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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X

J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. vol.111 n.1 Johannesburg Jan. 2011




The ongoing evolution of stope panel support at Impala Platinum Limited



N.D. Fernandes; L.J. Gardner

Impala Platinum Limited




Labour-intensive narrow reef stoping, as traditionally practised in South African gold and platinum mines, is almost unique in the modern first-world mechanized mining environment. Shortcomings of the system include the ever increasing cost of labour, a cap on achievable productivity and a poor safety record, particularly in the field of rock-related accidents.
In the absence of sustainable alternative technologies, the South African mining industry has spent millions of rands improving the present system, focusing on improving workplace safety. This paper details the changes to stope support at Impala Platinum's Rustenburg operations, and the impact on rock-related safety performance.

Keywords: Stope panel support, narrow reef stoping, improving workplace safety



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