Worley has announced a new contract award from Sedibelo Platinum Mines Ltd. The project, in South Africa’s western limb of the Bushveld Complex, will take SPM’s Pilanesberg Platinum Mines from an open-pit operation to an underground mine. This project will extend the life of mine by 30 years from 2030 to 2060, with first ore expected from the underground operation by 2025.
“The natural progression for an open-pit mine in an orebody that extends at depth is to transition to underground mining,” explains Gladwin Mfolo, Business Sector Lead Resources, Qatar, Kuwait, and Sub Saharan Africa. “Drawing on our underground mining expertise in South Africa, Australia, and South America, we help mine owners around the world explore the feasibility of underground life-of-mine extensions and identify the most efficient and safe underground mining methods.”
In 2019, Worley completed the preliminary engineering design work for the feasibility study of this project. In the new contract, it will provide detailed engineering, design, and construction management services for the full scope. This includes the development of a box cut, which allows access to a triple decline that will extract 160,000 t/mth of ore from the underground operation. “We will also create a series of raised bored ventilation holes, and set up production sections, ore and ventilation passes, underground engineering setup, conveyors, workshops, and some surface infrastructure. Our Johannesburg office will lead this project with support from our global integrated delivery team. The project is expected to take around 10 years to complete, with the current scope covering the first three years.”
“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,” said Mfolo.