Following the announcement by the BCL Mine in Selibe Phikwe to extend the period of their shutdown exercise, James Molosankwe, the Public Relations and Marketing Manager of the mine, last week revealed to the Sunday Standard in an interview that the extension period will not have any impact on the operations of the mine or negate on their production.
BCL Mine recently announced that their planned smelter shutdown, which was initially intended to be completed on July 15, will now be extended to October 2011.
Modisankwe went further to say that the shutdown is only meant to refurbish the smelter, which is currently experiencing problems and posing health and safety hazards to the mine, especially its employees.
“The extension of our shutdown period will not affect our operation and as I am speaking, our production is very intact,” he maintained.
He went on to say that the shutdown will also not affect their relationship with other stakeholders like Tati Nickel Mine Company (TNMC) who use their smelter as they are bound by a contract.
He added that their contract with TNMC clearly states that at times they will have to go through some smelter shutdowns.
However, efforts by Sunday Standard to get comments from the TNMC production team on how the shutdown may affect their production proved futile as they have not replied to our questionnaire.
A press release passed to the Sunday Standard reveals that the shutdown comes in the wake of frequent breakdowns experienced by BCL mine and it is a measure to maintain the smelting furnace. The project is intended to rebuild Electric Furnace number two (EF2) and refurbish the Boiler and Feed Preparation Precipitation.
The document further reveals that, during a thorough inspection of the Flash Furnace, further damage was discovered on the hearth of the furnace which then called for the top management to extend the shutdown for the smelter to be refurbished as a safety measure.
It is also stated in the document that the production of ore from shafts will forge on as planned and this is to ensure that the metal that was planned to be mined from the underground is delivered to the concentrator. When the smelter is back in operation the concentrate will be processed to produce matte for sale, which will mitigate the loss suffered due to the extension of the shutdown period.