Tag Archives: De Beers Group

De Beers to boost southern Africa safety performance with advanced driver assistance systems

De Beers Group says it is rolling out the use of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) across its operations in southern African, following two phases that saw the technology installed on buses and any vehicles that carry four or more people.

The world’s leading diamond producer places “Putting Safety First Everywhere” as its number one value and has been fatality-free for the past two years, according to Dr Urishanie Govender, De Beers Group Head of Safety and Sustainable Development.

“The application of ADAS aligns with our culture of pioneering brilliance as we equip our operations for FutureSmart Mining,” Dr Govender says. “This exciting initiative has provided another valuable tool for our amazing people on site who are constantly looking for ways to improve our safety performance.”

She highlights that the intervention contributes to the De Beers Group’s critical control management, one of the areas for advancement identified at the company’s regular safety summits.

“Driven by the chief executive officers across the group, the specific focus areas are Competence, Culture, Connectedness, and Cultivating Care to enable everyone to be Ready to Respond to Risks,” she said.

Head of Asset Strategy and Reliability at De Beers Group, Meshal Ruplal, says the first phase of the ADAS initiative saw the technology being installed on buses and any vehicles that carry five or more people. In a second phase, vehicles with four passengers were fitted with the equipment. The technology comprises a range of functionality, including cameras to monitor “harsh and distracted driving”, the company said.

“The camera software can also check on the driver’s eyelid movements and other indicators of drowsiness, and can transmit short video clips to a control room for improved monitoring,” Ruplal says. “It can register infringements like changing lanes without indicating, or crossing a solid barrier line.”

The technology – which has been proven in the trucking industry abroad – assists the driver by checking if there is a safe distance to the vehicle in front, recognising speed limit signs and detecting whether the seat belt is being worn.

“ADAS makes an important contribution to our coaching and training activities, as the data we gather is fed back to drivers to continuously improve their performance,” Ruplal says. “Used as a proactive warning system, the technology has generally received good support from drivers and their trade unions.”

He notes that De Beers Group’s contractors – who assume much of the company’s staff transportation function – have been quick to come on board and align with the ever more stringent safety standards.

De Beers leads from the front with mine safety initiatives

Following De Beers Group’s recent CEO Safety Summit, the diamond miner says it is facilitating co-design sessions necessary to establish roadmaps for each operation as part of the process towards finalising a group-wide safety framework.

The CEO Safety Summit initiative, now in its third year, is part of the company’s commitment to achieve zero harm throughout its global operations. It brings together a wide range of personnel from De Beers Group’s executive committee as well as general managers, safety and sustainable development leads and safety line managers.

It takes place every year in January and August and, over the course of a week, it sees teams collaborate and discuss the requirements needed to establish a safety framework that guides the company’s day-to-day operations and ensures zero harm for every employee.

The company’s recently appointed Principal Safety Lead, Willemien Potgieter, attended the recent summit, held in August, and believes it has positioned De Beers as a leader in driving safety within the mining sector.

Potgieter is a qualified Electrical Engineer, Project Manager and Engineering Safety Manager and has worked for the metal, pulp and paper, chrome, petroleum and mining sectors, applying her knowledge of engineering into safety leadership roles, De Beers says. In her position, she is driving safety across De Beers Group’s global operations in Canada, South Africa, Namibia and Botswana.

De Beers Group’s August 2019 CEO Safety Summit focused closely on six focus areas – leadership and culture, critical control management/fatal risk prevention, capacity building, learning and sharing and contractor management.

These areas will be built into a framework, each with their own priorities and outputs. “Importantly, all of the initiatives and actions we outline must be measureable and put into systems to create sustainable methodologies that support the framework,” Potgieter says.

Following the growing success from five summits since launch in 2017, Potgieter will facilitate co-design sessions necessary to establish roadmaps for each operation as part of the process towards finalising a safety framework. This will reduce resistance to change, ensure a clear alignment on deliverables and help build relationships and encourage knowledge sharing, she noted.

“Fifty per cent of the co-designed session work streams will be completed by January with the intention to have all the co-designed sessions completed by the second summit held in August,” she said.

While the steps taken in building a safe business is a work in progress, Potgieter noted that the implementation of actions and initiatives are always taking place in parallel to the CEO Safety Summits.

“Improving safety is an ongoing process and an area that receives priority and attention every day,” she concluded.

Element Six synthetic diamond will help hard rock cutting achieve true potential

Element Six, as a company, was set up to harness the unique properties of synthetic diamond (polycrystalline diamond or PCD) and tungsten carbide to deliver supermaterials that improve the efficiency, performance and reliability of industrial tools and technology, including in mining.

IM recently met with Element Six (E6) Global Sales Director, Mining, Road & WP, Markus Bening, to better understand what this means for the mining industry and what progress has been made.

It is worth remembering that the company while focussing on advanced materials also has a unique position in the industry, with diamond mining major De Beers Group the 100% owner of the technologies part of the business, and De Beers Group, itself, part of global mining company Anglo American. Some of the industry’s leading hard rock cutting technologies are already being used by these operators, at Anglo’s Twickenham platinum mine, for example. E6 also has all the required raw material sourcing and manufacturing capability such as advanced high pressure/high temperature presses in house to allow it to supply PCD solutions in the quality, consistency and quantity that will be needed to the mining global market.

In mining one of the most interesting markets is hard rock cutting, where the potential for Element Six materials is enormous in rock tools. In relevant ASTM tests such as B611-13, PCD performs up to 500 or 650 times better than tungsten carbide. Of course it has a significant price premium but its performance far, far outweighs this price gap. Bening stated: “PCD is a supermaterial so has a higher price but massive advantages in performance that come with it.”

 

 

 

 

 

Due to confidentiality agreements, Bening would not specify which OEMs are trialling PCD in the hard rock cutting space but confirmed that E6 is working on PCD prototype testing and trials with several leading players and has achieved impressive results.

Taking a hard rock cutting unit, E6 can supply the PCD material on its own, the whole component, the pick or the disc cutter, whatever the customer wants, but primarily E6 is a materials expert.

Bening told IM: “Today there is a lot of advanced testing and fine tuning using our PCD in the cutting tools of the latest hard rock cutting mining machines. In the next five to ten years I see continuous hard rock cutting going commercial throughout the mining industry and E6’s PCD technology will undoubtedly form an important part of that.”

As previously published by IM, major developers of continuous hard rock cutting machines for mining include Epiroc (Mobile Miner), Sandvik (MX650), Caterpillar (Rock Header/Rock Straight) and Komatsu (DynaCut).

And hard rock cutting is not the only mining focus. PCD also has potential in down the hole (DTH) drilling where Percussive Diamond Inserts are used on the bits, and again advanced trials are ongoing with the main global manufacturers of drill bits, with a lot of success so far. PCD means a lot of energy savings in bit use, and bits keeping their shape much longer meaning no regrinding is needed.