Haul trucks line up at the start of a shift in Kumba’s flagship Sishen Mine. The mine operates
a fleet of 78 of these mechanical giants to haul ore and clear waste round the clock.
The bulk of Kumba’s iron ore production comes from Sishen mine, located in South Africa’s Northern Cape Province near the mining town of Kathu. Opened in 1947, Sishen mine is Kumba’s flagship operation and one of the largest open-pit mines in the world. It operates 24/7 and in 2011 produced 38,9 million tonnes (Mtpa) of iron ore.
Sishen mine has sufficient resources to sustain a 21-year production. Most of Sishen mine’s iron ore was exported, with around 6,2Mt of its production being supplied to ArcelorMittal South Africa in 2011. All mining is done by open-cast methods, with ore transported to the beneficiation plant where it is crushed, screened and beneficiated. Kumba is the only haematite ore producer in the worldto fully beneficiate its product, made possible through dense medium separation (DMS) and jig technology. The Jig Plant at Sishen mine is the largest of its type in the world. Iron ore products, conforming to different chemical and physical specifications, are produced at this mine.
Sishen high-grade ore yields high returns
Since the haematite ore at Sishen mine occurs in bands of varying thickness, production processes have been fine-tuned to control fluctuations in the iron content of the ore produced. This meticulous approach has meant that much of the lower grade ore can be effectively processed, rather than being discarded, maximising the mine’s yield. Start of Bokamoso, the asset optimisation programme that seeks to improve operational efficiencies and enhance revenue, is a first step towards Kumba’s goal of Sishen mine being one of the best mines in the world.
Another major stride is the focus on our product portfolio, the result of Kumba’s marketing efforts to create premium products to enhance
operational efficiencies for its steelmaking customers.
Sishen mine at a glance
Sishen mine is one of the world’s seven largest open-pit mines, and is the site of several mining world records:
the largest single blasting operation took place here, in which 7,2 million tonnes of rock were broken in a single blast in 1981.
the longest and heaviest train carried ore from Sishen mine to Saldanha Bay: a 7,5km train of 660 wagons carried 68 640 tonnes of ore. Normally, trains to Saldanha comprise 342 wagons transporting 100 tonnes each.
Sishen mine uses 75% of the capacity of the 861km Sishen-Saldanha railway line and associated export facilities.
Sishen mine abstracts water from the mine, of which more than half is used for mining operations and the daily requirements of the town that houses employees. The balance is exported to other mines and towns in the area.
Number of staff: 4 412 permanent employees and 3 865 permanent contractor employees.
Total tonnage produced in 2011: 38,9Mt of final product.
Total investment in social and community projects in 2011: R73,6 million.
Safety record in 2011: LTIFR of 0,08, with 0 fatalities.