SEATTLE (Scrap Monster): Sibanye Stillwater announced plans to wind down three of its aging South African gold mines over the next decade or so. It cited difficulties in exploiting the assets as well as adverse cost factors behind the decision. The company will shift focus to its assets elsewhere, mainly in North America.
According to company spokesperson James Wellsted, the company is unlikely to continue exploiting its Beatrix mine after five years, unless there is a significant surge in gold prices and remarkable improvement in investment environment. It plans to close down the Driefontein gold mine by 2030 and the Kloof mine by 2033 or later, he said.
Combined, the above three mines had produced gold at an AISC of $1,406 per ounce during the previous year. It is economically not feasible to continue operations, unless there is a dramatic jump in gold prices. It is quite not worthwhile spending money on extending the life of these mines, said Wellsted.
The South African mining sector has been faced with dearth of new investments over the past several years, mainly due to ongoing uncertainties in mining regulations, high electricity and labor costs as well as rising violence and strike incidents.
The company’s SA gold operations comprise underground mining and surface treatment facilities at Beatrix, Driefontein and Kloof situated on the Witwatersrand Basin.
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