Reading all the doom and gloom about mining in RSA I was struck by the evidently contrasting picture painted by Pan African in this week's Mining weekly. These guys are thinking. If I add in to the bigger picture that the emerging new technologies that are going to lead to greater efficiencies in deep mining - plus the inevitable cost reduction as these mines and others mechanize and reduce labour which per capita gets paid more I think the picture is looking better and better in the medium term.
Would up that to very long term.. Mechanised is more expensive to maintain and we don't have the skills in RSA. Mechanised is more for development purposes as the machines are large. The actual ore mining still needs to be conventional hard labour, why mine 4m x 4m when the actual ore body is only 60cm thick.. And than of course you have the unions and government forcing mining companies to employ unskilled workers.
According to Mining News the techno is for narrow reefs and SA doesn't have long term mining without it. Neither Unions nor Govt can avoid the half a loaf scenario as regards the unskilled. They don't have the funds to. Ignore the noise on the line. In fact the more disruption the better as far as value is concerned.
Mechanised mining is successfully done extensively in SA and elsewhere, where the ore body can accommodate it. For narrow reefs, you can't change an existing shaft design from conventional to mechanised. Lonmin tried and failed a few years back. But new shafts can make the change - Impala 16#, BRPM and Wesizwe are designing around mechanised from the start. In the future, platinum production will be dominated by the open cast or bulk underground mined platreef deposits in the north.