UNDERGROUND MINING

Worley wins engineering contract at SPM

The project will extend the mine’s life by 30 years from 2030 to 2060 and transition operations from open pit to underground

 SPM’s Pilanesberg Platinum Mines' site in South Africa

SPM’s Pilanesberg Platinum Mines' site in South Africa

Australia-based engineering company Worley has been awarded a contract to provide engineering, procurement, and construction management services to Sedibelo Platinum Mines (SPM) at its Pilanesberg Platinum site in South Africa.

The project will extend the mine's life by 30 years from 2030 to 2060 and transition operations from open pit to underground; the first ore is expected from the underground operation by 2025.

In 2019, the company completed the preliminary engineering design work for the project's feasibility study. In the new contract, Worley will provide detailed engineering, design and construction management for the full scope of the project.

This includes the development of a box cut, which allows access to a triple decline that will extract 160 ktpm of ore from the underground operation. 

The company will also create a series of raised bored ventilation holes and set up production sections, ore and ventilation pass, underground engineering setup, conveyors, workshops, and surface infrastructure.

Gladwin Mfolo, Business Sector Lead Resources, Qatar, Kuwait, and Sub Saharan Africa at Worley, said: "The natural progression for an open-pit mine in an orebody that extends at depth is to transition to underground mining.

Mfolo said Worley's underground mining expertise would help mine owners worldwide explore the feasibility of underground life-of-mine extensions and identify the most efficient and safe underground mining methods.

"A combination of our work on earlier phases, interrogating and challenging proposal inputs, and understanding our customer requirements led to this contract award.

"We look forward to supporting SPM as it transitions from an open pit to underground mine while fulfilling its environment, social, governance (ESG), and mining charter obligations."

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