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Ventilation Shaft Drilling Projects at Towlands Commences

Raise-drilling and shaft-boring technology and services supplier, Murray & Roberts Cementation, has been contracted to a number of Anglo Platinum (Angloplats) projects, including the platinum major’s Townlands Ore Replacement Project (TORP) and Paardekraal’s 1 and 2 shafts.

The contractor is currently involved in the drilling of three ventilation shafts at the Anglo Platinum TORP project in Rustenburg.

The project involves ground stabilisation and water sealing, followed by the raise-boring of three 3,8m diameter by 850m deep ventilation shafts. The work commenced at the beginning of May 2007 with the first activity undertaken being that of ground stabilisation and water sealing by means of cementation. The projects are due to be completed in May 2009.

Meanwhile, construction has commenced at Paardekraal 2 shaft. Murray & Roberts Cementation is responsible for the sinking of twin shafts and the associated underground infrastructure at this twin-shaft system for Anglo Platinum in the Rustenburg area.

The underground infrastructure will include production levels, all the loading levels, pump stations, dams, settlers and underground silos. The project also includes the construction of a decline system connecting to Paardekraal 1 shaft. All work on this three-year contract will be done simultaneously.

Murray & Roberts Cementation is also in the process of completing the Turffontein decline system for Anglo Platinum. The cluster-decline development project includes a cluster of decline sinking and auxiliary development on the mining levels.

Work on the Turffontein contract started in 2002 and Murray & Roberts expects it to be completed in 2007 after which phase three is likely to commence. This will add an additional five levels to the cluster declines bringing the declines down to 40 level.

Further, Murray & Roberts Cementation is completing a ventilation shaft installation project for Aquarius Platinum, which has a pooling-and-sharing agreement (PSA) with Anglo Platinum on both Kroondal and Marikana mines.

The project consists of three separate phases. Phase one began three years ago, and involved the installation of nine ventilation shafts at the Kroondal mine. The project took seven months to complete. Phase two consists of the drilling of a further 13 ventilation shafts at Aquarius’ Kroondal and Marikana mines. This project started in September 2006.

The PSA allows for the parties to pool their assets, while retaining ownership, and to share the proceeds. Anglo Platinum provides access to a portion of the UG2 ore-body on Rustenburg section’s mining area, while Aquarius Platinum provides access to its existing Kroondal platinum mine mining area and infrastructure.

Anglo Platinum and Aquarius Platinum mine contiguous properties on their respective Rustenburg and Marikana lease areas.

Murray & Roberts Cementation has been involved with Kroondal since its inception in 1999 and undertakes all of the mine’s underground mining operations.

Murray & Roberts Cementation has previously worked on projects at the Angloplat and Royal Bafokeng Resources joint-venture Bafokeng Rasimone platinum mine (BRPM). The company has also completed mechanised stall-and-pillar mining at BRPM D mine with a steady state-of-production of 20 000t/m.

Mine deepening infrastructure work was done by means of trackless equipment at the BRPM north mine Phase two. The deepening infrastructure work has also been undertaken at BRPM south mine to establish the hoisting and service facilities.

Murray & Roberts Cementation recently upgraded its fleet of drill rigs by adding various machines and Boart Longyear LF230 drill rigs, which will improve efficiency and reduce lead times to start operations.

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