Lily mine to reopen in February, says new owner

24th August 2018 By: Anine Kilian - Contributing Editor Online

Vantage Goldfields, which has been bought out by Siyakhula Sonke Empowerment Corporation (SSC), plans to reopen the Lily mine, in Barberton, Mpumalanga, in February 2019, three years after a pillar collapse at the mine claimed the lives of three employees.

A lamp house container in which employees Pretty Nkambule, Yvonne Mnisi and Solomon Nyirende were trapped during the February 5, 2016, collapse has still not been recovered.

SSC said at a media briefing last week that a final decision with regard to the recovery of the container could only be taken once a new access decline had been developed at the Lily mine and the area where the crown pillar collapse occurred had been accessed.

“A number of considerations in the planned recovery would include locality and accessibility of the container, as well as the safety of the team undertaking the activities. We expect the mine will only be ready for production in 2020, ” CEO Fred Arendse said.

He added that the company also expected to reopen the Barbook mine, also owned by Vantage, before the end of this year.

“The sequence of reopening will also focus on getting the Barbrook mine back into operation. We have already commenced our internal planning and risk assessment for Barbrook. Our plan is to reopen Barbrook first, before the end of the year,” he said.

Arendse mentioned that R250-million was required to take the mines out of business rescue and that the anticipated working capital required to operationalise the two mines and associated infrastructure was about R46.2-million.

The company is also in the process of appointing the necessary on-mine management capacity and starting to prepare the operational plans for the structured reopening of shafts and associated operations, and engaging with unions and employees on a programme for re-employment.