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- Yvonne Amukwaya
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On course to meet production target of 220 000 carats
Five months after resuming production, Namdeb’s Elizabeth Bay mine is on course to meet its production target of 220,000 carats per year, the Economist has established. A confident Tony Bessinger, mine manager of Namdeb’s northern coastal operations told the Economist on Tuesday that Elizabeth Bay mine, which was placed under care and maintenance in 2009, will meet its production target by year end as stipulated in the mines’ plan.
He said: “Most technical challenges have been resolved and this month the mine will achieve its production target as per the revised budget plan.
“All recruitment has been completed and contractors for blasting, stripping and loading and hauling are exceeding their targets.”
After commissioning the refurbished plant Bessinger said that the mine is nearing the end of its ramp up phase. “The N$70 million injection brought operational improvements with respect to throughput as well as managing the variation in the ore body much better than before,” he added.
The Elizabeth Bay mine has retained similar labour numbers as before it was shut down - approximately 250 employees inclusive of contractors.
Bessinger, however, said that finding the right employees that can do the job has proven challenging but they have resolved the issue with a proactive approach and that the real challenge is to manage variability in ore composition and grade to ensure profitability.
“By mining close to the sea, we are continually inundated with seepage of sea water. This requires 24/7 pumping to de-water the mining sites and to keep the areas safe and operational,” he said.
Although there has been a rise in the number of accidents and deaths occurring in mines countrywide, The mine manager says that Elizabeth Bay mine as part of Namdeb, implements the company’s safety improvement plan.
“However in addition, our objective is zero harm and raising the awareness of employees about the possible risks in the workplace,” said Bessinger. He said that the entire workforce is briefed weekly by the mine manager as well as senior managers.
“The operational and safety culture at Elizabeth Bay mine is hands on, with frequent walk abouts by senior managers which assist in identifying risks or non compliance to policies and procedures,” said Bessinger.
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