A Technical Challenge: Extraction of Palladium and Platinum at Bathopele Mine, South Africa
The Bathopele Underground Mine is located east of Rustenburg in North West Province, South Africa. Anglo American Platinum Limited mines palladium and platinum at this site. The extraction of palladium and platinum is expected to continue until 2026. The mine covers a total area of more than 17km², and its narrow ore veins are located at a depth of between 40 to 300m. The ore is accessed via two central shafts: Bathopele East and Bathopele Central.
Due to the high demand for platin, the ore has to be extracted from steadily decreasing vein thicknesses. At Bathopele Mine, the valuable ore is often embedded in very narrow and up to 1.2m thick ore belts, which is why extraction is carried out using the bord and pillar method. The ore is usually blasted out of the rock and then transported to the surface on conveyor belts for subsequent processing.
The ore in platin mines is approximately four times harder than coal. Consequently, the cutting tools, chisels, drills and other consumables wear out quickly. In order to ensure an economic extraction of the raw material in the future, Anglo American decided to optimize the equipment, capacity and efficiency of the mine by an enhanced planning and coordination of all activities.
DSI has been co-operating with the Bathopele Mine for many years. The operator appreciates the reliable system solutions and the large range of mining products offered by DSI. Approximately 10,000 rock bolts and accessories are supplied to the mine per month and installed for stabilizing the advance. DSI supports the mine with experienced technicians and engineers on site and also offers special customized products and systems. All of the products and systems are centrally produced in Johannesburg and transported to the mine by trucks. DSI is looking forward to continuing this co-operation, which is characterized by trust and reliability.