Tag Archives: South Africa

Kwatani customers set to benefit from Sandvik Rock Processing integration

Both local and foreign customers – as well as mineral processing OEMs looking for specialised solutions – are set to benefit from the recent acquisition of vibrating screen specialist Kwatani by global multinational Sandvik, according to the South Africa-based company.

The closing the transaction occurred late last year with Kwatani becoming part of Sandvik Rock Processing Solutions. 

The deal highlights South Africa’s world class nodes of excellence in the engineering sector, according to Kim Schoepflin, CEO of Kwatani, who says the Sandvik collaboration is a milestone for local industry. It also contributes significantly to the government’s industrialisation strategy, to foster world-class industries that can compete globally and promote job creation locally.

“The acquisition will allow Kwatani greater access into foreign markets through Sandvik’s extensive distribution network,” she says. “Our modern Kwatani facilities in Kempton Park, accredited in terms of ISO 9001:2015, is now the global engineering and manufacturing base for vibrating screens and feeders for customers.”

She adds that an added benefit for customers is the support they will receive through the Sandvik service network of engineers and technicians in the field. The proven interface between Kwatani and Sandvik equipment – for instance, a Kwatani screen feeding into a Sandvik crusher – will, the company says, add considerable value to customer’s purchasing choices.

“Customers get the best of both worlds, and can feel confident of the efficient dovetailing of our product ranges,” Schoepflin says.

Sandvik brings state-of-the-art resources which further leverage the benefits to Kwatani customers, the company says. This includes access to monitoring and automation processes as well as a depth of research and development into the application of technology like simulators.

Kwatani continues to invest heavily in its resources at its Kempton Park facilities, Schoepflin says, which employ and develop local expertise while sustaining a strong supply chain of local players. Sandvik supports this model, and shares the vision that business sustainability must be based on effective engagement, investment and commitment to the local economy. Kwatani’s local empowerment strategy supports transformation and is compliant with the South African Mining Charter.

“We work closely with local supply partners in our value chain – many of them being small businesses – to embed quality systems and manufacturing capacity,” Schoepflin says. “Customers can therefore be assured of quality throughout our products’ construction, with a reliable, sustainable and cost effective local production base.”

With its cost base rooted largely in the South African economy, Kwatani can offer customers a consistent pricing regime that is not vulnerable to frequent exchange rate fluctuations, it says. This has added to the popularity of Kwatani’s products at home and abroad, with the company twice being recognised in the Exporter of the Year awards hosted by the South African Capital Equipment Export Council (SACEEC).

“Our growth has allowed us to build our complement of competent staff, who are continuously upskilled to stay a step ahead of industry needs – with the help of our in-house training centre,” Schoepflin says.

An important indication of Kwatani’s depth of expertise and field experience is its ability to precision-engineer specific solutions for other OEMs in mineral processing. This extends to highly specialised equipment like sorters, which demand very precise feed characteristics and other protection.

“We are a partner of choice to OEMs whose equipment must operate within tight specifications, and which may have other specific requirements that a standard range of screens would not accommodate,” Schoepflin says.

Kwatani’s approach addresses the three key elements of vibrating screen performance: ore properties, screen design parameters and screening media. Its engineering solutions address all these priorities, Schoepflin says, giving customers optimal results at the lowest cost of ownership.

Zest WEG E-House powers up HIG mill at South Africa platinum mine

A purpose-designed electrical house (E-House) from Zest WEG is driving one of the largest new high intensity grinding (HIG) mills in the southern hemisphere, recently installed at a platinum mine in South Africa’s North West province, Zest WEG says.

The size and operational parameters of the mill place demanding requirements on the equipment in the E-House, according to Tyrone Willemse, Senior Proposals Manager at Zest WEG. Constructed in South Africa incorporating a range of products – produced and distributed by Zest WEG – the E-House design also delivers world-class standards of safety and fire protection, the company said.

“The key benefit of the prefabricated E-House concept is the time it saves the customer and the high level of quality that can be ensured through its construction and testing under ideal workshop conditions,” he says. “The process is also streamlined as the complete project falls under a single provider, who takes full responsibility for delivering on-time and on-budget.”

This E-House includes the HIG mill’s variable speed drive (VSD) and all its associated auxiliary circuits and starters. A range of WEG transformers and motors are also part of this project. With its extensive in-house expertise, Zest WEG generates fully detailed designs for its E-Houses, using 3D computer assisted design software.

“For this application, the E-House consists of a medium voltage room and a low voltage (LV) room,” Willemse notes. “The MV room houses the well-known WEG MVW01 VSD, with an integral oil type 12 pulse transformer manufactured locally at our transformer manufacturing facility in Wadeville.”

Willemse explains that the WEG MVW01 makes use of high voltage insulated-gate bipolar transistors, which lower the amount of power electronics needed. This also reduces the mean time to repair, so that operations can be quickly restored in the event of a major fault on the system.

“The WEG MVW01 powers a WEG 3.75 MW MGR eight pole 3.3 kV directly-coupled squirrel cage induction motor,” says Willemse. “This motor is specially designed to be vertically mounted to meet the HIG mill’s operation and maintenance requirements.”

Both the motor and the VSD were designed to meet the aggressive torque requirements during some phases of the mill’s operation. The combination handles the torque requirements that periodically exceed 170% for more than three minutes, giving the customer the necessary flexibility, according to Zest WEG. The LV room contains the motor control centre (MCC) that feeds all the auxiliary circuits of the mill.

“Importantly, we have installed the newly arc-proof type-tested IEC 61641 WEG board, which has the best rating for personal protection,” Willemse says. “In the event of an internal arc, the MCC is fitted with an explosion duct that transfers any explosion safely out of the building.”

Another aspect of the safety features is a fire detection and suppression system that meets the customer’s demands. The two rooms are fitted with their own fully automated room-flooding suppression systems, which can flood the space with gas that douses electrical fires but is not dangerous to humans.

“The system can detect smoke at a very early stage, and can also check against false triggering,” Willemse says. “More than two smoke detectors must react, activating a loud bell for evacuation or cancellation, before flooding takes place.”

The LV room also houses WEG CFW11 LV VSDs, which feed premium efficient WEG motors. The E-House’s small power and lighting circuits are fed by one of Zest WEG’s locally manufactured SANS780-compliant transformers.

Second Doppelmayr RopeCon goes live at Northam’s Booysendal mine

The second Doppelmayr RopeCon® system at Northam Platinum’s Booysendal platinum mine in South Africa has gone live, helping transport approximately 400 t/h of mined material over a distance of 2.8 km and a difference in elevation of -160 m.

A RopeCon system has been transporting platinum ore at Booysendal since the end of 2018, with this first installation transporting some 909 t/h of material over a circa-4.8 km distance through hilly terrain.

In December 2021, the second installation at Booysendal North was handed over to the customer.

The Booysendal North RopeCon discharges the material into the same silo from which the material is loaded onto the Booysendal South system, which makes it a perfect link in a continuous conveying line, Doppelmayr explained. Since early 2022, the second loading point along the line has been in use, too. The option of an alternative loading point was provided at tower 2. A conventional feeder conveyor transports the material to the RopeCon line where it is loaded directly onto the belt via a chute.

RopeCon, developed by Doppelmayr, offers the advantages of a ropeway and combines them with the properties of a conventional belt conveyor, according to the company. It essentially consists of a flat belt with corrugated side walls: just as on conventional belt conveyors, the belt performs the haulage function. It is driven and deflected by a drum in the head or tail station and fixed to axles arranged at regular intervals to carry it. The axles are fitted with plastic running wheels which run on fixed anchored track ropes and guide the belt. The track ropes are elevated off the ground on tower structures.

“By using the RopeCon system, the customer did not have to rely on trucks to transport the material, a definite advantage in this topographically challenging terrain with its sometimes very steep roads,” the company said. “Furthermore, using the roads only for the transport of people and supplies will have a positive effect on road maintenance costs.”

Booysendal was also particularly careful to choose a transport system that would minimise the environmental footprint of the mine. By guiding the RopeCon over towers, the space required on the ground is reduced to a minimum, or more precisely to the tower locations. At the same time, the system does not represent an insurmountable obstacle for wildlife or humans. The track crosses a number of roads, and even wildlife can roam freely underneath the RopeCon, according to Doppelmayr.

African Star appoints new mining contractor at Oena diamond mine

Southstone Minerals Ltd’s 43% owned subsidiary, African Star Minerals, has entered into a contract mining and diamond recovery agreement with Oryx Mining for the Oena diamond mine, in South Africa.

Oryx, at its own cost and expense, will provide and maintain all the plant and equipment as required to perform the mining services, Southstone says.

The diamonds produced by Oryx will be sold via a designated tender facility in South Africa and 80% of the gross income of net diamond sales, less commission, will be paid to Oryx for the duration of the 36-month agreement, the company explained. For any individual stones recovered with a gross selling price, less commission, of greater that ZAR10 million ($664,529) Oryx will be paid 70% of the gross income.

Oryx specialises in the processing of alluvial diamond deposits in South Africa and the operation is currently targeting to operate 24 h/d, six days a week with total headfeed capacity of 200 t/h. Equipment and road building is ongoing, and it is expected production will commence in May 2022.

The contract award follows the conclusion of mining by another contractor, Bluedust 7 Propriety Ltd.

Oena consists of an 8,800-ha mining right located along the Orange River in a well-established alluvial diamond-mining province that produces high quality and large sized diamonds.

Assmang orders battery-electric mining equipment for Black Rock manganese mine

Epiroc says a large fleet of battery-electric mining equipment will be deployed at Assmang Proprietary Ltd’s Black Rock underground manganese mine in the Northern Cape of South Africa after the two companies signed an agreement.

Assmang has ordered several of Epiroc’s battery loaders and mine trucks – the Scooptram ST14 Battery and Minetruck MT42 Battery, respectively – for the deployment. The order was booked in the March quarter of 2022 and is valued at SEK120 million ($12.5 million).

The order extends Assmang’s and Epiroc’s collaboration to use state-of-the-art solutions for optimised operations at the mine, Epiroc said. Assmang has previously ordered the same type of battery-electric machines for this mine, and, in 2019,  selected Epiroc’s Mobilaris Mining Intelligence digital solution, which provides superior situational awareness of the mining operation in real-time

“Epiroc is proud to support Assmang on its journey toward lower emissions through the use of our cutting-edge battery-electric machines, while also prioritising productivity and safety,” Helena Hedblom, Epiroc’s President and CEO, said.

The Scooptram ST14 Battery and Minetruck MT42 Battery machines, manufactured in Örebro, Sweden, are built to face the toughest conditions and are packed with intelligent features, according to Epiroc. They will be equipped with a Collision Avoidance System as well as with the telematics system, Certiq, which allows for automated monitoring of productivity and machine performance.

Master Drilling talks up MTB 2.0 as it progresses work on Shaft Boring System

Master Drilling Group’s annual results presentation provided a few eye-opening updates on the company’s mechanised mine development fronts, with Director, Koos Jordaan, highlighting a potential first deployment of the company’s Shaft Boring System (SBS) at Royal Bafokeng Platinum’s Styldrift mine in South Africa.

A raiseboring specialist that has diversified into other complementary areas over the last decade, Master Drilling has consistently devoted capital towards its technology developments.

During the 2021 annual results presentation, Jordaan confirmed that the company had started tunnelling work on an exploration decline at Anglo American Platinum’s Mogalakwena PGM mine in South Africa, using its Mobile Tunnel Borer (MTB), as well as highlighted the ongoing development of a next-generation design that would cater to the industry need to safely and quickly establish twin declines for mine access.

The MTB is a modular horizontal cutting machine equipped with full-face cutter head with disc cutters adapted from traditional tunnel boring machines. Unlike these traditional machines, it is designed to work both on inclines and declines, with the ability to navigate around corners and construct 5.5-m diameter decline access tunnels.

Having initially been tested in a quarry in Italy in soft rock, it then made the trip back to South Africa to carry out a 1.4 km project at Northam Platinum’s Eland platinum group metals operation in South Africa, in harder rock. This project was terminated in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, however, the company announced it had signed an agreement with Anglo American Platinum to deploy the MTB at Mogalakwena as part of a turnkey contract to sink an exploration decline.

On the development of MTB 2.0, Jordaan said: “We are already working on the second-gen MTB being confident that the concept provides competitive value versus the past as well as other current developments.”

He said the company envisioned future projects using two MTBs simultaneously to establish traditional twin declines for access to underground mines for fast access from “A-to-B” and a quick turnaround to steady-state mining operations.

The company is also carrying out early-stage work with Element Six and the De Beers Group on cut and break technology which, when applied in tandem with the use of the MTB, could enable even more continuous cutting applications.

Element Six, as a company, was established 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. One of the obvious applications was in hard-rock cutting where OEMs have trialled PCD materials.

Jordaan said the company could leverage cut and break technology with MTBs to create flat floors and breakaways, allowing the circular MTB to continue cutting the face without stoppages.

Looking at vertical developments, Jordaan also provided an update on the SBS.

This machine was initially billed as a blind shaft boring system able to sink 4.5-m diameter shafts in hard-rock down to 1,500 m depth.

Last year, Jordaan said it planned on introducing a “smaller scope system” as part of its introduction to the industry, adding that it had signed a letter of intent with a prospective South Africa project that could see a machine start sinking activities in the first half of 2022.

In the most recent update, he said the letter of intent was with Royal Bafokeng Platinum’s Styldrift mine.

“We are now building the SBS and working towards hopefully converting the letter of intent from RB Platinum to a contract award; we already engaged with them in investigation and readiness work should approval be granted,” he said.

The first SBS being built is a 4.1-m-diameter scope machine with a capability of sinking shafts up to 1,500 m depth, according to Jordaan, who explained that this “smaller shaft scope” was part of a plan to lower the machine’s implementation cost.

“But we are already engaged with opportunities regarding a larger scope of service,” he clarified. “The cost benefit of this method drastically increases as the scope increases versus conventional sinking.”

Aside from the MTB and SBS projects, Jordaan said the company was working on the LP100 development project for its raiseboring division. This is a highly mobile and high-capacity articulated wheel carrier to carry out up and down slots, as well as smaller raiseboring holes, remotely, he explained. At the same time as this the company is looking at developing electric track carriers for its raisebores that, when applied, would come with a much lower carbon footprint.

This came on top of plans for a new box hole boring machine, two new core drilling rigs – one for underground and one for surface – and an experimental rock cutter machine it is working on with African Rainbow Minerals in South Africa.

Total Eren, Chariot and Tharisa to build solar PV plant at PGM mine

Total Eren, a renewable energy independent power producer, and Chariot, an Africa-focused transitional energy company, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Tharisa plc to develop, finance, construct, own, operate and maintain a solar photovoltaic project for the supply of electricity to the Tharisa PGM mine, in the North West province, South Africa.

The solar PV project is initially anticipated to be 40 MW peak with demand expected to increase over the life of the Tharisa Mine. This MoU is the first step towards implementation of the project and signing of a long-term Power Purchase Agreement for the supply of electricity on a take-or-pay basis, the companies said.

Fabienne Demol, Executive Vice-President & Global Head of Business Development of Total Eren, said: “We are very pleased to be entering into this MoU with Tharisa. Through our partnership with Chariot, we are keen to assist mining companies in Africa to reduce their carbon intensity and energy costs, via implementing renewable power solutions into their operations. We are eager to bring our global expertise in solar generation to Tharisa mine and we look forward to delivering further renewable projects for our mining customers in Africa and worldwide.”

Benoit Garrivier, Chariot Transitional Power CEO, added: “This is a great outcome for Chariot’s Transitional Power division and demonstrates the financial and sustainable benefits that our offering can bring to mining companies operating in Africa. The Tharisa team are very forward looking and understand that the addition of a solar PV project at their mine in South Africa will bring significant benefits to the business. Together with Total Eren, we are excited to start working on the financing and development of the project and we will update the market further on this and other opportunities that we are progressing in due course.”

Tebogo Matsimela, Head of ESG at Tharisa, said: “Tharisa plays a significant part in the global energy transition movement, and we are committed to producing these key metals in a sustainable manner. The solar power solution provided by Total Eren is but one of several steps we are taking to ensure our flagship Tharisa Mine, which has a life of mine of over 50 years, has a reduced carbon footprint.

“Our goal is to reduce our carbon emissions by 30% by 2030 and ultimately become net carbon neutral by 2050.”

Tharisa Minerals produces PGM concentrate and metallurgical- and specialty-grade chrome concentrates from a shallow open-pit mine near Rustenburg, North West province. The Genesis and Voyager plants at the operation have a combined nameplate capacity of 4.8 Mt/y of run of mine.

Botswana diamond mine feels the impact of Weba Chute Systems custom solution

Faced with a challenge of large rocks in the run-of-mine (ROM) feed regularly damaging main support structures, chutes and a grizzly feeder, a diamond mine in Botswana reached out to Weba Chute Systems to design a solution to overcome this costly challenge, which included major safety hazards.

According to Hilton Buys, Regional Manager at Weba Chute Systems, the mine’s existing chutes at the ROM section were cracking and breaking under the barrage of heavy kimberlite rocks measuring up to 1 m in diameter.

“Even the robust grizzly feeder could not withstand the impact of these rocks, which were free-falling about two metres from an apron feeder before contact,” Buys said. “Apart from the costs incurred by this damage, the transfer points were posing a significant safety hazard to mine employees.”

The solution – designed and manufactured at Weba Chute Systems’ Wadeville facility – was a special four-tonne swing door in a discharge chute, feeding from the apron feeder to the grizzly. The heavy, fabricated door is strong enough to withstand the impact while absorbing the energy of the falling rocks before allowing them to drop onto the loading section of the grizzly. The feed can then move in a more controlled manner over the grizzly into the crusher below.

“The key principle was for the door not to give way easily, thereby reducing the velocity and momentum of the large chunks,” Buys said.

There was also a design requirement to accommodate the movement of smaller rocks. This was dealt with through the addition of a second door, to also ease these rocks onto the grizzly to ensure a more gradual feed into the crusher feed chute. The success of the design, which is based on the Weba Chute Systems principle of controlled flow, has been demonstrated in the chute’s ability to operate with very little maintenance, he says. The only components needing regular attention are chute lips and swing door rails.

“We also included some specific design elements in the crusher feed chute, by installing impact rubbers,” Buys said. “Any rocks that may diverge from the main flow stream will then strike this rubber, minimising the vibration and impact on the body of the chute and are still able to drop gently into the crusher.”

Following on the success of this design, the solution was repeated at other customers’ sites, including mines in the Northern Cape which experienced similar challenges.

Kwatani adds to Northern Cape iron ore reference list with latest screening installation

South Africa-based vibrating screen and feeder specialist Kwatani will soon add another installation to its extensive footprint in the Northern Cape, this time for a new customer in the iron ore mining segment.

“We have over 1,000 screens, grizzlies and feeders in this important mining region, giving us a market share of about 95% of heavy-duty screening applications there,” Jan Schoepflin, Kwatani’s General Manager: Sales and Service, said. “With our well-established branch in Kathu, we are also able to assure our new customer of quick and highly competent service levels.”

The ore characteristics of iron ore demands mechanically robust screening equipment and Kwatani has built a name for itself in these applications, according to metallurgist Frengelina Mabotja, Kwatani’s, Head of Sales for SADC. “Our equipment is engineered for tonnage and continuous throughput, without compromising efficiencies,” Mabotja said.

Kwatani’s scope of work on the 700 t/h dry processing plant includes a 1.5-m-wide grizzly screen to remove fines from the run-of-mine material before it reports to secondary crushing and a 1.5-m-single deck scalping screen. The company will also install two 2.4-m-wide, double-deck sizing screens to separate material after secondary crushing, and five feeders to draw material from bins and stockpiles onto conveyor belts for feeding onto the downstream process.

“Our niche expertise allowed us to, once again, offer high performance sizing screens customised for this unique dry sizing application and optimise material separation by achieving the required cut size for the customer’s desired product size,” Mabotja said. “Our solution optimises the material separation while maximising efficiency and ensuring mechanical reliability for continuous and economical production.”

She highlights the depth of in-house experience – from both a metallurgical and mechanical approach– which allows Kwatani to assist the decision making of customers on equipment choice and specifications.

“Through the work of our design team, supported by our manufacturing and testing facilities, we have ensured that the solution will be fit for purpose and reliable,” she said. “The customer was also able to visit our 17,000 sq.m local manufacturing operation in Kempton Park regularly to see how we work, to check on fabrication progress and to witness the testing process.”

The equipment was completed on a tight deadline of 8-12 weeks, for delivery by year-end in line with the customer’s timeframe, according to the company.

“Our fully-equipped branch in the Northern Cape, staffed by specialists with decades of mining experience, will oversee the installation and commissioning of the equipment,” Mabotja said. “Our team will also schedule regular site visits to monitor on the equipment’s performance and condition, and advise on maintenance requirements.”

To underpin the reliable operation of all equipment supplied, Kwatani will also provide training for the customer’s maintenance personnel in the basic maintenance routines required.

Kwatani became a part of Sandvik Rock Processing Solutions late last year.

BME’s achieves another record-breaking blast with AXXIS Titanium electronic detonators

Another record-breaking blast has been notched up by Omnia Group company BME using its latest generation AXXIS Titanium™ electronic detonation system.

The blast of 5,209 detonators was conducted recently at a chrome mine in South Africa’s North West province, according to Tinus Brits, BME’s Global Product Manager – AXXIS. Brits highlighted how the enhanced features of AXXIS Titanium allows mines to respond quickly and easily to raised production demands.

“While a record blast is always an achievement to be celebrated, this was a standard production blast requiring nothing different or extra from the mine,” he said. “The ease-of-use of AXXIS Titanium, the speed at which blasts can be prepared, and its rapid testing features make this possible.”

The dual-voltage basis of the new system means that detonators can be tested while they are logged in, with the logging and testing conducted as a single function. As a result, this record blast could be primed, charged, tied-up, logged, tested and programmed in just two days.

“With AXXIS Titanium, the logger does everything for you,” Brits said. Multiple loggers were used on the blast, with each operator logging a portion of the blast to speed up the process; the log files were then seamlessly combined.

By consuming less energy, AXXIS Titanium allows up to 1,000 detonators to be initiated by each blasting box – reducing the amount of equipment that is needed on site.

“This helps improve the reliability of blasts, as there are fewer items of equipment to communicate with each other,” Brits said. “These high levels of reliability ensure a quality blast with no misfires, even in single-prime blasts – where there is just one detonator per hole – as was the case in this record blast.”

He also emphasised the intuitive fault-finding capacity of the AXXIS Titanium system, which identifies those detonators which have not been logged onto the harness wire. The operator is informed precisely where the relevant detonator is to be found, so it can be quickly logged.

“It also solves the problem of ‘intruders’ – those detonators that were accidentally missed during the logging process,” Brits said. “Again, the operator can speedily fix this issue wherever it occurs, ensuring that there are no misfires in the blast.”

The design of the AXXIS Titanium connector is another important factor, allowing blasters to log and test detonators without the need to open the connector. The gel in the connector that ensures a good seal, therefore, is not disturbed during testing and logging.

“It only gets opened up once you connect it to the surface wire, which is why the sealing of our connectors is so good – eradicating resistance or leakage on the block,” Brits said.