Thabazimbi mine invites the community to get involved in mine closure planning

KUMBA - Thabazimbi Mine
KUMBA – Thabazimbi Mine

THABAZIMBI – Local stakeholders should be part of the broader consultation process to develop a mine closure plan, say representatives of Thabazimbi mine. Thabazimbi mine started to consult local stakeholders on mine closure from Monday 17 August.
“The time has come to start the process of closing Thabazimbi mine and invitations have been issued to stakeholder groups in the community to join the mine in discussions and in-depth interviews over the next few weeks,” said Mr Vusi Maseko, General Manager at Thabazimbi mine. Maseko emphasized that this engagement forms part of the overall ongoing consultations with employees, trade unions and regulatory authorities.
“Engagement will be a gradual, inclusive and transparent process that will involve all stakeholders in exploring options and is aimed at long-term sustainability of the mine and the environment.” The decision to close Thabazimbi mine was announced on 16 July 2015. The proposed mine closure follows an extensive review of all options as highlighted in Kumba’s 2014 results and Integrated Report and is in response to a combination of external and internal factors that have affected the viability of the mine, including the slope failure, difficult geology, high stripping ratio resulting in high operational cost and recently very low prices over and above the fact that it is an old mine and has reached the end of its economic life.
Maseko explained that “circumstances have become so challenging that, in the past 15 years since 2000, mine closure was considered and averted six times. This time it is not possible to do so as economic conditions have become tougher.” Approach to consultation The objective of the consultation is to listen to community and local stakeholder perceptions on the socio-economic impacts of closing the mine and to obtain views on the approach to be able to maximise potential opportunities. This consultation precedes the full-scale public participation process required by law, which will follow early in 2017 when there are more details and a final closure plan is on the table.
“Thabazimbi mine and the community have walked a long road together. Kumba remains committed to supporting the Thabazimbi community through this difficult process and welcomes participation by all stakeholders in defining how best to move forward together, responsibly and sustainably,” says Vusi Maseko.
Consultations were scheduled to have started on Tuesday, 18 August and will last until Friday, 04 September 2015 in Thabazimbi.
Clarity and follow up on these engagements can be obtained from the office of Dr Sabelo Gumede (014 777 3145) during and post consultation.