Ivanhoe Mines’ Platreef’s Shaft 1 has reached a depth of 750 metres below surface and lateral development of the first mine access station is underway.
Ivanhoe Mines’ (TSX:IVN) announced that its Platreef’s Shaft 1 has reached a depth of 750 metres below surface and lateral development of the first mine access station now is underway.
As quoted in the press release:
The 750-metre station on Shaft 1 will provide initial, underground access to the high-grade orebody, enabling mine development to proceed during the construction of Shaft 2, which will become the mine’s main production shaft. The mining zones in the current Platreef Mine plan occur at depths ranging from approximately 700 metres to 1,200 metres below surface. Shaft 1’s 750-metre station also will allow access for the first raise-bore shaft that will provide ventilation to the underground workings during the mine’s ramp-up phase.
The first of the mine’s planned fleet of mechanized, mobile, underground mining equipment – a small, 5.5-tonne load-haul-dump machine (LHD) – has arrived on site and will be used for off-shaft station development work on the 750-, 850- and 950-metre levels. People from Platreef’s surrounding host communities are being trained as operators of the LHD.
The LHD will be the first piece of mechanized, mobile equipment to be used underground on the northern limb of South Africa’s famous Bushveld Complex. The thick, flat-lying orebody at the Platreef Project is ideal for bulk-scale, mechanized mining. As underground development progresses, the mine plan calls for the addition of significantly larger mechanized mining equipment, such as 14- and 17-tonne LHDs and 50-tonne haul trucks.
Sinking of Shaft 1 will resume after the 750-metre station is completed. The shaft is expected to intersect the upper contact of the Flatreef Deposit (T1 mineralized zone) at an approximate shaft depth of 783 metres. As shaft sinking advances, two additional shaft stations will be developed at mine-working depths of 850 metres and 950 metres. Shaft 1 is expected to reach its projected, final depth of 980 metres below surface in 2019.
Robert Friedland, executive chairman, commented:
Soon we will be able to show our stakeholders and investors Flatreef’s remarkably thick, high-grade mineralized zones that will allow us to be at the forefront of safe, underground bulk mining.
Our focus is to keep advancing the Platreef Project along its critical path. Our continued development of shafts 1 and 2 will provide access to the high-grade orebody and help to ensure that the project is able to meet the expected start-up of the first phase of the underground mine and concentrator.
We believe that the unique characteristics of our Flatreef Discovery offer us the opportunity for a highly-mechanized and safe working environment for a new generation of skilled and trained South African workers.