Northam in SA is WhyAfrica’s Pick Of The Week

Northam in SA is WhyAfrica’s Pick Of The Week

Northam in SA is WhyAfrica’s Pick Of The Week

South African platinum producer Northam continues to make headlines for all the right reasons. The company recently successfully completed an expansion project at its Zondereinde mine, close to Thabazimbi in the Limpopo province of South Africa.    

Northam, in collaboration with Master Drilling, set a new world record when they drilled down to a depth of 1382m at Zondereinde’s No 3 Shaft. Work on the No 3 shaft at Zondereinde’s brownfields capital expansion project, the Western extension, started in early 2020.

According to Paul Dunne, CEO of Northam, the long-term stability, and life of mine extension delivered by the project will have a beneficial impact on the mine, its stakeholders, and the local economy for decades to come.

Zondereinde’s Western extension is a quality resource block containing 21 million ounces of Platinum Group Metals (PGMs) within the high-grade Merensky and UG2 orebodies.

The resource was purchased in 2017 for R1-billion. The addition of the Western extension improves operational flexibility at Zondereinde and will permit annual PGM output to increase to 350 000 ounces 4E by 2026. It also extends the remaining life of the operation to more than 30 years.

Impetus for economic activity

Dunne says that mining activity from the existing workings of the Zondereinde mine will gradually transition into the Western extension block. The new shaft complex is situated some four kilometres from the original Zondereinde Mine complex, a distance which constrains service delivery and logistics.

The new shaft will transport people and materials, as well as allow the supply of services, including backfill, chilled service water and ventilation, to the underground workings. This will alleviate the challenges associated with distance from the existing Zondereinde shafts.

Zondereinde is a key contributor to social upliftment and development in the Thabazimbi area.

“The development of no. 3 shaft will secure the jobs of Zondereinde’s current employee complement of 10 700, as well as an additional 600 permanent positions. This provides the impetus for further economic activity in the province,” says Dunne.

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