At the recent 40th African Mining Network dinner, Chris Griffith, CEO – Anglo American Platinum Ltd, gave a presentation which included updates on the range of continuous mechanised mining projects it is implementing. The presentation was titled Driving the future of the PGM industry – modernisation is an imperative.
The Epiroc (Atlas Copco) 22H Mobile Miner or as Anglo refers the machine, the Rapid Mine Development System (RMDS) is designed to mine declines on reef to rapidly drop down & open new mining areas. It is starting production at the Twickenham mine with targeted advance rates of 200 m/mth.
On the reef hard rock cutting side, the Sandvik MN220 machine operations continue at Twickenham with the machine designed to operates in 1 m high stopes, delivering low volume ore at the desired grade. Anglo is targeting a cutting rate of 3.9 m/shift and 1,200 m2/mth. This machine was first tested at Bathopele then modified before moving to Twickenham.
The Sandvik Continuous Hauling System that will operate behind the RMDS consists of an 86 m flexible & mobile belt targeted to remove 100 t/h of material (particle size 250 mm x 70 mm x 70 mm). It is currently being assembled at Twickenham.
Anglo Platinum has also tested a fleet of ultra-low profile (ULP) equipment at Twickenham consisting of a drill rig, roof bolter, dozer, sweeper and continuous loader. The ULP equipment aim is to achieve stoping rates of 4,000 m2/ mth from a half level.
In the future, a new fuel cell dozer that runs on hydrogen carried in liquid form is expected to make its debut underground in 2019. A drum of the liquid fuel can power the dozer for several days. The aim is to allow dozer operations on a steep dip that has been very difficult to handle to date for mechanised trackless mining.