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ERPM jobs looking more secure: CGR Chairman

Jobs of some 2 000 people employed at ERPM are looking more secure

The jobs of some 2 000 people employed at East Rand Proprietary Mines Limited’s underground operations in Boksburg are looking more secure following a 55% improvement in productivity, coupled with a slight increase in the Rand gold price, according to mine owner Crown Gold Recoveries (Pty) Limited (CGR).

CGR Chairman Mark Wellesley-Wood said today that productivity, measured in terms of metres face advance per employee, had reached a new record of 11.8 metres in September compared with a low of 7.6 metres in March.

While welcoming “a very positive response” from the workforce following the crisis that faced the underground operations earlier this year, Wellesley-Wood warned that there was “no room for complacency”.

“We continue to walk a very fine line between profit and loss, and any weakening of the Rand gold price we receive for our production due to a strengthening of the Rand simply places greater pressure on us to further improve levels of productivity.

“Also, there are a number of other issues that still need to be resolved before we can commit with any degree of certainty to being able to keep the underground operations going beyond the previously announced closure date of May 2005.”

Wellesley-Wood said it is intended to concentrate underground mining at ERPM at the mine’s Far East Vertical (FEV) and South East Vertical (SEV) shafts “for as long as is economically possible”.

“This plan anticipates our being able to insert up to eight ‘plugs’ to isolate the FEV and SEV shafts from the rest of the mine, which would then be allowed to flood. We are in discussion with Government currently in order to secure both its financial assistance for the plugs and the re-institution of the State pumping subsidy which was suspended in April this year.

“Another critical factor going forward is our ability to continue to generate sufficient cashflow to develop mining face and complete essential shaft repair work,” Wellesley-Wood said.


James Duncan
Russell & Associates
011 880-3924 (office)
082 892-8052 (mobile)

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