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Mine profile: Mogalakwena

Focusing on the largest and most value-creating assets in our portfolio is key to our strategy. That’s why, in this article, we shine the spotlight on the Mogalakwena open-pit platinum mine in South Africa.

Recently, the Anglo American Platinum Q1 2015 report revealed that production at Mogalakwena had increased by 13% to 100,000 ounces due to improved mining performance, recoveries and higher grades.

But, let’s take a deeper look at Mogalakwena and the growing success behind its operations.

Where is it?

Mogalakwena is located near the town of Mokopane within the Mogalakwena Local Municipality. Mogalakwena is one of the six local municipalities which form part of the Waterberg District, situated in the Western quadrant of the Limpopo Province in north eastern South Africa.

The mine was established in 1993, is the largest open pit platinum mine in the world, and is 100% owned by Anglo American.

What makes this mine a success?

The Mogalakwena mine is a priority asset and the flagship operation in our Platinum portfolio.

Although the mine’s operating costs are already among the lowest in the industry, over the past two years the focus has been on implementing a number of business improvement initiatives to raise productivity and reduce costs further – maximising the value delivered from the asset, with minimal additional capital commitment.

The main initiatives include increasing the effectiveness of the mine’s drills, explosives, diesel, shovels and mining trucks. These are yielding significant improvements in availability and utilisation. For example, since 2012, drill penetration has improved by 36%, while mining truck utilisation – which has increased by 15% over the same period – is now considered to be world class.

What has Mogalakwena delivered in terms of platinum output?

In 2014, Mogalakwena delivered more than 370,000 ounces of equivalent refined platinum, an increase of 70,000 ounces over 2012. Collectively, the business improvement initiatives have resulted in a 33% increase in total tonnes mined over the past two years.

In 2015, we began the implementation of Anglo American’s Operating Model at the mine and expect to increase production further with limited capital spend.

What about safety?

Overall in 2014, the mine’s intensified safety programme delivered significant results in terms of the total injury-frequency rate. This decreased by 47% from the figure for 2013 to a rate of 1.0. The lost-time injury-frequency rate decreased to 0.12 per 200,000 hours worked.

The mine achieved one million fatality-free shifts in July 2014 and its equipment-damage frequency rate decreased by 37% during the year.

And the local community?

Sustainable living is championed for the communities around Mogalakwena.

Working in partnership with local residents from the surrounding villages, we have helped develop a sustainable community development project - the Groenfontein community farm. The farm is supported by a multi-purpose environmental training centre that is also used to host external events, an eco-schools programme, as well as catering and cookery courses.

What does the future hold for Mogalakwena?

As well as improving operational performance in the short term, the team at Mogalakwena plans to maximise returns over the longer term. The strategic mining plan has been scrutinised and revised accordingly, with the resultant aim of reducing total tonnage mined by more than 85 million tonnes per year, against the previous plan of in excess of 200 million tonnes per year. The consequent fall in the stripping ratio is estimated to save the company close to $3 billion in avoided cost increases over the next 20 years.

You can find out more about our platinum operations on the Anglo American Platinum website.

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