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Contents September - October 2017, Volume 12 No.5






Front Cover: A solid foundation for sustainable entrepreneurship An enterprise development initiative that combines financial assistance and rigorous mentorship, Anglo American’s Zimele has the highest success rate than similar programmes targeted at small and medium enterprises (SME's) in South Africa. COUNTRY EDITOR SOUTH AFRICA Jimmy Swira GRAPHIC/WEB DESIGN Augustine Ombwa COUNTRY LIAISON Thuthukile Mhlanga Thuli Nkosi ADVERTISING EXECUTIVES South Africa: Winnie Sentabire, Angeline Ntobeng, Nigeria: Seni Bello

Published by College Publishers a subsidiary of Group Africa Publishing Ltd African Mining Brief is published six times a year and is circulated to members of relevant associations, governmental bodies and other personnel in the mining industry as well as suppliers of equipment, materials and services in Africa, the Middle and Far East. The editor welcomes articles and photographs for consideration. Material may not be reproduced without prior permission from the publisher. The publisher does not accept responsibility for the accuracy or authenticity of advertisements or contributions contained in the journal. Views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of the publisher.

inside this issue...

Editor’s word

Editor's Note 1 News 2 High pressure water jets for deep-level stope cleaning 3 Cables: VFD cables - changing the game 6 Crushing, screening and milling 7 MB Crusher 9 nabling cost-effective crushing, demolition and screening on-site Gold mining projects 10 Banking on gold’s consistent glitter Hand-held XRF analysers in mining: 12 Hand-held handiness Mine health & Safety 14 Negligence, not fate: the main cause of accidents Self-contained Self-rescuers 15 Rigorous testing key to consistent performance Hydrogen gas detection 17 Fatigue management 18 Accurate information is the most potent tool Document storage 20 From document management to enterprise information hub Container-fitted solar power solutions 22 CDE ‘all on one chassis’ 26 Drill rig alignment: Accurate alignment for superior drilling efficiency Drill rig alignment 30 Accurate alignment for superior drilling efficiency Aerial Ropeways 32 The business case for using aerial ropeways Moisture In Transformers Solution 33 Shovel-based payload monitoring 36 Acid Proofing 37 Increasing uptime through preventative maintenance Mineral assay and testing 38 Informed decisions through real ore value

Building bridges of cooperation imperative

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The editor accepts letters and manuscripts for publication from readers all over the world. Include your name and address as a sign of good faith although you may request your name to be withheld from publication. We reserve the right to edit any material submitted . Send your letters to:


t is hard to fail to notice that, in most mining jurisdictions in Africa, there is a growing schism in the relationship

between mining companies, on the one hand, and key stakeholders, including communities, trade unions, businesses, governments and special interest groups, on the other. This development has become more conspicuous as sluggish conditions in the global mining sector persist. Toxic, the growing mistrust amongst stakeholders has taken off focus from devising innovative ways to cushion the mining sector from effects of a depression, which can be economically devastating to respective countries. Beyond question, while genuine concerns from stakeholders cannot be casually dismissed, what the sector needs now urgently to stay afloat is building firm bridges of cooperation.

Jimmy Swira

Regional Offices South Africa Office College Publishers Ltd 1st Floor, No.267 Oak Street, Oakfields, Randburg Tel: +27 11 781 4253 / Fax: +27 11 781 4287 E-mail: info@

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Ghana Office Image Consortium Limited 1st Floor, The Trust Bank Building, Tesano Tel: 233(0) 302 232 728 Fax: 233 (0) 024 882 8286 Email: ghana@





Nigeria signs oil financing deals with Shell, Chevron

Banro considering taking its DRC mines underground

Government forfeits over 1000 mining claims

DRC-focused gold producer Banro is investigating the possibility of establishing underground mining under the existing open pits at its Twangiza and Namoya mines. The announcement was made in its Q2, 2017 financial results which delivered poor production performances from both mines. Banro says adit access by horizontal or nearly horizontal shafts would be employed due to the mines Nigeria has signed financing deals with oil majors Shell and Chevron to develop projects that would boost reserves and revenue, the state-run oil firm said a few weeks ago. "Two sets of alternative financing agreements on Joint Venture (JV) projects to boost reserves and production in line with government's aspiration were executed in London on Monday," said a statement by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in Abuja. "The two projects are expected to generate incremental revenues of about $16 billion within the assets' life cycle including a flurry of exploratory activities that would generate employment opportunities in the industry, boost gas supply to power and rejuvenate Nigeria's industrial capacity utilisation," it said.

favorable topography, which could be less capital intensive than typical underground mining operations.This will further minimise costs through improving operating efficiency and optimising operating procedures. Resulting in increased production and processing capacities while maintaining economic benefits and strong environmental and safety standards.

South Africa South Africa’s mining minister justifies contentious charter Mineral Resources Minister, Mosebenzi Zwane, has reiterated that he strongly believes the new Mining Charter is realistic and achievable. This he said during an address to Black Business Council breakfast in Houghton on radical economic transformation. The revised Mining Charter states which receives criticism from various industry players state, among other things, that there should be a minimum of 30% black ownership of mines. According to Zwane, the Charter brings out "the much-sought policy certainty that the investment community and the mining industry have been requesting from the government since the review of the charter began". “We do not want a continuation of what has occurred in the past, where deals that were structured only left the black shareholders with no real benefit being realised.” Zwane said it was time people stopped using the phrase radical economic transformation without implementing crucial policies.

The Zimbabwean Government has forfeited more than 1 000 gold mining claims belonging to individuals and companies in Matabeleland North Province for failure to pay inspection fees since last year and beyond, as it forges ahead with its “use it or lose it” policy aimed at enhancing mineral production. Matabeleland North provincial mining director, Julius Moyo, confirmed the forfeiting of the claims in terms of Section 260 and 261 of the Mines and Minerals Act (Chapter 21:05) after the lapsing of a one month grace period to clear their arrears by 31 July. A miner is required to pay an inspection fee of $100 six months upon starting operations, thereafter one is subjected to paying the same amount yearly per mining claim. “Our mandate is to see to it that the miners pay their inspection fees to Government every year.

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September - October 2017

High pressure water jets for deep-level stope cleaning

No rock left unturned in stope cleaning New inventions are giving more credence to the efficacy of high pressure water jets in stope face cleaning in deep-level mines.


mproving safety, increasing productivity, and cutting costs are the top priorities amongst mining companies, but translating these into reality can be quite a daunting mission. Certainly, it is emerging that one of the options that mine operators can consider is the use of high pressure water jet technology for stope cleaning applications in deep-level environments. One wound wonder: Can stope cleaning really make much of a difference in the bigger scheme of increasing efficiency, improving safety and cost reduction? The thing is: As much as possible, mining companies have to ensure that no stone is unturned in their efforts to achieve these three core objectives in every critical task, stope face cleaning being one of them. Cleaning cycle a big bottle neck The cleaning cycle has been identified as one of the hindrances to productivity a at the stope face. Conventional methods of removing rocks from the stope face, which are more tied to labour productivity than the very

A cleaned stope ready for drilling deep-down a Platinum mine in South Africa

mechanical devices utilised, do not just suffice. The main challenge is the amount of rock that can be hauled in a narrow space. Worse still, physical limitations of the worker render this task impossible. Moreover, workers are exposed to safety risks in the course of moving the rocks, with a possibility of injury or some fatality. So, it is inconceivable to overburden workers under these conditions. The high pressure alternative Indeed, there is need for an alternative method that can simplify the arduous task of

stope cleaning. The use high pressure water jet has emerged as a convenient proposition. Encouragingly, engineering advances have resulted in products that are sufficiently safe, rugged and reliable. In addition, results of findings worldwide substantiate the efficacy of using high pressure water jets in stope cleaning. Remarkably, much higher face-cleaning rates are being achieved. Labour productivity is much improved as the scraper does not have to be rerigged during the cleaning operation, and sweeping fines is no longer necessary. While high water jet cleaning has worked like a charm, there is

differentiation – in some cases glaring in the quality of products – and mine operators have to do their homework thoroughly when making procurement decisions. The long and the short is that, if a decision is made to be made about adopting high pressure water jet technology, the following facts about a product have to be considered: • Performance volume (litres) per minute • Made of robust material to protect the systems and ensure safety of operators • Compact to allow for ease of manoeuvrability • Low maintenance What OEMs should address There are two major concerns which OEMs should consider in their ongoing Research and Development (R&D) initiatives. To accommodate concerns about the escalating cost of power, new powering alternatives, or energy saving innovations, should be explored. Besides, considering that high pressure water jets are water-intensive, perhaps new water efficient could also be looked into.

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Anglo American's Enterprise Development Milestones

A solid foundation for sustainable entrepreneurship Hlonela Lupuwana-Pemba Managing Director Zimele


his year, Anglo American is celebrating 100 years since its founding in South Africa by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer. The company has chalked up a number of milestones over the years. However, doubtless, the most important achievement of all Anglo American’ initiatives is Zimele. The formation of Zimele in 1989 – five years before the ushering in the of the country’s all-inclusive democracy – demonstrated Anglo American’s foresight. The mining giant realised that, for all racial groups to truly enjoy the fruits of the new dispensation, initiatives meant to narrow the economic gap between them were paramount. In an interview with African Mining Brief, Managing Director of Anglo American’s Zimele, Hlonela LupuwanaPemba, outlines the initiative’s objectives and main accomplishments, more especially post-1994. According to Lupuwana-Pemba, Anglo American established Zimele as a special entity to promote small and medium enteprises (SMEs) and supplier development, particularly amongst black entrepreneurs, through capacity building and access to credit. “Zimele was founded with the aim of creating a long economic activity in the areas where we mine, and surrounding communities, with a strong focus on supporting black entrepreneurs,” she explains. Financial support and practical mentorship The Zimele model entails support for SMEs that combines financial support, in the form of subsidised loans and or equity finance, with practical mentorship. The Enterprise Development programme is primarily focused on SMEs linked to Anglo American's 4

An enterprise development initiative that combines financial assistance and rigorous mentorship, Anglo American’s Zimele has the highest success rate than similar programmes targeted at small and medium enterprise (SME) development that exist in South Africa. supply chain, local procurement efforts, as well as labour sending areas. Through a network of nationwide small business hubs, Zimele enables SMEs across the country to access business assistance facilities, knowledge, infrastructure, and support. Lupuwana-Pemba underscores the importance of Enterprise Development: “Facilitating enterprise development is one of the most effective means of ensuring that the benefits for host communities arising out of mining activities will be sustainable. Targeted Enterprise Development has the potential to boost small business and, through its multiplier effect, to address the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality.” In a nutshell, Zimele has the following portfolio of funds under its ambit: • The Supply Chain Fund • The Community Fund • The Sebenza Fund Rigorous approach Anglo American’s successful approach to enterprise and supplier development hinges on rigorous due diligence, while other programmes solely focus on providing financial assistance to SMEs. The company’s enterprise development starts with a rigorous due-diligence process, complemented by incubation and off-take agreements which open access to markets, in addition to the developmental funding at low rates, and often below prime. Lupuwana-Pemba believes that these elements enable selected businesses to truly “stand on their own feet.” Abreast of market conditions In contrast with the way similar ESD programmes are managed on the market,

Anglo has ensured that Zimele is always is in line with market conditions and the developmental needs of the SMEs and entrepreneurs, through ‘pivoting’, says Lupuwana-Pemba. “The ability—to learn, reflect and make adjustments to our strategy—has been behind our success.” Furthermore, Zimele’s success is down to the relationships and partnerships it has built with many various public and private entities success. Recently, in response to rapid changes in the mining sector, Anglo American Zimele is placing a greater focus on SMEs that can be linked to Anglo American’s supply chain, as well as those businesses that create sustainable employment opportunities in mining communities and labour-sending areas. Integrating black SMES As much as possible, Anglo has been integrating black SMEs in its supply chain, as a deliberate effort and commitment to transformation. However, as LupuwanaPemba acknowledges, there is need to address some challenges, which include: getting scale and diversifying the customer base, especially where the location is largely rural. Technical partnerships for skills transfer are paramount, she adds. Obstacles It would be remiss, admits Lupuwana-Pemba, not to acknowledge that there are some challenges experienced in the management of Zimele: • Access to markets remainsa key problem as most start-ups do not always secure long-term off-take agreements September - October 2017

and/or contracts. • Building multi-stakeholder partnerships, and working closely with diverse communities, takes time On the upside, the fruits of a successful enterprise development and job creation programme are transformational enterprises grow, and new jobs help create a tangible difference in people’s lives and communities. Well-recognised model So far, Zimele, which means “to stand on one’s own feet” in the South African Nguni languages, has become a well-recognised model that demonstrates how large corporates can stimulate enterprise development and supply chain linkages. Constraints It has to be acknowledged that some challenges are being experienced in the implementation of Zimele. Lupuwana-Pemba singles out the two main challenges as: • Access to markets remains a key problem as most start-ups do not always secure long-term off-take agreements and/or contracts. • Building multi-stakeholder partnerships, and working closely with diverse communities, takes time On the upside, the fruits of a successful enterprise development and job creation programme are transformational enterprises grow, and new jobs help create a tangible difference in people’s lives and communities.“We are proud of the role we are playing of empowering entrepreneurs and, as such, Zimele enables employment opportunities, and promotes pride and prosperity - making a real difference to countless communities in South Africa,” LupuwanaPemba says.

An extraordinary success story

There are several success stories, and singling out one does not do justice to the variety of SMEs that have successfully partnered with Anglo American on their growth journey. However, undeniably, one of the most exceptional recent successes is Adelaide Ruiters Mining and Exploration (ARME) —a recent investee that Anglo American funded to conduct a bankable feasibility study for a phosphate mine and fertilizer beneficiation plant for agriculture in the Saldanha area of the Western Cape. Fittingly, the founder, Adelaide Ruiters, received the 2017 Woman Super Achiever Award at the International World Women Leadership Congress in Mumbai, India in February this year. Remarkably, Adelaide’s journey to this significant milestone was not without any challenges. With limited resources, and operating in an industry that continues to be dominated by men, Adelaide is making her mark in producing and beneficiating fertilizers for the Agriculture industry.

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Anglo American Zimele’s impact from 2008 till 31 December 2016



Three ways VFD cables are changing the game Variable Frequency Drive cables are amongst products that can enable mines cope with trends which pose a big burden to their operations from mine to mill.


ariable Frequency Drive (VFD) cables are changing the way mining companies manage their operations, who knows? Perhaps more is yet to come. It should not be surprising why the industry is excited. Before analysing the impact which VFDs are having, a basic understanding of what they are and how they work is important. Essentially, VFD cables transmit power to AC motors. In comparison to single-speed motor control, a VFD provides superior performance in terms of motor control and cost effectiveness. Characteristically, VFD cables use larger, symmetrically wrapped grounding conductors, along with foil braid and/or copper tape shielding. These properties help reduce standing waves and harmonic noise, extending the life and reducing maintenance issues on the motor, cabling and drive. The grounding methods also prevent capacitive coupling, charging, and noise from affecting nearby electrical equipment. The following are some of the ways in which VFDs are altering the mining landscape forever:

Variable Frequency Drive cables

2. Sustainability Objectives It’s a well-known fact that the mining industry has traditionally been a major fossil fuel energy user. To keep up with global demand, the mining sector is expanding into new and remote locations. Mining companies are facing increasing pressure from governments, communities and watchdog organizations to operate sustainably. One step towards reaching sustainability goals is to use systems that require less power. VFDs are more energy efficient than single-speed motor control. They can also reduce power draw when the motor starts up by slowly increasing the motor speed. This lowers electric utility demand charges. By making VFDs part of a sustainability program, the mining sector can take a step closer to reaching energy efficiency objectives.

1. Adapting to Automation With advances in technology and robotics, mining is becoming more automated. This is offering the mining sector benefits like greater safety and improved productivity. Robotics, 3D imaging, sensors, teleoperated drilling solutions, and remote operating centers are all expected to provide simplicity and data-driven insights. VFD cables increase safety and reduce downtime compared to standard power cables. With VFDs, it’s easier to control the motor at varying speeds. Operators can accurately control load to a specific speed. As the mining industry moves towards increased automation, VFDs assure a reliable solution to prepare for future technologies.

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Crushing, screening and milling

Thorough inspection key to consistent equipment uptime Mines have to be proactive in their approach to crusher management as they navigate their operations in a depressed sector, writes MATIMU MAHUNDLA. fits, lubrication or re-lubrication activity, or contamination from poor sealing. Based on that, necessary steps can be taken. In this way, unwarranted stoppages can be avoided. It is advisable that proper re-lubrication schedule should be created for appropriate bearing operating temperatures. This can maximise the lifecycle of bearings. Accordingly, it is recommended that routine lubrication be undertaken at all times, even when equipment seems to be performing well.

Sound maintenance is key to long crusher uptime (Credits: Metso)


s they are ramping up production, the last thing mine operators would loath to encounter in the current industry downturn is equipment downtime. Nevertheless, the reality is that, inevitably, critical machinery malfunctions when least expected, resulting in decline in production and loss of potential revenue. And so, mines have to ensure that their equipment functions at optimal levels all the time if they are to remain sustainable. However, sound management of crushers requires thorough comprehension of the complexities involved and the related requirements. Typically, crushers are prone to high frequency of downtime, due to the harsher environments in which they operate. In fact, it is estimated that crusher stoppages (shutdowns) at the peak of production can

cost a mine the loss of about US$200, 000 per hour. It is ghastly to contemplate how much this would translate in a day! And how it would impact on the bottom-line in the current environment, at that! Roller bearing damage Roller bearings are key to the performance of crushers. One of the common problems that are experienced is roller bearing failure, which can adversely impact on equipment life and reliability. The common cause of bearing failure or damage is poor lubrication or overlubrication. Forestalling breakdown Through a thorough routine inspection, a mine can be able to identify a poor lubricated roller bearing, issues with the shaft or housing

Operators should be trained in the basics requirements of maintenance

Preventative crusher maintenance tools Mining companies have access to state of the art tools that are handy in implementing respective preventative crusher maintenance programmes. Equipped with the tools, a mine can predict crusher downtime and metrics for optimising downstream processes, using scan technology and modeling software, both in real-time and near real-time. Collecting data helps to monitor crusher health status, evaluate wear patterns and take steps to attend to components that need replacement or repair to avoid shutdown. Eventually, a crusher can be saved from component breaks, unscheduled maintenance and attendant production losses. Raising employee awareness The most aspect in crusher performance management is raising awareness amongst employees. Lack of awareness about the rudiments of crusher management amongst employees, due to insufficient on-the-job training, can contribute to crusher failure. So, training relevant personnel in areas such as proper fitting and care, proper sealing, lubrication can ensure that a crusher is an optimal condition. Proactive All in all, mines have to be proactive in their approach to crusher management as they navigate their operations successfully in a depressed sector. If they are to stay afloat in their current environment, there is no margin for error in how they implement critical processes.

September - October 2017


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MB Crusher

Enabling cost-effective crushing, demolition and screening on-site One of the world’s leaders in equipment for crushing, demolition and recycling, MB Crusher offers the widest range of crusher buckets to suit the client requirements globally. additional operator (other than the one who operates the excavator). Moreover, it saves fuel that would have been used up by a mobile crusher, which would in any event be powered by an excavator. iii. Superior performance The crusher bucket is respected for superior performance. Its power exceeds exceeds 110m3/hour, allowing the bucket to crush the hardest and most tenacious materials such as basalt and granite. This ensures a finished product with the lowest price in the market and in compliance with the high quality standards required for waste material reuse.


A crusher bucket from MB Crusher being used in a project in Italy

B Crusher’s range of crusher buckets have emerged as the most appropriate tools amongst operators in Africa for cost effective crushing, demolition and recycling on site. Underscoring the relevance of MB crusher buckets in meeting contemporary industry requirements, the company’s press office comments: “Our product range allows companies to manage the full cycle of recycling at the site, simplifying crushing, screening and handling of aggregates and allowing companies to save time and money.” Wide product range One of the world’s leaders in equipment for crushing, demolition and recycling, MB Crusher offers the widest range of crusher buckets, 12 models from the smallest to the largest. Its smallest models are the MB-C50 for mini excavators, and the MB-L that can be mounted on wheel loaders, skid steer loaders and backhoe loaders. The largest, the BF150.10 is suitable for excavators from 70 tons. Furthermore, MB completes its range with 7 models of screening buckets, 4 grapple rotary movement models and 3 new drum-cutters.

Specific applications MB crusher buckets have far-reaching applications, spanning the following areas: quarries, mines, environmental reclamations, rock applications, general building demolition, the redevelopment of disused industrial and urban areas, the treatment of materials from digs, the earth moving sector, and road works. Benefits i. Versatility The MB crusher bucket’s versatility helps mines to achieve much higher production levels than any comparable product would. Directly on site, the machine crushes any type of material, and allows the product that requires crushing to be collected by placing it in a mound on the truck or in the site to be filled in, thus hastening operations. With an MB attachment, companies save money, minimise their safety risks and recycle materials that are already at their disposal. ii. Easy to transport and low fuel consumption The crusher bucket is easy to transport, has low maintenance costs, does not require an

iv. Low hydraulic demand and extreme compactness MB crusher buckets have a low hydraulic demand both in terms of the need for pressure and hydraulic flow rate. The extreme compactness and low centre of gravity improves balance and drastically reduces strain on the excavator arm. MB crusher products are suitable for confined areas and spaces that are difficult to access. Additionally, they do not need drainage. Quality assurance and global footprint Made of Hardox-certified materials, MB crusher buckets are made to stringent quality certifications like UNI EN ISO 9001:2008. Headquartered in Italy, Globally, MB Crusher has seven international subsidiaries and has logistics centres located in various countries, in addition to extensive network of authorised dealers and service. Track record MB Crusher’s solutions have been used to customer satisfaction in high profile projects in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. In Africa, MB crusher buckets have been used in the construction of Soccer City in Johannesburg, where the World Cup was held on July 2010. Now, MB Crushers can be found in many sites all over Africa. Indeed, MB crusher buckets are just what mine operators in Africa need in the current environment, as they seek efficient and cost effective ways of processing aggregates.

September - October 2017


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ertainly, these are exciting times for most gold mining companies with interests in Africa. Despite the prevailing depression in the global mining sector, gold mining companies in most countries haven’t scaled down their ventures the least bit. Buoyed by bullish conditions in their niche sector, they are undertaking investments to increase capacity and ramp up production. On the contrary, their counterparts in other commodities, anxiously waiting for a turnaround in their respective markets, have put their grand plans on ice. Apparently, they have resigned to the reality that the much anticipated turnaround may take much longer than initially projected. Oddly, it’s doom for players in other commodities and boom for gold miners. Daniel Hooijer, KPMG gold commodity expert, makes an interesting observation. He narrows downs the current phenomenon to three factors - jewelry demand, investment and central banks. On jewelry demand, Hooijer notes: “The rising middle class in those countries can fuel the buying of gold, which is still considered valuable to own.”

odd trend. Investors still regard gold as a safe haven, or, one would say, the safest amongst available investment vehicles. That’s why their loyalty to gold has remained steadfast in spite of exposure to volatile conditions. Just like other commodities, gold is vulnerable to factors that affect other commodities like economic and political instability in some region.

Safe haven Worth mentioning, gold’s popularity is not an

Project case studies Both big and junior mining companies are

Exciting developments Encouraged by the consistency in the demand for gold, in Africa, mining companies are pulling out all the stops, excavating the most prized ore as they aim to profit from the boom. Notably, there is more gold mining activity in West Africa. West Africa In West Africa, several gold mining projects are blossoming, especially in Burkina Faso, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Mali, Senegal and Sierra Leone. And come to think of it! Even Mauritania has joined the fray. In April 2016, the Mauritanian government granted a 30 Year mining license to Algold Resources Limited for Tijirit gold project.

September - October 2017

major players in West Africa’s gold mining sector. One of the prominent junior mining companies is Hummingbird Resources, which is developing the Yanfolila Gold Project in Mali. Newmont, one of the world’s leading producers has been operating Akyem Gold Mine in Ghana since 2013.

plunge to implement the Yanfolila Gold Project, other mining companies have put on ice their equally bankable projects. Munro is not entirely surprised by this trend. “The biggest challenge for companies is getting the investment to get a development project through construction and into positive cash flow. Both the debt and equity markets have been tough for the junior sector in the last few years and a number of good projects have struggled to get financing leaving only the highest quality ones achieving success,” he notes.

Hummingbird Resources Yanfolila Gold Project in Mali UK-based junior mining company, Hummingbird Resources Plc, is at an advanced stage of developing the Yanfolila Gold Project, in Mali, a low cost, high grade open pit mining operation. Hummingbird Newton’s Akyem Mine in Ghana Resources is a typical example of a junior One of the world's leading gold producers, mining company that has a positive outlook Newmont was founded in 1921 and, to¬day, on the gold mining sector and gold in general. has approximately 20,000 employees and The company’s representative, Robert contractors in operations and advanced Munro, comments on prospects: “We have development projects on four continents. Newmont's second mining operation in seen a steady rise in the gold price this year and I think it’s fair to say analyst consensus Ghana, after the Ahafo Mine in the Brong see’s the gold price remaining in the $1,200- Ahafo Region, the Akyem Mine is situated 1,300 range for the medium term. Yanfolila in the Birim North District of the Eastern has all in costs of sub US$700/oz. So, if this Region, and north-west of Accra, Ghana’s remains the case our 110,000oz/year gold capital city. The Mine obtained a mining licence for the operation in 2010 and began mine will be very profitable.” Humingbird Resources raised US$75m commercial production in 2013. An open-pit gold mine, with associated in equity in 2016 and US$60m in debt this year (2017) to fund the construction of the processing and other facilities developed at \\Marketing\D\!BMG\#Jobs\Adverts\2017\072017\BMG-PT19072017 - Inside Mining.cdr Yanfolila Project the cost of about $950 million, Akyem covers Friday, 11 Gold August 2017 4:03:05inPMMali. However, Color profile: Disabled while Humingbird Resources has taken the a total area of 1,903ha, of which 101ha lies

in the Ajenjua Bepo Forest Reserve. The Akyem Gold Deposit lies on the northern portion of the gold-bearing East Ashanti Belt in Ghana. From the time of first production at Akyem, mining activity is expected to last for at least 11 years. The target for Akyem’s annual average gold production is between 350,000 and 450,000 ounces (oz). A sector yet to grow Munro believes more can be done (or should be done) for the gold mining sector in West Africa to realise its true value for host countries to fully benefit. “Improvements to power and road infrastructure can help costs down and more marginal projects profitable for longer. This would create longer term employment opportunities for many people,” he says. A worrying trend Recently, some decisions that leaders of some countries are undertaking have created a feeling of uncertainty amongst investors. Ostensibly, the policies are aimed at ensuring that the countries get a ‘fair’ share of their natural resources in agreements. However, there is growing fear that they could be negating the recent gains that the mining sector has made in those countries. Worse still, the countries might miss out on the Bull Run in the gold sector.

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September - October 2017


Hand-held XRF analysers in mining

Hand-held handiness

There is a strong case for hand-held XRF analysers to be used in exploration and mining applications, given the current state of the commodities market. Due to their portability, hand-held XRF analyers can enable mining companies to increase productivity.


he versatility of hand-held XRF analysers is handy example for environmental screening on site, and to carry for mining companies in their quest to enhance out alloy material identification (also called PMI – positive productivity. Due to their compactness, hand-held material identification) of parts used for the maintenance of XRF analysers can be utilised for application in situations machinery. where known “conventional” equipment won’t suffice. This is what African Mining Brief learns from Christelle Petiot, the Benefits Product Manager of UK-based Hitachi High-Tech Analytical The main benefit of hand-held XRF analysers is that they Science Ltd. complement laboratory analysis, which is both timePetiot illustrates the appropriate fields of application and consuming (it can take several hours or even days for results to benefits of hand-held XRF analysers in exploration and come back) and costly. So, Hand-held XRF analysers enable mining. significant reduction of the number of samples sent to the On the effectiveness of hand-held XRF analysers in laboratory. Specifically, with hand-held XRF analysers, many exploration and mineral processing, Petiot says: “During the more samples can be measured, and only selected few are sent exploration stage, hand-held XRF analysers can be used at the to the lab. early exploration stage to gather qualitative and quantitative information for soil and outcrop Which features? evaluation. They help users With the market awash with many identify mineralisation trends products, it is not easy to separate the and anomalies, and make drilling analysers on offer. Therefore, it is direction and stop/go decisions in important for mining companies to be real time. aware about the properties of hand“During the processing stage, held XRF analysers they specifically need, as equipment will be used in handheld XRF analysers provide tough environments, and sometimes in rapid grade control and analysis of extreme conditions, Petiot emphasises. stockpiles, feeds, concentrates and She outlines key features of miningtailings. For accuracy, a certain specific hand-held XRF analysers. degree of sample preparation is needed there.” What’s more, hand-held XRF i. Ruggedness analysers can be used in other Firstly, the analyser needs to be rugged, parts of the mining business, for Hand-held X-Met8000-Side-left weather-proof, reliable and stable over


September - October 2017

a wide range of temperatures. This will ensure maximum uptime and productivity. ii. Ease of use Secondly, the ease of use is also a key point. In particular, intuitive user interface and excellent ergonomics ensure that the equipment can be picked up and used with minimal training and over long periods of time with minimum fatigue. iii. Data management Thirdly, in the era of the IoT and increasing automation, data management is very important. The ability to share data on-the-go with colleagues, traders, or suppliers is an advantage. For example, mine mapping can be done in real-time (there is no need to bring the instrument back to base, or export the results at the end of the survey), trading decisions made remotely, with results being automatically sent after each analysis to a cloud service. Clearly, given their benefits in multiple applications, mining companies should consider adopting hand-held XRF analysers in their operations, as they seek sustainable ways of staying afloat in turbulent sector.

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up to 10 times the sensitivity of other HHXRF models, providing the low limits of detection needed to measure pathfinders or penalty elements, and delivering fast and repeatable analysis day after day at all stages of the mining process. The X-MET8000 Expert Geo is compact and lightweight (1.5kg with battery), yet truly rugged: it is IP54 rated (splash water and dust proof) and has been tested to MIL-STD 810G for vibration, shock and drop (Method 514.6, Procedure I, Category 4; Method 516.6, Procedures I and IV). With its large heatsink, the X-MET provides optimum stability, even in hot environments: there is no need to wait for detector cooldown between analyses, maximising productivity. Its 4.3” touchscreen provides excellent results visibility, even in direct sunlight. The user interface is icon driven, and can be used with gloves on. Data management with the X-MET8000 is very versatile: you can store up to 100,000 results on the analyser, download them to a USB stick or PC in CSV format or tamper-proof PDF for ultimate data integrity. You can print results on-site on a portable Bluetooth printer and attach them to sample bags to avoid mix-ups. Alternatively, you can create fully customised reports using the X-MET report generator. Sharing results on-thego with clients or colleagues is easy with the OiConnect app, and the OiConnect cloud service enables you to export results securely in real-time, and access them anytime anywhere. You can even manage results from a whole fleet of X-METs with a single OiConnect account.

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Mine health & Safety

Negligence, not fate: the main cause of accidents

A lax attitude to critical safety matters the main reason for the persistent occurrence of accidents in mines, MATIMU MAHUNDLA observes.


here is a common thread in most accidents recorded in the African mining sector – negligence on the part of the employer or the employe (whom in most cases is the victim). But nine times out of ten, in inquests fault mines for negligence. Developments in South Africa are a microcosm of the state affairs in other countries on the continent. Developments in South Africa in the past ten years substantiate the notion that mines, are in the most part, culpable in the majority of accidents, as experts who have been following trends demonstrate. Commenting on the Lily mine disaster in Barberton in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province, last year, Catherine Horsfield, an attorney and mining programme head at the Centre for Environmental Rights,

lamented that the mining industry had not implemented safety regulations adequately. “Too often there is inadequate, and at times an absence of, compliance monitoring of mining operations by the Department of Mineral Resources, leaving this hazardous industry to regulate itself, with disastrous consequences,” she observed. Echoing Horsfield’s sentiments, Mandla Mbongeni Hadebe, the programmes manager at the Cape Town based Economic Justice Network, said yesterday that mining companies prioritised profit and neglected the safety and security of mineworkers. Head of one of South Africa’s fast growing labour movement, AMCU, Joseph Mtunjwa AMCU said the Lily Mine accident mirrored negligence and mining company’s non-compliance to health and safety.

The general sentiments of mineworkers who toil at the coal face substantiate claims of negligence of in mining boardrooms. Like Moeng Moeng, who has worked on local mines, who said mining companies did not put sufficient safety measures in place to avoid accidents. “I’ve worked in different mines for many years in different parts of the country. I have observed that all what companies care about is profit. Sometimes our lives can be sacrificed for a mine’s profit. It’s high time Government got tough,” he bemoaned. The general verdict is that the government has to intervene and stem the persistent cases of gross safety breaches in mines. Hadebe suggested that the only route to compel compliance was for the Department of Mineral Resources read the riot act. “The courts and the Department of Minerals authorities must send a strong signal that the lives of mineworkers matter far more than the profits which are made daily and spirited off to the pockets of a few greedy beneficiaries,” he said. While regulations have been enacted to plug legislative loopholes, which mines have been exploiting, the general view is that punitive measures are needed. Currently, mines get away with murder. Beyond doubt, if mines are to increase productivity they need to enhance safety.

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September - October 2017

Self-contained Self-rescuers

Rigorous testing key to consistent performance Cognisant that they are vital in the safety of mineworkers in the underground environment, Selfcontained Self-rescuers (SCSRs) should meet all the stipulated requirements in quality. Any fault, even seemingly negligible, can result in loss of life.

A self-contained self-rescuer from a mine undergoing testing in a laboratory at CSIR in Pretoria, South Africa


ue to the depletion of ore-bearing rock of the required quantity and quality in surface mining, noticeably, there is an increase in mining projects at deep-level. This has resulted in the escalation in safety risks for personnel who are deployed to work underground. And one of the risks which employees face in these environments is exposure to life-threatening gas in the event of an explosion or a fire outbreak. Thus, selfcontained self-rescuers (SCSRs) have become an indispensable life-saving tool for mineworkers.

Considering their importance to safety in the underground environment, it is important that self-container self-rescuers that mines utilise should be in perfect working condition at all times. Nonetheless, failure of selfcontained self-rescuers often occurs when least expected. And when a faulty product is used in an emergency, the consequences can be fatal. Michael Sehlabana, Laboratory Manager, CSIR Self-Contained Self-Rescuer Laboratory, informs African Mining Brief about potential causes of the failures of SCSRs that are frequently encountered in the

"The majority of the functional failures of SCSRs are related to degradation of the oxygen-generating chemical inside the SCSR (usually in granular or pellet form). "

September - October 2017


Self-contained Self-rescuers course of their annual SCSR monitoring and testing programme. Why SCSRs fail It is very difficult to definitely point out the common causes of SCSR failures as failures are not generally product-specific, notes Sehlabana. Nonetheless, poor handling of SCSRs and inadequate inspections and leak testing may potentially lead to functional performance deterioration of SCSRs. The majority of the functional failures of SCSRs are related to degradation of the oxygengenerating chemical inside the SCSR (usually in granular or pellet form), Sehlabana says. “Moisture ingress into the SCSRs inner unit, due to an air leak in the protective casing, can reduce the oxygen generating capacity of the SCSR, lead to increased breathing resistance or result in insufficient carbon dioxide scrubbing. Moreover, if an SCSR is subjected to excessive vibrations and shocks it will lead to powderisation of the chemical granules or pellets, which could result in excessive breathing resistance and reduced functional duration.” Minimising product failure Sehlabana says cases of SCSR failure can be minimised mainly through compliance testing, proper handling and conformity assessment (batch testing).

He highlights critical aspects in each of these areas. 1. Compliance testing Firstly, Sehlabana says, any type of bodyworn SCSR to be deployed in South African underground mines must undergo full compliance testing, as stipulated in SANS 1737. “Granted, SANS 1737, Body-worn escape type breathing apparatus is not prescriptive on the features of the product. However, the SCSR must comply with all the mandatory testing requirements,” he stresses. Furthermore, it will also be beneficial to the workforce and worker productivity if the SCSR takes human ergonomics such as size, mass and fit into consideration. 2. Handling Secondly, the mine operator must ensure that the devices are properly handled during working shifts, emphasises Sehlabana. “It is crucial that the users strictly adhere to the Original Equipment Manufacturers’ (OEM’s) product instruction manual. It is recommended that there should be a service contract between the mine and the SCSRs OEMs / suppliers for maintenance of defective units. Regular testing of the SCSR protective casing to detect any air leakage is necessary to protect the integrity of the oxygen-generating chemical in the SCSR.” He adds: “Above all, the mine operator

should comply with the legal requirement of annual participation in the Monitoring Programme, conducted by the CSIR, to provide feedback on the functional performance of their SCSRs.” 3. Batch testing Thirdly, Sehlabana explains that conformity assessment, commonly known as batch testing, should be performed on a representative sample of each SCSR consignment. “Batch testing ascertains that every batch produced by the OEM conforms to the functional requirements in accordance with SANS 1737. The mine operator must ensure that every delivery of new SCSRs at the mine are accompanied by CSIR batch approval certificates.” CSIR performs batch testing on each SCSR consignment for mines in South Africa. All in all, the CSIR SCSR laboratory provides technical feedback to the mining industry on the functional performance assessment of all SCSRs sampled from the South African mines as required by Mine Health and Safety Act Regulation 16.2 – 4. The feedback could be used by the mine operators to review and update the mine’s rescue and escape strategy to ensure that SCSRs deployed at their specific operations have the life-saving potential in case of underground emergency response.


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Hydrogen gas detection for battery charging stations

Hydrogen gas detection for battery charging stations RTS Africa Engineering provides accurate, reliable hydrogen detection solutions for increased safety in mine battery-charging stations.


ncreasingly, mines are using batterypowered electric vehicles underground as they help eliminate the problem of air pollution from diesel exhaust emissions. However, there is also an inherent risk in having large multi-battery charging bays underground. The charging process generates hydrogen, which escapes from the banks of batteries on charge to form a potentially explosive mix. This could result in a potentially catastrophic hydrogen gas explosion – constituting a very real health and safety risk in the process. In addition, in a ‘fiery’ mine such as a colliery for example, hydrogen combustion may potentially trigger a more serious secondary coal-dust explosion. RTS Africa Engineering, based in Tshwane, specialises in innovative technologies, which provide solutions to industrial challenges. Among other things, the company has been involved in supplying hydrogen production and analysis equipment for many years. “Importantly, we also offer hydrogen detection instruments – the Hy-Alerta 500 and the Hy-Alerta 600B/610B from our international California-based principal H2Scan – for use with many potential industrial applications - including the mining sector. For example, these products serve as a valuable safety aid in hydrogen gas detection within battery charging stations in underground mines,” explains Managing Director of RTS Africa Engineering, Ian Fraser. The Hy-Alerta 500 instrument is a highly versatile hand-held detection device. It is able to detect the widest range of hydrogen gas concentrations without the need for any peripheral equipment. The Hy-Alerta 500’s versatile hydrogen sensor probe has a unique visual LED array that will effectively help navigate to the source of a hydrogen leak where hydrogen gas is produced, used, transported, or stored. “With two sensing elements on the same semiconductor die, the Hy-Alerta 500 can detect hydrogen leaks as low as 15 ppm and will not saturate or be destroyed when detecting high concentrations of hydrogen up to 100%,” Fraser explains.

H2scan’s Hy-Alerta 600B/610B fixed area hydrogen monitors are better suited for area monitoring; and will provide hydrogenspecific leak detection and measurement for hydrogen concentrations as low as 4000 ppm. They can furthermore be scaled to any concentration up to 5% hydrogen by volume, a range representing 10% to 125% of hydrogen’s low flammability limit. “This instrument can be connected to a flashing light or an alarm siren and, if need be, can communicate with a mine’s existing SCADA-type control system,” Fraser points out. Both the Hy-Alerta 600B and 610B models have been designed for either ceiling or wall mount; and have RS422 capability that extends the interface from the sensor to the controller to several hundred feet. “In addition, H2scan's hydrogen-specific sensor technology has no cross-sensitivity to any other combustible gases, thus eliminating false-positive alarms and increasing system reliability,” Fraser says. He points out that hydrogen is the only gas for which RTS Africa’s principal H2Scan makes analysers. The company’s industry-leading hydrogen analysers and leak detectors are based on patented, solid-state core hydrogen sensor technology exclusively licensed from the U.S. Department of Energy; and are supported by 15 years of research and development, and field verification work. In terms of occupational health and safety certification, H2Scan’s instruments conform to the highest international standards. For the past ten years, RTS Africa has been the sole agent - locally and pan-Africa for H2Scan. Many Hy-Alerta instruments are currently being used to detect hydrogen leaks around power station generators. “Ultimately, with the improved measurement capability provided by these solutions, industries such as mining and the petrochemical industry will be able to operate with the added peace of mind that the risk of hydrogen combustion has been eliminated,” concludes Fraser.

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September - October 2017


Fatigue management

Accurate information is the most potent tool In order to make informed decisions about areas that are to be prioritised in their fatigue management programmes, mines have to be equipped with correct and adequate information. Otherwise, their endeavour would be in vain.

Equipment operators have to be alert all the time. Fatigue leads to low concentration

"Mines have to be equipped with the correct and adequate information to make informed decisions about areas that are to be prioritised."


The biggest oversight in fatigue management in mining has been the failure of respective organisations to identify the particular risks they do face. In South Africa, in 2014, the Department of Mineral Resources, after recognising this proverbial Achilles heel and its potential impact on safety in mines, passed the mandatory Code of Practice (COP) for risk-based fatigue management. The COP obligates mines to incorporate risk-based

fatigue management in their occupational health and safety programmes. Indeed, by identifying sources of fatigue, duly, preventative measures can be instituted. While the COP has been hailed by occupational health and safety practitioners in Africa as “a landmark development”, which was long overdue, when it’s all is said and done, the buck stops with mine operators. For this reason, mines have to be equipped with the correct and adequate information

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September - October 2017

to make informed decisions about areas that are to be prioritised; otherwise, their goodintentioned efforts would be in vain. Decoding fatigue The first step in fatigue management is to understand the scope of fatigue. Doubtless, Willie Theron, general manager of Northam Booysendal Division, provides a coherent analysis of fatigue management in a paper he presented during Coalsafe 2015. Theron underscores four critical areas in fatigue – categories, how it is manifested, sources, and how it can be managed. Categories According to Theron, fatigue has two categories – physical fatigue and psychological fatigue. “In physical fatigue, the body (the muscles) cannot do things as easily as it used to. In psychological fatigue, which affects the (Mind), it may be difficult to concentrate for as long as a person is used to,” he says. Signs and symptoms Fatigue manifests itself in numerous ways – some, seemingly non-consequential. Theron lists the following signs/symptoms as the common ones: • Small errors, lapses and slips (dropping tools, picking up the wrong item, etc.) • Chronic tiredness or sleepiness • Difficulty keeping your eyes open, head nodding and falling asleep at work • Micro sleeps – falling asleep for less than a second to a few seconds, and being unaware that you have done so (usually due to sleep loss) • Headache or dizziness • Sore or aching muscles or alternatively muscle weakness • Slowed reflexes and responses • Impaired decision-making and judgment • Moodiness, such as irritability • Impaired hand-to-eye coordination or blurry vision • Appetite loss or reduced immune system function • Short-term memory problems, poor concentration or hallucinations • Reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand • Low motivation Sources There are two sources of fatigue – organisational factors and human factors. The main organisational factors include: shift work, long and/ irregular working hours, physically demanding work activities, extremes of temperature, high noise exposure, increased humidity, vibration, ergonomic factors like poor design of workstations or equipment, work stress, time of day, and second jobs.

Human factors include: • Unhealthy lifestyle like lack of sleep, too much sleep, alcohol and drugs (prescription and recreational) abuse, and lack of exercise and sedentary behavior. • Emotional factors like depression, grief, marital disorders • Medical illness or disease such as TB, HIV, heart conditions, sleep disorders. • Nutritional problems, commuting times, age, family and social obligations, and community activities.

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Problem and intervention Fatigue is unique to each mine. So, any fatigue management programme should address the unique needs of the operation in which it is to be implemented. There no such a thing as “one-size-fits-all” in fatigue, as Theron puts it. However, he shares some of the steps which have worked at Northam Booysendal Division. Precisely, the following interventions have been used to good effect and may work in some mines: • Excessive overtime and Long and irregular working hours, consider the use of fatigue related measurement, detection or alternative solutions • For Medical Conditions like TB, HIV etc, consider Primary healthcare system, for instance HIV and TB screening • For Emotional factors like depression, grief, marital disorders and work stress consider promotion and incentivisation of a healthy lifestyle EAP service for employees • For Sleep Deprivation Sleep consider making environment to be conducive to sleep • Ensure fitness to work of employees including contractors • Programmes to raise awareness about the risks of fatigue. • Consider use of software for fatigue management Technology Technology is complementing basic fatigue management programmes in mines. In ways considered unimaginable before, OEMs are unveiling products with features that are simplifying the burden that mine operators experience in monitoring fatigue amongst their employees, particularly mobile equipment operators. Contemporary fatigue monitoring tools have a wide scope of capabilities - from alerting a snoozing operator to take a break and avert a potential accident, to informing the mine manager about an operator hundreds of metres away who is tired in real-time. It is all upon mines to decide what they are willing to pay for.

September - October 2017

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Document storage

From document management to enterprise information hub By leveraging ECM as an enterprise information hub, companies are assured a number of compelling benefits. By Monique Williams


nterprise content management’s (ECM) role as a centralised document repository is well established, and organisations are readily benefiting from basic screen-level integrations that serve up documents in the context of core business systems. Yet most companies still struggle to find data strewn across disconnected silos, many containing related but inconsistent material. The challenge of which is made that much more difficult by today’s everincreasing data volumes. Information held across multiple systems can pose a real headache for business users and impede productivity. Employees get drawn into a cycle of second-guessing data, which results in far too much time devoted to low-value workaround tasks, including verifying data or hunting for supporting content. Manual, labour-intensive processes for sharing common data between core systems can lead to inaccuracies, which in turn inhibit sound decision making and ultimately could negatively impact a company’s competitive edge. Companies have been experimenting with workarounds designed to address the problems associated with data fragmentation and disconnected systems, achieving a level of data synchronisation via custom programming efforts, either by working directly with APIs or writing their own custom integration interfaces. However, complexities of custom coding are problematic, timeconsuming and resource-intensive, and their efforts are not always successful. Aside from custom coding, another primary means of integration is through manual data entry or via flat-file exchange. Manual data entry is a labour-intensive, error-prone process, not


sustainable for effective data sharing over the long term and unable to support a real-time exchange. Flat-file methods, while relatively easy to implement and generally inexpensive, also don’t support real-time data exchange. Leveraging an enterprise information platform with ECM, case management, business process management (BPM), records management and capture solutions provide real-time, guaranteed data exchange between applications. The platform plays a different role, transitioning from being a document repository to serving as an enterprise information hub. When guaranteed data exchange is orchestrated by dedicated servers within an enterprise-class infrastructure, outdated integration methods such as custom code, APIs, and flat-file exchange become obsolete. Guaranteed delivery, a hallmark of such a server-based information hub, provides resiliency against disruptions such as network connectivity failures or server overloads. Such a solution issues automated notifications to confirm successful delivery. Guaranteed delivery is also instrumental in reducing errors that lead to inaccurate decision making. The value of guaranteed data exchange is also far superior to flat-file exchanges or custom-developed integrations, due to the fact that it will ensure the delivery of data even when one of the applications is down for a period of time, either through failure or for maintenance. The integration server will cache all the changes and ensure they happen when the server comes back online. Deploying an ECM solution as your organisation’s enterprise information hub has other additional advantages. The hub

automatically orchestrates key business processes, synchronising information managed by the system in real time with tasks and activities initiated by other mission-critical line-of-business systems. By doing so, users are able to work in the systems with which they are most familiar while accessing critical documents and other supporting materials, without having to flip back and forth between screens and systems. Moreover, users are also able to access related documents and data in the context of a particular business process or set of tasks, which greatly simplifies workflow. By leveraging ECM as an enterprise information hub, companies are assured a number of compelling benefits. The combination of accurate and current information and the ability to work within the context of a specific business process boosts user productivity while creating a more natural, and less disruptive path to effective decision making. From an infrastructure perspective, IT is unencumbered by the laborious and costly maintenance process of writing and troubleshooting custom integrations. Finally, there are productivity gains associated with trading up a one-off custom programming effort with a repeatable process that demands fewer IT resources. Monique Williams is Hyland Southern Africa Regional Manager.

Read More of this article on: September - October 2017

Container-fitted solar power solutions for mines


ready for deployment anywhere! South African-based, Africa focused, Out of the Box Energy has unlocked a perfect solution to the urgent demand for affordable power for mines in Africa. By developing and distributing products to deploy solar as a mobile product, it has solved the challenges of traditional fixed location solar arrays.

Out of the Box EXOrac


ut of the Box Energy Solutions is enabling solar energy to be accessed as a temporary, short and mediumterm power source, cutting the time and constraints normally associated with PV Solar systems and reducing the cost of energy for its clients. This is best demonstrated by its EXOrac Power Box range, integrating mobile solar arrays into intermodal transport containers using a retractable solar racking technology called EXOractm. Analysts have warned mining companies in Africa to seek additional sources of power to ensure long-term sustainability of their operations. Currently, power costs account for about 30% of operating expenses in mines. Considering that fuel-driven generators are the main alternative source of power, and the global oil price has been rising, that figure may only be a conservative estimate. 22

Out of the Box Energy Solutions is informing mines in Africa that mobile solar solutions can address the current demand for cost effective and convenient renewable decentralized power in mines and other sectors in Africa. Out of the Box is Africa’s first Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to integrate PWRstation’s retractable solar racking technology called EXOractm, into intermodal transport containers and resell fully assembled S 10-50 solar gensets. Rob Jardine, Founder and Director of Out of the Box Energy Solutions, tells African Mining Brief that he believes Africa does not need new technologies in order to meet its energy needs, but rather, it needs new business models that fit the requirements of Africa - ones that allow Africans to access the existing technologies. He says that his company does this by bringing the

latest renewable and decentralized power generation technologies together into a Power Box. the Out of the Box creates Mobile Solar & Smart Hybrid power systems that change the way renewable, decentralized power is

" Out of the Box is Africa’s first Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) to integrate PWRstation’s retractable solar racking technology called EXOractm into intermodal transport containers." September - October 2017

Power Box EXOrac 10-50 solar gensets.

deployed - from the traditional fixed assets that require long term restrictive plans to be in place to that of mobile, re-deployable, secure and easy to use products that fit the fluid and unpredictable nature of the African Business. Business in Africa is often not planned with a 20 - 25 year, long term outlook but rather a 2 - 10 year short to medium term outlook. This restricts the adoption of renewable decentralized power generation, increasing the cost of power and thereby restricting the growth of local economies. Out of the Box Energy Solutions, Power Box products answer this challenge. They are easily transported, rapidly deployed, recoverable, secure, easy to use and unlock a multitude of finance and ownership models that fit the requirements of doing business in Africa. A Power Box unlocks renewable power as a short, temporary and medium term power solution, while making substantial savings against traditional diesel generated power costs. Unmatched efficiency and cost effectiveness Rob continues that Power Box mobile solar solutions bring a level of efficiency and savings to end-users that traditional flat roof or ground-mounted solar installations cannot match. For example, the “EXOrac technology brings an entirely new dimension to solar installations. Engineered to simplify and accelerate solar activations, EXOrac makes installation simple, up to 16 -times faster than any existing system available today.� The result being that a number of

opportunities are unlocked to add value and reduce costs, such as idle commercial, government and rural land zones, where land use often remains undetermined for years, can now be used to generate power that could reduce the mines energy costs, while also acting as an income stream for the land owners. Mining-specific mobile solar solutions The genesis of mobile solar, as a solution for temporary, short and medium-term power, lowers the cost of energy for many projects, increasing the individual projects feasibility. Specalising in mobile solar and distributed renewable energy technologies, Out of the Box Energy Solutions has a wide range of products and solutions that enable solar and hybrid solar power to be considered as part of the power mix for mining activities that were previously constrained to using only diesel generators, such as exploration sites and shallow pit mines.

Being the first Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) for PWR Station, integrating their retractable solar racking technology called EXOractm into intermodal transport containers, Out of the Box Energy Solutions are developing mining specific mobile solar solutions. The open architecture design ensures that EXOractm suits virtually any standard 60 cell solar module brand, inverter, or wiring systems. The system can be deployed on its own or within a dedicated deployment container, changing solar from a fixed asset to a mobile, re-deployable, secure and easy to use product that fits the demands of mining companies. The retractable solar racking systems are specially engineered to significantly simplify and accelerate solar installations in gridtied and off-grid environments anywhere in Africa. Additionally, the open architecture allows it to easily be hybridized with diesel and storage technologies as well as scaled to fulfill larger power requirements.

20 foot self contained Power Box

September - October 2017


Mobile Solar Deliver. Open. Connect.

Class S 10-50 Mobile Hybrid Solar System Mobile Solar changes the way renewable, de-centralised power is deployed, from the traditional fixed assets that require long-term, restrictive energy offtake plans to be in place, to mobile, re-deployable, secure and easy-to-use products that fit the need for flexibility inherent in African businesses. Generating fuel savings while reducing emissions.

Maximizing Energy Efficiency. The PowerBox Class S10-50 typifies our design philosophy with EXOrac™ retractable solar racking technology by PWRstation for an all-in diesel+solar hybrid genset solution designed to maximize your mine’s energy efficiency. The mobile solar PowerBox Class S10-50 allows the savings from solar hybrid solutions to be offered for temporary, short and medium term power projects.

Scalable Hybrid Diesel-Solar Solution

» Short order-to-activation cycle » Self contained 10’ shipping container

Easy Transport, Rapid deploy & Re-deployment

Simple to use

» 50# X 60 cell solar modules » Power management, inverters and batteries



The same savings from solar, but for temporary, short and medium term power requirements. Plug and play your generator to create a Smart Hybrid Power System

Containerised mobile solar racking system for easy hybridization of your diesel generators.

Learn about how Out of the Box Energy Solutions’ mobile smart hybrid solar systems can lower your mine’s Opex costs. Ask for a free design simulation of the savings that are possible using your existing generator and our mobile solar systems.

Out of the Box Energy Solutions

1 Falcon Rd, Ballito, 4420, South Africa  +27 32 947 0204  www.OutoftheBox.Energy  Info@OutoftheBox.Energy EXOrac™ is a trademark of PWRstation SA

CDE ‘all on one chassis’ materials washing technology a success with African operators


eading wet processing company, CDE has completed over 1,000 projects globally in the past 25 years. The company brings to the table an enviable portfolio of successful projects across Africa where it has been helping quarrying and mining businesses to maximise their operations, achieve

a quick return on investment and save water since 2002. Nicolan Govender, Regional Manager Africa at CDE, has been addressing the question African operators still have about the viability of investing in materials washing technology as opposed to dry classification systems. He says: “Whilst

Sand & gravel washing - Dual sand dischage close up 26

washing basically comes as a result of crushing and screening, it is a specialised and niche market. Wet processing is much more specific than crushing and screening because it entails getting from millimetre to micron sizes”. CDE is fast growing its footprint in Africa as sand and aggregates producers are upgrading their installations to enjoy the benefits of wet processing technology in terms of more efficient production and higher product quality. CDE's best sellers on the market include a wet processing plant – the EvoWash – and the AquaCycle thickener, which recycles up to 90% of waste water. Govender continues: “With the respective successes met by the EvoWash and the AquaCycle thickener, more operators are now choosing the CDE Combo, which comprises both plants. The Combo, with a capacity range of 30 to 200 tonnes, boasts a unique modular design to combine feeding, grading, washing, water recycling and stockpiling onto one compact chassis. September - October 2017

Sand & gravel washing - Estim Construction Combo Sand Stockpile in Tanzania.

The Combo is so efficient that the final product is ready to be sold directly from the belt. I am delighted to report that Combo customers have never looked back.” One such Combo owner is Dar es Salaam-based Estim Construction, one of the largest civil and building companies in East Africa, with sister companies in Zambia and Mozambique. The firm installed a CDE Combo x70 in 2014, which produces 40 tonnes per hour of quality washed sand whilst recycling up to 90% waste water. As all CDE equipment was designed in collaboration with the customer, and manufactured and tested in its assembly facilities in Northern Ireland for guaranteed reliability, bespoke additions were applied to the plant to meet Estim’s circumstances and requirements. Estim Construction’s Director, Darpan Pindolia, commented: “We could not

be happier with the choice we made. Working with CDE Global, and especially their Business Manager and engineers, has been a crucial factor in achieving the best final product. Thanks to our CDE Combo X70 we can now complete orders for various grades of concrete required for rafts, columns and slabs to produce paving blocks and other items in the knowledge that we will always meet our clients’ deadlines and produce consistent quality and output throughout the washing process.” Govender concludes: “Africa is a natural bed of various mineral resources which can be exploited in a highly profitable and environmentally-friendly manner. The CDE cyclone technology and turnkey, high tech and user-friendly wet processing solutions are perfectly adapted to suit the requirements for larger volumes of high quality sand and aggregates of consistent gradings in the

context of a dynamic infrastructural drive. If you buy the right plant for your operations, reduced maintenance, reduced manpower, reduced slimes management and continuous operation with water control far outweigh any short term savings.”

Nicolan Govender, Regional Manager Africa for CDE.

For further information on CDE please visit Nicolan Govender, Regional Manager Africa – CDE, Tel: +27 82 094 5557, Fran Barlet, Marketing and Sales Support Executive - CDE | Tel: +44 28 8676 79004 |

Explore the Combo Range

The CDE Combo modular range combines:

- Feeding - Grading - Washing - Water recycling - Stockpiling ...all onto ONE chassis

Drill rig alignment

Accurate alignment for superior drilling efficiency Shortcomings of ‘traditional’ drill rig alignment methods are costing the mining and exploration companies more. Isn’t it high more cost effective and safer alternative technologies were sought, not least in an environment of low commodity prices?


hilst mining companies have no control over the pace of recovery of a weak commodities market, at the very least, they can manage its impact on their operations. The most practical approach is adopting innovations which can ensure that their operations remain sustainable from mine to mill, in the face of escalating operating expenses and dwindling revenue volumes. In their quest to remain viable, certainly, one of the areas mines can consider reviewing is the implementation of drilling tasks in both surface and underground environments, specifically in drill rig alignment. In drill rig alignment, accuracy of the tools utilised is key. Sadly, it has been substantially documented that there frequent cases of deviation in drilling when labourintensive, traditional methods of drill rig alignment, such as a string line, plum bob, microlectromechnical systems, amongst others are used. According to the OEMs of drill alignment tools African Mining Brief contacted for views, deviation results in loss of productivity due to unwarranted project delays which results in increase in project costs, high safety risks to personnel involved, and, at worst, bad reputation, if it is a contract miner managing the task. In nutshell, the consequences are too ghastly to contemplate. Strong business case for alternative means Evidently, there is a strong business case for mines to adopt cost-effective drilling rig alignment tools. However, at the outset, when making the ‘brave’ decision of switching from traditional to alternative tools, they have to consider the following critical point – as far as possible, effective tools have to eliminate deviation and minimise human involvement. In other words, deviation and human involvement have a huge bearing on drilling productivity.


Deviation Deviation in drilling it is not uncommon. The drilling path does not always follow the initial azimuth determined at the surface. In most instances, this can be due to factors such as the earth’s magnetic field, variable layers and the level of hardness of the rock being drilled.Furthermore, complex ground conditions increase the likelihood of deviation. Thus, appropriate tool for minimal deviation and maximum accuracy method should be able to determine the geographical true north by measuring the earth’s rotation, as the geographical true north is not affected by magnetic pull.

Using the correct tools aligns surface or underground drill rigs to the correct azimuth and dip


Manual and labour-intensive Traditional drill rig alignment tools are prone to human error, as they involve several manual and labour-intensive steps. Stressing this fact, making particular reference to MEMS, Stockholm Precision tools, aSwedish OEM, notes its report: “Each borehore requires that a driller or geologist provides starting azimuth with X and Y coordinates to manually enter into the software. The survey sensor moves down the well path using the starting coordinates, as a reference point, but requires the driller to stop every five metres to interpolate the previous point, resulting in repeated downtime.” The alternative is to utilise a tool that reduces the need for several manual and labour-intensive steps in the rig alignment process. This can result in the reduction of rig alignment process times and enhance overall drilling productivity. All in all, drill rig alignment tools should enable efficient and safe implementation of drilling tasks. Most importantly, in the face of hundreds of thousands of vendors out there peddling tools they claim are “game-changers, prudence is central in procurement decisions. REFLEX Simplifies complex drill rig alignment tasks REFLEX Australia has a drill rig alignment tool which ticks most – if not all - the boxes of September - October 2017

what is required to achieve high productivity and enhance safety in demanding drilling projects. The company’s flagship product, REFLEX TN14 GYROCOMPASS is suitable for aligning drill rigs in surface and underground operations. Features The technical team from REFLEX cites the following as the main features of the REFLEX TN14 GYROCOMPASS: rapid alignment, ability to perform in rugged conditions, cloud based management, adjustable clamping mechanism, and visual interface. i. Rapid alignment The REFLEX TN14 GYROCOMPASS takes approximately 10 minutes to complete its self-calibration and a drill rig can then be aligned to the correct azimuth and dip within minutes.

REFLEX TN14 GYROCOMPASS, in near real time, drilling programme can be managed from anywhere in the world. In addition, through the REFLEXHUB-IQ, drillhole coordinates can be entered directly into the hand held on site or pre-loaded and sent directly to the rig using REFLEXHUBIQ. “Drillhole alignment data is transferred back into REFLEXHUB-IQ, so geologists can effectively manage their drilling program remotely, without leaving their office, even physical file transfers are not required. Preloading coordinates reduces the risks and associated costs of human error caused by

ii. Delivering in all conditions While comparable drilling tools can only deliver in some conditions, with a dip range of +/- 90°, due to its versatility, the REFLEX TN14 GYROCOMPASS can improve productivity in all drilling conditions. iii. Cloud-based management Via the cloud based REFLEXHUB-IQ,

A drill rig alignment tool from Reflext REFLEX TN14 GYROCOMPASS™

entering incorrect coordinates or inaccurate survey marking,” explain the technical team. iv. A fully adjustable clamping mechanism A fully adjustable clamping mechanism is REFLEX TN14 GYROCOMPASS’ most important feature. With the userfriendly clamping mechanism, a single person to position the REFLEX TN14 GYROCOMPASS onto the drill rods. A simple hand wheel mechanism adjusts the clamp lever to securely fasten the REFLEX TN14 GYROCOMPASS to the drill rig. The clamp is fully adjustable and will suit rod sizes from BWJ to H. v. Large, inbuilt visual interface Last but not least, the REFLEX TN14 GYROCOMPASS has a large visual interface built into the wireless handheld unit, showing live movement, through clear, simple graphics, to guide alignment and improve operator safety. The visual interface makes it easy to quickly see which direction the rig needs to move to accurately and easily align to the correct dip and azimuth, improving alignment efficiency. In addition, a wireless handheld unit does not require cables, ensuring a safer operating environment.

Fast, Accurate and Repeatable Rig Alignment


Align your surface or underground drill rig to the correct azimuth and dip in minutes. The driller operated REFLEX TN14 GYROCOMPASS™ will improve productivity dramatically by enabling the fast and accurate aligning of drill rigs without the need for surveyors. The REFLEX TN14 GYROCOMPASS™ collects, validates and sends rig alignment data to the cloud based IMDEXHUB-IQ™ for real-time data analysis, available from any location within minutes of data collection.

intelligence on demand Discover more at

September - October 2017


Aerial Ropeways

The business case for using aerial ropeways New technologies have been unveiled over the past 50 years to facilitate faster transportation of materials and people in surface mining - significantly diminishing the significance of aerial ropeways. However, as mines seek more cost effective ways of running their operations, aerial ropeways have emerged as one of the most economical and safer ways of transport in surface mining.


ntil the first half of the 20th century the most common mode of ore transport worldwide was rope-based transport. During the period 1900 and 1965 more than 10 000 industrial aerial ropeways were built worldwide to cover distances from anything between a few hundred metres to 100km. A typical African example of a very long ropeway is the Comilog Aerial Ropeway which started operation in 1959. This 76km long ropeway transported manganese ore from the manganese rich Haut-Ogooué Province in south-eastern Gabon to the rail link at Mbinda in the Republic of Congo. During the first half of the 20th century most governments started to add infrastructure such as tarred roads and rail lines to link mining areas with industrial areas or ports. Most new mines being opened during the second half of the 20th century were situated close to existing mines equipped with acceptable road and rail infrastructure. Therefore the need to construct new aerial ropeways decreased considerably

to less than 10 being constructed in the past 40 years. That trend could however change dramatically in the near future with the mineral-rich African continent needing to revive a forgotten lower cost technology to help it overcome its dire logistics situation preventing numerous mining projects from coming to fruition. The same argument is also relevant to surface mining. Road truck transport has not only taken over the major portion of long distance ore transport, but it has totally taken over the logistics of removing rock from open pit mines to the surface for further processing. The following photos of the diamond hole at Kimberley during the 1870’s give a new perspective of the application of this old technology: Aerial ropeways pics 1, 2, 3 Before mechanisation started in the early 20th century, animal or men power was used to turn the wheels to pull the carriages loaded with ore out of the mine pit. This resulted in

hundreds of ropeways being operated at once out of one pit to get the ore to the surface. Latest technology for transporting people Since the middle of the 20th century mechanisation of freight haulage focused mainly on road trucks and rail whilst the aerial ropeway found its space in the transport of people in cable cars, ski lifts and gondolas. However, the latest technology used to transport people is now also utilised in the construction of 21st century material handling industrial aerial ropeways. This can be seen in the photo taken of a new coal loading station being built for a ropeway in Italy 5 years ago: The surface mining fraternity has also totally forgotten about the important role rope based transport could play in future after the mechanised revolution.

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KUKA Mining Logis cs - Industrial Aerial ropeways

Specialist developer and operator of bulk aerial ropeway logis cs infrastructure In comparison to rail, road and conveyor, ropeways are: • Adaptable & traversing • Robust & durable • Environmentally sustainable • Ideal to link to rail • Effective from open cast mines

KUKA Mining Logistics focuses on supplying aerial ropeways for the transport of ore and coal in all areas in Africa that are difficult to access, which includes Open Cast Mines. Since the company’s inception in 2003, KUKA accumulated significant intellectual property through its internal professional team, developed a highly skilled team of South African engineering companies and entered into a technical agreement with Leitner, one of the leading ropeway companies in the world. Leitner acts as system integrator and supplies the critical components. Meeting clients needs with superior materials handling system solutions has placed KUKA at the forefront of the development of material ropeways. KUKA offers the full spectrum of activities from planning and basic design, through detailed engineering design, contractors’ activities, procurement and commissioning, project financing and risk insurance, ending with project delivery, operations and maintenance.

KUKA is to start its next project during the fourth quarter of 2017, with the construction of a 16km long ropeway in the Steelpoort Valley in SA.

CONTACT: Louis van der Walt | +27 82 949 2333 | | 32

September - October 2017

Moisture In Transformers

Moisture in transformers Solution to a serious problem


ransformers are key in electrical networks and care is required to limit insulation moisture to prevent risk of failure and reduction in service life. A relatively inexpensive Moisture Management System, manufactured in South Africa is now available to manage the moisture in transformers while in service to prevent these risks. Moisture Measurement Moisture in transformer oil-paper insulation systems is generally unstable and is migratory in nature, with temperature as a function of transformer loading, one of the

major contributors to this dynamic reaction. These dynamics are associated with several variables, which may well influence the ability to be able to effectively control moisture inside transformers. Accurate moisture measurement is thus vital for proper moisture management. Traditionally, manually extracted oil samples, analysis and “equilibrium curves” have been relied upon to determine moisture content but these methods have been found to be inaccurate due to many flaws in the process. On-line measurements are possible using relative humidity probes that provide an

indication of the temperature of the oil at the point of measurement. Relative humidity has been linked to a concept that describes the free water available in cellulose for exchange with surrounding oil as Active Water (Aw). Aw is the numerical equivalent to the equilibrium relative humidity. The new method takes advantage of the fact that the saturation point of the moisture in oil remains stable, regardless of the oil type, aged condition of the oil or additives used. This dynamic process involves the recording of data from the probe and the computation of a dynamic moisture profile for the transformer over an extended period – normally several days – in order to include full transformer operating cycles. Insulation Drying Effective drying of solid insulation is accomplished by continuous removal of moisture from the liquid insulation or through expensive on-site or factory interventions. Continuous processing is best achieved with the transformer in service and at operating temperatures. The migration of moisture in paper insulation is a process of diffusion. Practically, drying time is proportional to the square of the distance from the surface of the insulation. Temperature, water gradient and paper geometry play major roles (it takes moisture 300 hours to migrate through 1mm paper at 20˚C and only 6 hours at 70˚C). Dehydration of solid insulation is optimal at oil temperatures above 60˚C. The MMS technology has demonstrated the safe and efficient drying of transformers in fully operation situations. Permanent installation of the moisture management system is recommended for the extension of insulation life in transformers. References 1. Griffin PJ; Water in Transformers – So what; National Grid Condition Monitoring Conference, 1996 2. Oommen, Petrie, Lindgren; Bubble Generation in Transformer Windings Under Overload Conditions; 62nd International Doble clients Conference, 1995 3. De Klerk; Transformer Moisture Management Practical Guideline; Eskom Research Report, RES/ RR/03/21047, 2003. 4. Sokolov V, Griffin, Vanin; Moisture Equilibrium and Moisture Migration Within Transformer Insulation Systems; Cigre WG 12.18 5. De Klerk; Velcon On-Line Transformer Drying System Evaluation; Eskom Research Report, RES/RR/02/16621, 2002.

September - October 2017


Shovel-based payload monitoring

Monitor, manage & optimise your mine in real-time with Ramjack

Enormous payback from smart monitoring Effective shovel-based truck payload monitoring can help mines manage costs and offset effects of weak prices in their respective commodities.

Africa’s leading integrators of real-time production and safety management solutions.


Contact Ramjack Technology Solutions to increase production and improve safety at your mine. Sub-Sahara +27 11 039 7423 West Africa +233 302 903 856 North Africa +34 66 571 6513


ne of the most important areas in materials handling, where mines have to make prudent choices from pit to port, if they are to remain sustainable in a depressed market, is in truck payload monitoring. The sure-fire way for mines to offset effects of weak commodity prices is through containing costs and enhancing efficiency. Apparently, it has dawned on most operators that traditional truck-based payload methods, with their inherent challenges, can be a hindrance from meeting this objective. Frequently, mines that use traditional truck-based payload methods experience challenges such as strut calibration, trucks lacking a weighing system altogether and, time and again, inaccurate or delayed payload data provided to the shovel operator. “These challenges can impact on the accuracy of the information and the usefulness of the data,” warns Andrew Jessett, CEO MineWare, while acknowledging that keeping a fleet of truck payload systems accurately calibrated is a challenge for any mine site. Actually, Jessett points out, lack of a consistent truck loading control system can result in a number of costly effects such as truck overloads, truck underloads and truck bunching caused by trucks being loaded inconsistently. “All of these impacts lead to lower production rates and higher haul truck maintenance costs, including premature tyre failure and higher fuel costs. At the other end of the scale, under loaded trucks reduce a mine’s productivity. For example, the consistent under loading of five trucks in an operation by just 20% is equivalent to under utilising one whole truck,” he explains.

The convenient alternative In the current environment, considering how overstretched mine operators’ resources are, any lapse from pit to port, can have a considerable bearing on the bottom-line. For this reason, it is imperative that they have to make wise decisions in time. Pertaining to truck payload monitoring, one of the most convenient alternatives to truck-strut based weighing systems mines can consider is shovel-based payload monitoring systems, Jessett suggests. Consistently, shovelbased payload monitoring systems provide operators and technical support teams with the assurance of reliable real-time payload and automated time usage tracking that most other systems cannot provide. They enable well-trained shovel and excavator operators to consistently fill the trucks with a smaller variation in the final truck load. Underscoring the most significance aspect of shovel-based payload monitoring systems, Jessett says: “By providing realtime feedback to the operator instantaneously while loading the truck, the payload becomes more consistent, productivity improves, operating costs reduce and most importantly the truck is loaded to its optimal payload. You have to consider that a 1% production improvement on large machinery like draglines, excavators and shovels can deliver an up to 3% improvement in the mine’s profitability.”

Read More of this article on: September - October 2017

Acid Proofing

Increasing uptime through preventative maintenance

Early diagnosis of refractory wall degradation facilitates timely intervention, through measures like acid proofing, and forestalls downtime which can result in loss of millions of dollars in potential revenue.


ineral processing companies have to take preemptive measures to forestall refractory downtime as they ramp up production. As they are already bearing the burden of the impact of a recession in the commodities market, managing the dire and costly consequences of refractory failure would be too ghastly to contemplate. The most appropriate way of instituting effective preventative measures is to diagonise the potential causes of refractory failure. In a nutshell, the following are possible scenarios that might result in refractory failure: • Non-provision of crucible dimensions with respect to the power input; • Inferior quality of refractories in size as well as quality; • Non-adherence to the standard procedures during start up and heating periods; • Improper control on slag chemistry; • Poor tap hole management; • Inconsistency in the operations; and • Poor electrode management. Interdependent damage mechanisms Degradation in the refractory wall of an entrained bed slagging gasifier can cause gradual failure and unscheduled shutdown. Two inter-dependent damage mechanisms are chemical dissolution of the refractory

material or fatigue damage from growth of microstructural cracks. 1. Chemical dissolution of the refractory material This phenomenon is due to penetration of slag through the porous structure of the refractory wall that reacts and chemically dissolves the refractory material.

fact both technology providers and mining operators are increasingly aware of. In the present sluggish sector, predictive maintenance technology on refractories can increase productivity and reduce downtime. On the other hand, if the refractories are left damaged or left unmaintained, they could cause a huge, costly problem for a high stakes operation.

2. Fatigue damage from growth of microstructural cracks Fatigue damage from growth of microstructural cracks is caused by thermal fluctuations and interstitial pressure that develops from differential expansion between refractory material and the slag. This leads to gradual development of several microstructural cracks inside the refractory surface, which eventually merge together into a single large crack causing rapid failure.

Practical steps of increasing uptime Practical steps that can minimise downtime frequency include reducing bottlenecks which can increase throughput, implementing training, reducing the machine set up time, improving reliability of plant machinery by implementing preventative maintenance, by maximising optimal run rates and capacity, and eliminating down time by providing down time reason codes.

Predictive maintenance technology However, it is refreshing to learn that refractory failure can be forestalled, or at least the duration between incidences of downtime prolonged. In particular, timely maintenance can be that big difference between minor downtime and hundreds of thousands in lost production and costly equipment replacement, significantly increasing business efficiency. This is a

A stitch in time saves nine Do not underestimate the massive benefits of preventative maintenance of refractory components as mineral processing companies are seeking means and ways of increasing productivity. Diagnosing a problem with the wall of the refractory and taking prompt action would save a business hundreds of millions in potential loss of revenue due to downtime, in addition to replacement and repair costs.

September - October 2017


Mineral assay and testing

Informed decisions through real ore value

With information from quality mineral assay and testing, mining companies can make decisions that are based on accurate information about ore bodies. laboratories. 1. Automation techniques and

Analysing a precious rock (Image credits; Bureau Veritas)


he excruciating reality that the muchanticipated turnaround of a weak commodities market may be further than initially anticipated is sinking in. And so, the onus is on mine operators to seek practical ways to sustain their operations from mine-to-mill and pit-to-port. However, faced with a maze of issues to contend with, where do they start from? From an interview with Metals & Minerals experts from Bureau Veritas, world leaders in testing and inspection for the mining industry, African Mining Brief learns about the significance of mineral assay and testing in the current mining environment. Actually, the quality of data gathered from mineral assay and testing is one of the most potent tools at the disposal of mine operators. Bureau Veritas’ leading geochemical managers point out that quality data from mineral assay and testing is needed in all phases of the mining cycle - from grassroots exploration through to production control, final product confirmation and, ultimately, mine closure and rehabilitation. “At all stages of the process, clients (mines) require quality data to support their decisions. Once a discovery is made, the deposit needs to be defined with quality test work that will ensure reporting compliance and bankable studies. Should the project proceed to production, a range of metallurgical programs, mineralogy studies and chemical analysis will assist in the efficient mining and processing of ores,� says. Duncan Ruane, General Manager, Sales & Marketing, Bureau Veritas Minerals. Also, Bureau Veritas highlight key elements about data quality integrity and measures that the industry has adopted to enhance efficiency. 38

Data quality integrity Quality of the test work and use of welldocumented processes and procedures are two crucial aspects of the quality of data. 1. 1. Quality test work Quality test work is essential. International reporting conventions have become mandatory for public companies in the mining and exploration space. Thus, companies must have the highest standards and processes to prosper in the industry, not least in the testing employed. 2. Well-documented processes and procedures Alongside the various international accreditations and standards, all laboratories must utilise well-documented processes and procedures which are continually audited to ensure compliance. Conveniently, advances in technology have provided instruments that are more sensitive than those previously available, and computing power has opened the door for rapid complex data handling to aid QA QC and reporting. Incorporation of spectral scanning and detailed digital photography has added value to conventional laboratory test work and geometallurgy processing seeks to maximise data from the samples taken. Increasing efficiency Industry wide, there is a push to become more efficient and address client demands. Amongst the most ground-breaking developments in the mineral assay and testing is the adoption of automation techniques and robotics and the move towards lean

robotics Noticeably, laboratories have adopted a range of automation techniques and robotics in order to improve efficiencies. Examples can be seen in sample preparation with automated crushing, sample dividing and milling solutions commonplace. Moreover, innovation and automation of tasks to eliminate exposure to heat and chemicals such as automated fusions, LOI or titrations deliver positive OHSE outcomes. However, laboratory operators have to be aware of the preventative maintenance needs of automation and develop ongoing protocols to ensure a high level of availability. 2. Lean laboratories Another approach that has enhanced efficiencies is the drift toward a lean laboratory, an in-house operational excellence initiative based on the pillar of lean manufacturing. This results in motivated staff, a well-organised environment, and well-defined workflows. Ultimately, customers benefit from fast turnaround and efficiency. Spectral analysis Bureau Veritas singles out spectral analysis amongst the advances that have revolutionised mineral assay and testing. Spectral analysis, coupled with machine learning technology, offers real value to clients. Typically, the spectral fingerprint of a sample is collected as part of the analytical process, additional analyses, such as mineralogy or physical properties - which are not normally available at low cost - are correlated with a defined learning set for the deposit and included in the report. This additional information helps clients to better understand their deposit and make decisions to optimise the mining and processing of ore. All told, with information from quality mineral assay and testing, mining companies can make decisions that are based accurate information about ore bodies. This can enable them seek cost effective ways of implementing projects. September - October 2017

ENHANCE YOUR MINING PROJECT IN AFRICA At SGS, we deliver technical expertise, sustainable solutions and effective services that enhance your project at every stage. Our experts have access to an extensive global network and leading-edge technology to help you meet your technical milestones and effectively achieve your goals. Our laboratories across Africa offer support for your exploration and mining projects including geochemical analysis, mineralogical studies, metallurgical testing, process plant design and engineering, and mine and plant services. You can have confidence that our experienced experts will determine the optimal solution for your project. Whether you are at the exploration stage, developing project resources, or heading into operation, trust SGS to help you manage the risks, enhance the value and get to market faster.

That is getting the competitive advantage.

CONTACT US + 27 (0) 11 251 6556


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11th ICARD | IMWA 2018 Conference

or contact your nearest agency for more information.

International Conference on Acid Rock Drainage International Mine Water Association WISA Mine Water Division 10 – 14 September 2018


CSIR International Convention Centre Pretoria, South Africa

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11th ICARD | IMWA 2018 Conference International Conference on Acid Rock Drainage International Mine Water Association WISA Mine Water Division 10 – 14 September 2018 CSIR International Convention Centre Pretoria, South Africa

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A Green Conference

Tshwane University of Technology We empower people

African Mining Brief  

African Mining Brief 2017 Issue Vol 12 No.5 Africa's leading bi-monthly magazine for the mining industry in Africa, bringing you all the bes...

African Mining Brief  

African Mining Brief 2017 Issue Vol 12 No.5 Africa's leading bi-monthly magazine for the mining industry in Africa, bringing you all the bes...