Record-breaking pilot hole successfully completed at Zondereinde
Northam – Northam Platinum Limited (Northam) is pleased to announce the successful completion of the raise-bore pilot hole for the planned Number 3 Shaft at Zondereinde mine’s western extension. The new shaft system will provide additional access from surface to the underground workings for hoisting of men, material, services and ore.
The western extension was acquired on 6 December 2017 from the neighbouring Amandelbult Complex, owned by Anglo American Platinum Limited, for a cash consideration of R1 billion. It comprises a 3.6km wide mining block containing a PGM resource of more than 21 million ounces contained within high-quality Merensky and UG2 orebodies. The acquisition of the western extension significantly reduced Zondereinde’s operational risk profile and extends the mine’s life beyond 30 years.
Number 3 Shaft is being raise-bored by Master Drilling. Raise-boring is safer, quicker and more cost effective than traditional drill and blast development.
The successful completion of the Number 3 Shaft pilot hole, at 1,382m length, is a world record, the previous record being a 1,070 m shaft, drilled in 2012 at Lonmin’s K4 mine.
Drilling commenced on 25 September 2019 and holed into its receiving chamber underground on schedule on 18 July 2020. Master Drilling used ground-breaking oil-well directional drilling technology to limit lateral deflection on the 400mm diameter pilot to less than half the hole diameter. Reaming of the hole to its final diameter will now commence and is expected to be completed during the coming year.
Northam’s chief executive officer Paul Dunne said: “This milestone has put us a significant step closer to realising the potential of the western extension, a high-quality block of ground that has already breathed new life into Zondereinde. Our strong culture of technological innovation and rapid implementation is helping to create a mine that will benefit all stakeholders for many years to come. Congratulations to the Zondereinde management team and our partners, Master Drilling, on this record-breaking achievement.”
R&A Strategic Communications press release extracts, obo Northam Platinum Limited, 21 July 2020
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