STYLDRIFT IS A MECHANISED UNDERGROUND MINE LOCATED AROUND 5KM FROM BRPM'S NORTH SHAFT
The Styldrift site (which lies within the boundaries of the Styldrift and Frischgewaagd farms) was established in 2009 on one of the last known high grade blocks of shallow Merensky reef deposits.
In the second half of 2015, the RBPlat Board made the strategic decision to defer the ramp-up at Styldrift I, due to the material reduction in platinum group metal prices at the time.
Towards the latter half of 2016 the progress made at Styldrift, as well as basket price improvements, allowed RBPlat to commit to the next phase of expansion, which will ramp up the mine to 150 000 tonnes a month (Phase I). This milestone was achieved in October 2018. Phase I provides for all the key underground and surface infrastructure required to meet a 230 000 tonnes a month production level (Phase II) and includes:
- an overland conveyor belt to the BRPM concentrator
- all underground silos
- associated belt conveyor systems
- required water handling and pumping facilities
- stores and two ventilation shafts.
At steady state Stydrift mine will produce 230 000 tonnes a month, increasing RBPlat’s production to 350 000 tonnes a month. The ramp-up to 230 000 tonnes a month is dependent on market conditions.
A trackless bord and pillar method is being employed in the thick Merensky resource areas with mining heights varying between 1.8m and 2.0m. The narrow Merensky reef area will be mined using a conventional breast mining layout.
UTILITIES AND ACCESS
Power and water supplies have been secured for the life of mine from Eskom and Magalies Water. There is good access to Styldrift I via modern roads and the infrastructure necessary to conduct mining is in place.
TWIN VERTICAL SHAFT SYSTEM
Access to the underground workings at Styldrift are via a twin concrete-lined vertical shaft system, comprising a 10.5m diameter Main shaft and a 6.5m diameter Services shaft, sunk to a depth of 753m and 723m, respectively. Footwall infrastructure, mainly for the transporting of ore to the shaft will be developed approximately 25m below the Merensky reef horizon. Two 22-tonne rock skips will be used to hoist the ore to the surface via the Main shaft. A second footwall network will be developed at 690m level, at the base of the UG2 horizon, for potential concurrent exploitation of the UG2 reef.
The shaft system will be linked to the up-dip and down-dip on-reef roadway clusters on both the reef horizon and the footwall level. A network of on-strike haulages will underlie all sections for the transportation of ore to the Main shaft.
STYLDRIFT SHAFT POSITIONS RELATIVE TO KEY LIFE OF MINE EXCAVATIONS
MERENSKY FOOTWALL INFRASTRUCTURE
Situated 25m below the Merensky reef horizon, the Merensky footwall will be the main artery of the mine. Apart from travelling ways, all footwall infrastructure will be mechanically developed. This infrastructure includes tipping points on the reef horizon, from which ore will be sent via box holes to the trucking haulage points 25m below. Fifty-tonne diesel-powered trucks will then transport the ore to ore passes feeding an underlying conveyor belt system 18m below. The conveyor system will include the main conveyor belt decline and an adjacent auxiliary decline.