld Complex. Exploration work has been in progress since 2001. In 2009, an additional 1.3 km of strike was sold to Mvelaphanda Resources as part of the Booysendal transaction.

An amendment to the mining works programme (MWP), together with a social and labour plan, was submitted to the Department of Mineral Resources in 2010 taking the reduced footprint into account. A new-order mining-right conversion was executed in October 2010. Conceptual study work aligned to the MWP commitments commenced in 2010.

Following a seismic survey in 2010, a concept study was completed in 2011. Consideration is being given to a number of exploitation options ranging from stand-alone phased, decline shaft access to possible joint-venture options.

Der Brochen

Der Brochen

Twickenham Mine

Twickenham Mine