TDS Projects Construction is completing a mammoth installation of extensive ground handling infrastructure at Petra Diamonds’ Finsch mine. The project which commenced in November 2014 was awarded to TDS Projects Construction by Petra Diamonds following a successful tender process. TDS Projects Construction’s affiliated company, Thuthukani Engineering Solutions, designed the C-cut ground handling infrastructure at Cullinan mine and were then tasked with the design of Finsch’s infrastructure required for the sub-level caving expansion project. This immense project (phase 1 completed, phase 2 in progress) includes the fabrication, construction and installation of nine tipping points, five ore pass retaining walls, four bulkheads, two crusher stations with overhead cranes, and four conveyors. Phase 1 commenced on 20 November 2014 and was completed on 25 March 2016 while Phase 2, commenced on 4 April 2016 with completion estimated for July 2018.
Hennie Coetzee, Managing Director at TDS Projects Construction says that the successful execution of the project thus far is a testament to the depth of the expertise and commitment of their team. “TDS is capable of continuously adapting to the challenges and changes of a construction environment. Our experience in the construction of mining infrastructure allows us to be innovative when presented by particular requirements dictated by a project or site. This is evident in aspects of the project such as the ore pass retaining walls, which are pre-casted and a first of their kind for underground operations and allow flexibility for the construction of tipping points on multiple levels simultaneously,” states Coetzee. “With the construction and operation of the bulkheads, there were numerous key findings by our team – some of which challenged the SANS standards used for the design thereof.”
The bulkhead structures include steelwork well in excess of 100 t per bulkhead and were installed at the bottom of a 5.1 m diameter ore pass, ranging from 70 to 190 m in height. One of the bulkheads consists of 165 t of steel, 150 m³ of concrete and 15 t of reinforcing to be constructed within a matter of four months – while the conveyor system constructed at Finsch covers a distance of 1,650 m at an incline of 9 degrees and was completed within a construction period of 13 months.
“The success of the construction at Finsch that has been completed for Phase 1 and to date on Phase 2 is due to TDS’s proven management and operating system that controls the progress, quality and most importantly safety, on any project that we take on,” says Coetzee adding that TDS also has the backing and support of a group of sister companies which includes Thuthukani Engineering Solutions as well as SFS Engineering (TDS’s structural steel fabricator) which allows for effective control and execution of any project. “We are offering an absolute turnkey solution that is perfectly showcased by the ultimate completion of these installations at Finsch. Not only was Phase 1 of the project successfully completed, with Phase 2 currently being entirely on track – we are also able to pass on numerous benefits to our client. Ultimately, we are able to supply a workable ore handling system that will extend the life of the mine, maintain and increase production throughput and reduce operational costs,” Coetzee concludes.