Anglo American-owned Kumba Iron Ore has reported positive 2017 full year results. Themba Mkhwanazi, Chief Executive of Kumba, said, “I am pleased to report that Kumba has delivered on our key objectives for 2017. Most importantly, our safety initiatives resulted in a fatality-free year with material improvement across our key indicators. At Sishen, our focus on all aspects of the value chain resulted in productivity gains by the fleet whilst we also delivered improved plant efficiencies and higher yields. These factors contributed to production above guidance with an overall increase of 8% to 45 Mt. Higher production, together with ongoing cost discipline, contained unit costs below guidance.”
The new mine plan at Sishen and ongoing implementation of the Operating Model delivered further productivity gains, including significant fleet productivity improvements, and were the main drivers of Sishen’s strong performance. The mine implemented increased operator training, changed shift patterns and introduced more accountability at supervisory levels. Through these measures and higher attendance rates from a committed workforce, the mine has been able to increase direct operating hours (DOH), adding extra production hours per day. In the pit, wider benches, changed blast sizes and improved shovel productivity contributed to an increase in mining volumes.
Total tonnes mined at Sishen increased by 12% to 199.5 Mt (2016: 178.3 Mt) with 39% fewer trucks. Consistent with the mine plan, the stripping ratio increased to 4.3 compared to 3.3 in 2016. Consequently, the amount of waste mined also increased, as planned, to 162 Mt (2016: 137 Mt).
Sishen’s production increased by 10% to 31.1 Mt (2016: 28.4 Mt) due to increased plant throughput and higher plant yields.
At the Kolomela mine, total tonnes mined increased by 12% to 71.8 Mt (2016: 64 Mt). Waste mined was 55.6 Mt (2016: 50.2 Mt), an increase of 11%, supporting higher production levels. Kolomela’s production was 9% higher at 13.9 Mt (2016: 12.7 Mt), reflecting productivity improvements. Productivity and efficiencies of the Kolomela drill fleet increased by 20% with the introduction of automated drilling technology. The Kolomela modular plant delivered 0.5 Mt, although performance was affected by delays in the ramp-up of the crushing plant.