South African gold and platinum group metals (PGM) miner Sibanye Stillwater is forecasting annual gold production at the lower end of its target range after it had to close some operations due to fatal accidents and safety audits.
The company said its 2021 gold production would be at the lower end of a 884 000-948 000 ounces range, with the all-in sustaining cost – a metric used to calculate the overall cost of gold mining – at around $1 742 per ounce.
PGM production, however, will be within its forecast range, despite one of the shafts at its mine being closed to attend to safety issues, the company said in a statement.
Mine safety is a hot topic in South Africa due to regular and sometimes fatal accidents.
Minerals Council South Africa, the biggest association of mining companies in the country, said this week that 2021 was the second year of a “regression” in mine safety in the country, with miners reporting 72 fatalities up to December 13, against 52 in the same period last year.
Sibanye reported five deaths recently at its gold and PGM operations as a result of which it had to shut down two gold shafts and two PGM mines for the rest of the year, hurting overall production numbers, it said.
Production was also affected by a safety audit from October 28 to November 2 during which all of its operations were closed, the miner said, adding some operations were impacted by the spread of coronavirus among senior staff as well.