Palabora is located on the outskirts of Phalaborwa, a town situated on the eastern border of Kruger National Park in the Limpopo province, South Africa. Palabora Copper is owned by a consortium of South African and Chinese entities and listed on the Johannesburg stock exchange.
Palabora has been in operation since 1956 where it was initially mined through open pit methods and in the later stages by underground block caving. In order to extend the mine life of the project a second block cave production lift is required.
Byrnecut South Africa Pty Ltd was awarded the contract to development the parallel declines required to exploit the second lift of block cave. Under an Alliance Agreement Byrnecut began works in 2011.The main cave aims to produce 10.0mt of ore per year.
Byrnecut’s scope of works includes decline and lateral development as well as rehabilitation and haulage. Byrnecut also manages all fleet maintenance.
Byrnecut’s association with Palabora has required the ongoing efforts to employ and train a local workforce, with experience in the operations of a block cave, and re focus their skills to the tasks of high speed mechanised development.