Two more furnaces resume production at Assmang

Four out of six furnaces at Assmang Limited’s Cato Ridge Works are now in ferromanganese production, following the Department of Labour’s lifting of the prohibition order on two more furnaces on Friday, 11 April 2008. The furnaces were started up on Monday, 14 April 2008.

This follows the sign-off by organised labour and the Department on independently recommended additional safety features, including the construction of blast protection walls to shield employees from the furnaces and retraining of operations staff.

The fifth furnace is undergoing a refurbishment programme and is expected to resume operations in May this year, with the sixth expected to be recommissioned in the 4th quarter of 2008.

Furnace restarted at Assmang Cato Ridge works

Assmang Limited has resumed ferromanganese production with the recommissioning of one of its six furnaces at its Cato Ridge Works, outside Durban, KwaZulu Natal. The Department of Labour gave the go-ahead on Friday, 4 April 2008 for the first furnace to be recommissioned.

“Following a thorough risk assessment and the introduction of additional safety measures, the Department of Labour revoked its prohibition order for the first of the six furnaces after consultations with ourselves and organised labour,” said Princess Thwala, senior general manager at Assmang’s Cato Ridge Works.

“The tragic incident on 24 February 2008 in which lives were lost has re-sharpened our focus on safety and overall employee wellness at Cato Ridge Works. Safety is paramount in our business and there is no substitute for it.”
Assmang executive director Jan Steenkamp also welcomed the opening of the first furnace, adding that the company was doing its best to ensure there was no repeat of similar incidents. Assmang has implemented safety measures proposed by the independent investigator as required by the Department of Labour, including the construction of blast protection walls surrounding the control rooms of the furnaces.

“It is imperative that we get back to business under circumstances that optimise shareholder value without compromising people’s lives,” said Steenkamp.

Should the Department of Labour give the green light to recommission three other furnaces this week, four furnaces may be in full operation at the plant by the end of the week. A planned shutdown period for the fifth furnace has been brought forward with recommissioning expected in mid-May. The sixth furnace, damaged extensively in the explosion of 24 February, is expected to be recommissioned in the 4th quarter of 2008.

Further to the press comment following disclosure in Kumba’s results announcement

Further to the press comment following disclosure in Kumba’s results announcement, dated 22 August 2003, of the heads of agreement (the “agreement”) entered into between Kumba and Assmang (the “parties”), both Kumba and Assmang wish to provide the following clarification in relation thereto.

  • The purpose of the agreement, which is not legally binding, is to evaluate and investigate the respective undeveloped iron ore deposits of Kumba and Assmang in the Northern Cape, which could result in negotiations relating to a possible exchange of deposits.
  • Both Kumba and Assmang have been independently investigating other alternatives in regard to their own iron ore deposits.

For further information relating to this joint press statement, please contact:

  • Mike Kilbride (Kumba) on (012) 307-3488, fax (012) 307 4537
  • Phil Crous (Assmang) on (011) 770-6800, fax (011) 268 6035, or
  • Bryan Broekman (Assmang) on (011) 634-9111, fax (011) 634 0440