Page 1

Highly commended 2011 PICA Cover of the Year - B2B Publishing





Former Impala Platinum CEO David Brown on leaving a lasting legacy

JUNIOR & MID-TIER MINING Climbing up the value chain

MC PROCESS Technological innovators

ENGINEERING Upping the stakes in a competitive market

SINKING & TUNNELLING Delivering on difficult declines

ISSN 199 1999-8872 • R35.00 (incl. VAT) • Vol. 5 • No. 6• June 2012




June 2012


Highly commended 2011 PICA Cover of the Year - B2B Publishing







MC Process shows its flare for technological innovation in minerals processing P6


Former Impala Platinum CEO David Brown on leaving a lasting legacy

JUNIOR & MID-TIER MINING Climbing up the value chain

MC PROCESS Technological innovators

ENGINEERING Upping the stakes in a competitive market

SINKING & TUNNELLING Delivering on difficult declines

ISSN 199 1999-8872 • R35.00 (incl. VAT) • Vol. 5 • No. 6• June 2012




A salute to David Brown – and all CEOs



The top mining stories headlining this month


10 Impala Platinum CEO leaves a lasting legacy JUNIORS & MID-TIERS

14 Wesizwe’s Bakubang platinum mine rises rapidly

18 Universal Coal’s commitment to South African coal prospects

23 The East Rand Basin’s untapped potential



26 Global engineers dive into Africa 28 New surface air cooling at South Deep’s South Shaft

30 GMEP’s savvy structural steel specialists 32 MDM’s perfect profile mix SINKING & TUNNELLING

34 Developing a difficult decline for Ghaghoo 36 Thubelisha takes to the stage COMMINUTION

38 Introducing the Nordberg NW portable plant series


39 Gounkoto’s crushing success 40 Reliable screening needs reliable aftersales service

42 Bigger and better high-pressure grinding rolls 45 Crushing in West Africa 46 Optimising the comminution circuit CETERUM CENSEO

47 It ain’t heavy Inside Mining 06/2012


Editor’s comment Publisher Elizabeth Shorten Associate publisher Ferdie Pieterse Editor Laura Cornish Creative chief executive Frédérick Danton Senior designer Hayley Mendelow Senior sub-editor Claire Nozaic Sub-editor Patience Gumbo Marketing manager Martin Hiller


A salute to David Brown, and all mining CEOs

Production manager Antois-Leigh Botma Production coordinator Jacqueline Modise Financial manager Andrew Lobban Administration Tonya Hebenton Subscription sales Nomsa Masina

I have great respect for mining CEOs, whether they are running largescale global commodity enterprises or starting a new single-asset company from scratch.

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South Africa: R350.00 (incl VAT & postage) SADC countries: US$80 Foreign: US$100 ISSN 1999-8872 Inside Mining Copyright 2012. All rights reserved. ___________________________________ All material in Inside Mining is copyright protected and may not be reproduced either in whole or in part without the prior written permission of the publisher. The views of contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the the publishers.

Since ‘joining’

the mining industry in 2005, I have come to know a great many mining CEOs – some personally and some through the eyes of colleagues and investors. I have watched them endure great struggle, overcome challenges and succeed against insurmountable difficulties. Thinking back over the years on whom I have had the privilege of meeting, it seems to me that our CEOs all have two things in common: their undeniable passion for the job and the permanent mark they leave on their company during their tenure. And when they leave, I can acknowledge how proud I am to have seen, been a part of, and written about their lasting contributions – both positive and negative. The likes of Bernard Swanepoel, Ian Cockerill and even Ralph Havenstein come to mind. So it is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Impala Platinum (Implats) CEO, David Brown, who has led the company through ravaging storms and celebratory victories over the past six years. I have walked along beside him since 2006, seen the birth of entire new shafts and celebrated the company’s Royal Bafokeng Nation BEE deal – one of the mining industry’s finest achievements over the past decade. I have shed tears for the lives lost in mining accidents, notably those in 2009, and watched with horror as many thousands of workers took to the streets in illegal strikes. Like any long-standing mining CEO, Brown has been through it all. But it wasn’t until just a few weeks ago that I had the chance to chat to him personally, where he provided me with insight and perhaps some ‘behind the scenes’ detail about his time at Implats. As journalists, we often don’t get the opportunity to walk in someone’s shoes and understand, listen and question the reasons and motivations

behind certain actions. My chat with Brown was fascinating and eye-opening to say the least. And while Brown highlighted the successes he accomplished, he also told me of his regrets and the plans he set in place but will never have the opportunity to fulfil, as well as the false accusations and criticisms thrown at him in the face of trouble. Your skin must be as tough as nails in this industry – Brown, yours clearly is! Read about Brown’s time at Implats in this month’s Hot Seat story on page 10 – it will be worth your while, I promise. My own personal message to Brown: “I wish you every happiness in your future endeavours and hope that you remain within the mining industry.” And a better replacement Implats could not have been found. Like Brown, I have followed Terence Goodlace over the years with an equal level of respect from his time at Gold Fields – and most recently the successful business turnaround he achieved at Metorex. I look forward to watching Goodlace work with Implats as it enters the next phase of its life. Goodlace will bring a great depth of mining knowledge, insight and enthusiasm to one of South Africa’s greatest mining companies. Laura Cornish

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Inside Mining 06/2012


Mining news

Top mining stories headlining this month NORTH AMERICA

Haiti drafting new mining laws


compiled by Ameerah Griffin

| SOUTH AFRICA | SepFluor unveils R2.1 billion fluorspar mining/ beneficiation plans

based on exploitation of two of its three fluorspar deposits, is 19 years.


SepFluor, a new name in fluorspar mining and beneficiation in South Africa, has unveiled plans for the development of its first fluorspar mine, located 80 km north of Pretoria, as well as a fluorochemical beneficiation hub near Bronkhorstspruit. The two projects represent total capital investment of some R2.1 billion, which is to be raised through a mixture of debt and equity in local and international markets, and will create some 400 new jobs directly and about 2 000 indirectly, says SepFluor CEO, Alan Smith. Smith says that key motivators for the two projects are fluorspar’s ‘strategic mineral’ status in key global markets, growing demand throughout Southern Africa (particularly for fluorochemical products) and the South African government’s support for development of a fluorochemical initiative in the country. Construction of the new Nokeng mine and associated concentrator, to be developed at an estimated cost of R900 million, is expected to begin during the fourth quarter of this year, with first production scheduled for the second quarter of 2014. Nokeng’s current life of mine,


Inside Mining 06/2012

New prime minister of Haiti, Laurent Lamothe, says the government is drafting legislation for the newly emerging mining industry to help the impoverished Caribbean nation reap financial benefits. Lamothe, who saw his cabinet and policy plan recently approved, said that the legislation will be sent to parliament soon. The legislation will lay out rules apportioning royalties for the government and setting protections for the people and environment that could be affected by mines.


| AUSTRALIA | Centrex boosts iron ore reserves in new Australian frontier

Glencore takes control of Mutanda in US$480 million deal Source:

Gelncore has taken majority control of its fast-growing Mutanda copper operation in the Congo, in a deal worth US$480 million (about R4 billion), marking the first step in a planned merger of the mine with the company’s nearby Kansuki concession. Mutanda, located in Central Africa’s copper belt, is one of Glencore’s main growth assets and a key operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, alongside its Katanga asset, largely thanks to its high ore grades and low expansion costs. The deal with two related, privately controlled groups – High Grade Minerals and Groupe Bazano – whose ownership has not been disclosed by Glencore, is also likely to revive debate over the opacity of deals in one of Africa’s most promising, but also most challenging mining destinations.

the Mindanao province in the Philippines.


New copper discovery unearthed at Comval in the Phillipines Source:

Mining Group’s Comval project is showing early signs of its potential to be a major copper-gold porphyry system with evidence of a widespread and intensive zoned alternation system. The first intercept at the Bayag Bayag target, and in particular the extensive skarn alteration that extends for more than 700 m along strike, provides further indications that the prospects have the potential to host a large copper ore body. Assays received show a broad intersection of 44 m at 0.64% copper from 39 m, including 28 m at 0.88% copper. The project is located in the Compostela Valley, as established coppergold producing region in

Iron ore company Centrex Metals has more than tripled the estimated reserves at its prospect in southern Australia, a growing zone for new iron ore sources that is attracting increasing interest from Asian steel mills. Centrex, which is partnering with two Chinese steel firms, said the amount of ore believed buried at its Bungalow Hill prospect on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia state had ballooned to 338 Mt after two years of exploration work. Inner Mongolia’s Baotou Iron and Steel Group owns 30% of the project. Centrex said it would complete as study into building a mine this year, sending its shares up 4%.

mining news



Exxaro plans new coal mine for exports

Continental Coal enters into JV to operate Columbian coking coal project



Continental Coal has entered into an exclusive agreement to acquire a 50% joint venture interest in an operating hard coking coal mine located in Colombia. The acquisition of this wellestablished and high-quality hard coking coal mining operation will complement

the company’s existing coal mining, development and exploration project portfolio in South Africa. The acquisition will further diversify its production base

geographically into another of the world’s leading coal producing and export nations, and expand its product base into the hard coking coal market.

Exxaro plans to develop a new coal mine – Thabametsi – in the Waterberg coal field that will supply between 13 and 15 Mtpa of coal for export. “We are looking at another greenfields project geared at the export market,” says Mxolisi Mgojo, the head of Exxaro’s coal unit. The project will happen between 2018 and 2025, he added. Exxaro is currently finishing the construction of the Grootegeluk Medupi Expansion Project, a mine that will feed coal to Eskom’s new Medupi power station. Mgojo said the company will be ready to start shipping coal to Eskom for testing by the end of this month.

Cover story


The MC Process brand Despite its massive influx of project work in 2012, minerals processing company MC Process remains at the forefront of new technological equipment innovations aimed at reducing costs and improving efficiencies, writes Laura Cornish.


ining projects may be on the increase, but the market remains wary and companies have become far less prone to risk,” MC Process CEO, Mark Craddock, points out. Despite this, the company has been inundated with work over the past year, and has added numerous new installations to its already impressive portfolio. “This is largely thanks to our loyal customers, which include Ingwenya Mineral Processing.”

designed to process 300 tph and is due to be complete in January 2013. Recently supplied and completed equipment installations for 2012 include an 16 m diameter thickener, flocculant plant and lime slaking plant for the Zambia-based 100 000 tpm Maamba colliery. “We also supplied a 15 m diameter thickener and flocculant plant to Namakwa Sands (soon to be acquired by Trono), and not to be excluded from our much-expanded portfolio list is the 18 m diameter thickener and two 3.65  m diameter teeter bed Many mining installations separators (TBS) that we supplied to the “We recently completed all of the civil work Marrapino tantalum project.” for coal resource and exploration company Also part of the MC Process product Ikwezi Mining’s new coal washportfolio are ating plant, Doornkop, in Newtrition scrubcastle and further supplied a bers, which the 15  m diameter thickener and a company supplied fully automatic flocculant plant to to Volclay Chrome the project as well,” says Craddock. for its plant expanThe company is also erecting a sion, together with 10 m diameter thickener for Sekoko two TBS. Resources’ Hendrina-based coal opMC Process is eration, which is due to be commisinstalling a turnABOVE MC Process teeter sioned shortly. key 15  m diambed separator “In May, we received the order to eter thickener and supply and install two flocculant plants and flocculant plant for Silica Sands, as well a 15 m diameter thickener for Umthombo as a 8 m diameter thickener for a client Resources’ new Phalanndwa colliery plant in Newcastle. situated new Delmas,” Craddock continues. Delving deep into water Delivery is due at the end of July and comNotwithstanding the recent success missioning scheduled for mid-August. Conof MC Process's more conventional struction of the plant is already under way, equipment range, Craddock’s growth under the management of Ingwenya; it is


Inside Mining 06/2012

Improving on thickener design MC Process recently introduced its new arched thickener bridge to the market. The copyrighted design offers clients a lighter, structurally sound thickener bridge structure that is easier to transport and erect.

aspiration lies more specifically in the water field. Having recently supplied and installed two dissolved air flotation (DAF) units for a wastewater treatment system in Vanderbijlpark to treat an effluent water stream; this growth plan is already well under way. The combined DAF units are capable of treating

Cover story

Inside Mining 06/2012


Cover story

3.8 Mℓ/d of water. “We have also secured the contract to supply an entire sewerage treatment plant, together with a reverse osmosis system and acid mine drainage (AMD) treatment packaged plant for a new coal operation near Newcastle. Equipment p procurement and installation will commence as soon as the

Original MC Process flocculant plant

company receives its water licence,” Craddock reveals. Research and development (R&D) is a key constituent of MC Process’s business – the company’s property includes extensive laboratory pilot-scale testing equipment and facilities. “Through our in-house R&D facility, we have further enhanced our packaged AMD treatment system, which consists of neutralisation, electro coagulation, minimal electro-coagulation, flocculant addition and efficient heavy metals removal with the inclusion of our DAF unit. This is a revolutionary step forward in AMD D treatment. We can now treat

MC Process lime slake plant


Inside Mining 06/2012

client, Mwana Africa, on its Kibolwe project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Craddock explains that because of the massive power shortages in the country, the test work is examining alternative, cost-effective methods for extracting copper without the ne for power. need The most obvious solution at this p point is to precipitate the copper using iron, which Craddock notes requires no power at all. Another exciting venture is nimal MC Process’s partnership polluted water with minimal A laboratory-scale SX with AIM-listed Alexander addition of chemicals, and pilot test unit Mining, where the compawe are looking to take this process nies have jointly completed the construcone step further by investigating how best tion of the AmmLeach copper/cobalt demto extract optimal financial benefit onstration pilot plant in Johannesburg, Jo at from the process.” MC Process’s premises. Craddock is referringg to the extraction of heavy metal ls from the th he The AmmLeach process is simple and remetals proce quires fewer unit processes to produce cobalt and copper metal cathodes, RIGHT New compared to flocculant conventional plant process procedures used in the DRC that produce ccopper and cobalt only as intermediate products. water and the various ways to use them in According to Alexander Mining, the result downstream processes. is significantly reduced capital and operatThe company is already quoting for a ing costs, compared to the conventional 10  Mℓ/d water treatment plant, which acid/sulphur dioxide process. Given the Craddock believes will be the “lowest cost, inherent high costs associated with operlowest opex plant on the market, thanks ating within the DRC using conventional to the innovative techniques MC Process technology, AmmLeach has the potential technologies can apply to the process”. to enable the processing of a significantly greater number of deposits that have, to Copper/cobalt innovations date, been considered marginal or uneco“We We are working on two projects with deve nomic to develop. these two commodities, the first being AmmLe The AmmLeach process may further ecofor engineering company tre high carbonate and acidnomically treat Scorpion Minerals Processor bodies that are prevalent in consuming ore ing,” Craddock unveils. the DRC, but which may not be economicalMC Process has underly treated usin using acid; AmmLeach is also suitlea taken all of the copper ed to heap leaching ‘lower’ grade ore bodies. extraction Coal flotation test work for test work for the Waterber Waterberg S c o r p i o n ’s Another mining mi field looking for processing innovat innovation is the coal sector, specifically those tho players in the Waterberg coal  fields. Again, A MC Process is conducting ongoing in-house flotation test work aand optimisation processes for --3  mm coal fines for a number o of clients in the area.

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Hot Seat


Remembering David Brown It is with sadness and admiration that the mining sector bids farewell to Impala Platinum CEO David Brown. Laura Cornish talks to Brown about some of the highs, lows, successes and challenges that came with running one of the world’s largest platinum companies.


ike most high-powered CEOs, Brown’s six-year tenure saw him endure numerous challenges, overcome them and celebrate multiple successes. Brown joined Impala Platinum (Implats) from Exxon Mobil in 1999 and held the position of CFO until his appointment as CEO in 2006. He is a qualified chartered accountant by profession. Among his many challenges, Brown has braved large-scale employee strikes, including a violent medical aid-related strike shortly after his CEO appointment.


Inside Mining 06/2012

And no one will forget this year’s illegal strike, which may be recorded as one of the worst labour strikes in mining history. Brown was forced to fire 17 000 of his Rustenburg workforce, although most have subsequently rejoined the company. “I don’t want my legacy to be remembered for only having overcome some of the more difficult periods of Implats’ history, my positive contributions to the company have been so much more significant than that,” Brown states. “As CEO, you have no option but to cope with what the world, the sensationalist media and your own employees

throw at you. That is, unfortunately, part of the job, but not what we should only be remembered for.”

THE HIGHS Changing the business model Brown’s influence on the Implats business model extends back much further than 2006, having played a significant role in helping change the strategic business direction of the company. “When I joined the company, Implats was lease-bound, but market dynamics were changing and platinum prices were

Hot Seat increasing. We needed to change direction, increase our PGM resources and gain our ‘fair share’ of the world’s global market supply by increasing our production rates,” Brown recalls. In addition to organically expanding its resource base, the second arm of its growth strategy was to gain new resources. Implats achieved this by entering into joint venture agreements with Aquarius Platinum and African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) – Avmin at the time – and also expanding its thirdparty treatment agreements. In 2000, the company acquired 25% of Aquarius Platinum South Africa, which was developing the Kroondal project, in exchange for Implats’ holdings in Everest North, Everest South and Chieftan’s Plains. With demand for PGMs growing, Implats turned its attention to the potential in Zimbabwe and acquired 50% in ZCE Platinum in 2002. This gave it access to the Mimosa platinum mine in Zimbabwe’s Great Dyke, which is 50% owned by Aquarius Platinum. “Even though CEO Stuart Murray’s relationship with Implats changed when he aligned himself with Anglo Platinum, our two companies had many successful years together,” says Brown. In 2011, Aquarius successfully bought back the stake in the company held by Impala Platinum, resulting in a handsome profit for Implats. 2001 also saw the ARM/Implats JV secured the mining rights for Two Rivers platinum mine. “Buying the additional resources we needed, including stakes in Zimplats, Marula and of course Mimosa, provided Implats with the opportunity to expand its production profile, ensuring some of the production successes the company is still achieving today,” Brown notes.

Magical 2007 – Brown’s first full year at the helm A landmark BEE transaction was born in 2007 between the Royal Bafokeng Nation (RBN) and Implats, and saw the RBN became the company’s single largest shareholder. “This is truly one of my most significant contributions to the group considering our relationship with RBN was in an extremely fragile state when I joined the company,” says Brown. A key feature of this transaction was a solution Brown, Steve Phiri, Niall Carroll and Cathy Markus eventually devised. The solution saw RBN exchange royalty rights for shares in Implats as well as the creation of the Impala Bafokeng Trust (IBT), which has a primary purpose of augmenting the

2007 saw the announcement of record earnings for the group, having for the first time exceeded the 2 Moz production milestone corporate social investment commitments of the RBN and Implats with a further total contribution of R340 million (R170 million each over a 10-year period between 2007 and 2016). The primary beneficiaries of the IBT are the people living in close proximity to Implats’ Rustenburg operations and the area owned and inhabited by the RBN. While the trust has an over-arching emphasis on the empowerment of women, it focuses more specifically on the areas of education, health, enterprise development, capacity building and sport and recreation.

“I am extremely proud of our strong relationship with RBN today and what this has done for its communities, which we have nurtured since 2007.” That year also saw the announcement of record earnings for the group, having for the first time exceeded the 2 Moz production milestone. “Our growth strategy was paying off.”

Surviving the crash While 2008 and 2009 brought with it the severe financial economic crisis, Brown

Inside Mining 06/2012


Hot Seat believes Implats not only survived the storm, but survived it better than most. “Being a chartered accountant by profession enabled me to effectively implement cash cutting measures, reallocate capex where necessary, cut back costs and save cash flow. We continued to pay dividends throughout the period and, as a strong management body with a strong skills set, we really managed the crisis to the best of our abilities,” Brown describes. By the end of 2009, the world had changed, he continues, and the glamour of merger and acquisitions had gone. The necessity to focus on operational business aspects and lift staff morale became critical. “It was a period of dealing with senior personnel and staff underperformance, and I held back on making certain necessary decisions, while still trying to please multiple board members. Sometimes difficult BELOW Implats owns and operates numerous shafts in Rustenburg and its mining presence is extensive


Inside Mining 06/2012

decisions and actions are critical, I have really learnt a lot from that period of time.”

A large-scale housing scheme Implats has spent the last few years investing in a home ownership programme aimed at assisting employees acquire their own property. To date, the company has provided 1 500 homes. “The aim of such a programme is not about providing workers with an RDP house, but encouraging them to take pride in owning a home, thereby enabling them to live with their families.” Brown believes this will have a massive knock-on effect on some of the other major issues that mining houses deal with in relation to their employees. “Nutritional problems and even HIV/Aids numbers will reduce if our workers are able to go home to their families at night.” This initiative falls in line with human settlement minister Tokyo Sexwale’s campaign to lobby companies and stakeholders to uplift the local communities in South Africa. “This is one of the best public/ private enterprises established in South Africa, and I hope Implats will continue this housing scheme roll-out, which is intended to reach between 5  000 and 10 000 houses.”

Zimbabwe Despite Zimbabwe’s arduous indigenisation regulations, Brown continues to search for a successive outcome to building an amicable relationship with the country and its local operations. “Investing so heavily in Zimbabwe remains to this day, in my opinion, a very successful part of the Implats business, as the returns for shareholders have been significant.”

THE LOWS – Unfinished business mergers and acquisitions Brown has dealt with criticism for one of the acquisitions he implemented during his CEO period. “I received a lot of disapproval for overpaying for Afplats in 2007,” Brown admits. “But the mining business is a longterm one, and CEOs need to make decisions that will impact positively on the business in the future. The Afplats deal is one of them. It is a good UG2 resource, with more than 60 Moz of resource in the ground. It will add significant ounces to Implats’ production profile down the line at the low end of the cost curve. Regarding our Northam acquisition to bid in 2008 following the financial crisis, the company is in a different place today and the Zondereinde mine no longer fits with Implats’ production profile,” says Brown. “The one piece of unfinished business I will always think of is not succeeding in acquiring Royal Bafokeng Platinum,” says Brown. The buy-out was rampant in the press in 2010,

Hot Seat but we never succeeded. Despite this, Brown believes such a deal still holds massive opportunity for the company. “I have set the right environment for this deal to still take place in the future.” Implats’ relationship with ARM has also proven to be extremely successful over

reacted remarkably well during the situation, and Susan Shabangu was unbelievably compassionate during the memorial service, despite the ravaging politically provocative statements thrown at Implats.” Brown feels that while safety has always been a priority for Implats, the company

“I really hope to be remembered for my positive contributions to Implats. It is part of the reason I have developed such a passion for the mining industry” the years and is a company Brown wishes he had established further working agreements with. “It would be beneficial to see both companies working together more.”

Safety In 2009, Implats experienced one of the worst fatalities in its history. “The day will remain etched in my memory forever,” Brown confesses. Nine workers died during a rock fall at 14 Shaft, resulting in shock and great upset. “Our management team

continues to battle with the issue, recording eight fatalities during the half year to December 2011. “We have attempted to establish and embed a stringent safety culture, which I hope will come to reflect our dedication to safety in the near future. The fact is, at least 90% of fatalities are avoidable.”

Goodbye “I really hope to be remembered for my positive contributions to Implats. It is part of the reason I have developed such a passion

for the mining industry, which I hope to stay involved with for many years to come.” Brown pays tribute to some of the colleagues he developed close relationships with during his time at Implats. “A special thanks to Peter Joubert, Mike McMahon, Lex van Vught, Viv Mennell and all the Bafokeng directors.”

Juniors and mid-tiers


Rapidly rising While the build-up to construction has been slow, it is now full steam ahead for the development of Wesizwe’s Bakubung platinum mine – with plans to move it into production earlier than intended, writes Laura Cornish.


t is four years since Basil Read Group’s engineering and project management company, TWP Projects, completed the original bankable feasibility study for the Bakubung

mine (formerly the Frischgewaagd-Ledig mine) and six years since the pre-feasibility study commenced. Unfortunately, the impacts of a global recession on a junior trying to raise capital

for project development saw the company and its project sitting and waiting on the sidelines for the market to recover. It was thanks to the conclusion of a massive investment deal with a Chinese consortium (Jinchuan Group, China Africa Development Fund and Micawber) in March last year that enough capex has been secured to take the project forward – R7.9 billion in total. “While the first blast in April 2011 was a momentous occasion for Bakubung’s start, it is the activity that has followed that is indicative of this mine’s prosperous development future,” says TWP Projects manager, Robert Hull. TWP Projects is the full engineering, procurement and construction management contractor on site. Its contract includes all surface project work, including the terraces, temporary offices, electrical facilities, the winder houses, shafts, headgears, ventilation fans, refrigeration and compressors, as

LEFT AND ABOVE Surface development activity on site at the Bakubang mine is well under way


Inside Mining 06/2012

Juniors and mid-tiers

well as all ancillary work including workshops, storage facilities and access roads. “Situated on the Western Limb of the Bushveld Complex, the Bakubung platinum project (comprising greenfields mine and process plant) will process 230 000  tpm (run-of-mine), delivering 350 000 ozpa of PGMs at nameplate capacity for 35 years,” Hull outlines. First early-stage production is due in 2018, which will be followed by an estimated four-and-a-half year ramp up period to reach full production in 2023. “We are, however, also under way with an optimisation study aimed at best determining how to bring production online earlier. We do have some options we can look at that will achieve this objective,” Hull mentions. The project site is situated directly adjacent to the western side of Royal Bafokeng Platinum’s Styldrift project and immediately north of Maseve’s Project 1, which is owned in partnership with Canadian company Platinum Group Metals. To date, temporary power has been secured on site and the temporary offices and terrace turf removal are complete. The box cut for the main shaft, awarded to and completed by Scribante, has also been finished, and procedures are under

opportunities for local employment, which as at 15 March 2012 was about 35% of the entire labour force on site, selected from within a 5 km radius.

The shafts The Bakubung complex will comprise a twin decline vertical shaft system: a main shaft and ventilation shaft. Aveng Grinaker-LTA was appointed in March to sink both shafts and complete all underground development work. Six

First early-stage production is due in 2018, which will be followed by an estimated four-and-a-half year ramp up period to reach full production in 2023 way to commence with pre-shaft sinking in June. Scribante is further responsible for all terrace work. Already a major accolade for TWP is its assistance with Wesizwe in identifying

local and international companies were invited to tender for the R1.64 billion contract, which was awarded following a thorough technical and commercial adjudication process.

ABOVE Preparation for shaft sinking

“The main shaft will be 8.5 m in diameter and extend 1  000  m below surface, and the ventilation shaft, 7.5  m in diameter, will reach 930  m below surface,” Hull explains. The Merensky Reef (180 000 tpm, stope width of 1.35 m) will be mined using conventional stoping methods and the UG2 reef (50  000  tpm, stope width of 1.5  m) will use semi-mechanised methods. Crushing will be done underground, from where the reefs will be separately conveyed to stockpiles at the concentrator plant. A separate contract will be awarded to open up the mining blocks underground, which will take place between 2018 and 2023. Based on the monthly output, the design requires six mining blocks at any given time. Steel erection and fabrication specialist Louwill Engineering, in joint venture with two other local companies, was recently appointed to design and erect both

Inside Mining 06/2012


Juniors and mid-tiers

headgears on site. These are scheduled to be installed by the end of April 2013.

The concentrator plant The basic, early-stage concentrator design has emanated from the results of the test work conducted during the bankable

from economies of scale and sharing capital infrastructure costs. Hull says that the final design will commence in 2015, and construction must be complete in 2019 to start receiving steadystate ore from the mine. “The MF2 plant will comprise two circuits to process both

Options for collaboration in developing a joint concentrator plant with neighbours Maseve are being investigated

ABOVE Numerous subcontractors must coexist on site to ensure Bakubang’s development progresses rapidly

feasibility study and is based on a standard PGM plant layout. Options for collaboration in developing a joint concentrator plant with neighbours Maseve are being investigated in order to exploit benefits

Merensky and UG2 ores simultaneously. We will include a chrome circuit as well,” Hull adds.

Water, lights and housing While 2 MVA of power has been secured for construction on site – from Eskom’s Sun City substation – the mine has been


granted 8 MVA from Eskom, which it will receive from September this year when the mine will convert from pre-sink to full sink. “This is perfect, as we need exactly 10 MVA to sink the shafts” says Hull. The second round/phase of power, 50  MVA, will be allocated in 2016, also from Eskom. The combined 60  MVA is sufficient to run the entire Bakubung complex, both mine and plant. While alternate energy sources such as wind or solar would prove too unreliable for the project, Hull notes that TWP is committed to clean energy. “Our road lights are all solar-power driven.” “Our site is also a zero discharge site and will initially include two 70  000  m³ pollution-control dams. This will increase to three once the process plant is built.” Wesizwe has secured a temporary water supply of 200 000 ℓ/d, which is sufficient to the end of shaft sinking. However, the company requires a supply of 6 Mℓ/d fresh feed at full production. A process to secure water supply is under way with the Magalies Water and other interested parties, including neighbouring mining companies, local and provincial municipal structures, and community representatives. The company has already sourced local consulting firm TMTJ Consulting to undertake a housing study, aimed at catering to the mine workers that will be employed permanently on the mine. The scope of work includes understanding the requirements of the mine, development of a policy, identifying the most appropriate location and determining an accommodation model and the related funding requirements.

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Juniors and mid-tiers


Capitalising on coal Despite the challenges a junior company must endure to move its assets up the value chain and into production, junior coal company Universal Coal continues to invest the time and effort necessary to do so, writes Laura Cornish.


SX-listed junior coal developer Universal Coal owns an array of early-stage development and exploration assets. But South Africa is not the easiest country for a junior mining company to grow and develop in, says Tony Weber, MD of Universal. The timeframes required to attain the necessary mining right applications and other regulatory compliances to operate a mine is an extremely lengthy process, even in comparison with some of the country’s neighbours, he adds.


Inside Mining 06/2012

Fortunately, the company is listed in Australia, which is known for its healthy appetite for investing in junior start-up mining companies, as opposed to the local JSE market, which is far more conservative and risk-averse. Despite the challenges associated with junior South African asset owners, Weber remains devoted to the company’s production aspirations and targets, and even hopes to list locally once its first prospect – Kangala – becomes operational. “Assuming the local

investment market shows appetite for the company and is willing to invest in the business,” he adds. Between the company’s five prospects (two coking coal and three thermal coal deposits) it has a 1.93 billion tonne known gross in situ resource. And despite the vast size of its non-producing asset portfolio, the company is actively

BELOW Drilling at Berenice

Juniors and mid-tiers seeking opportunities for good-quality thermal coal deposits that, like its current projects, are located no further than about 14 km from rail. Also on Universal’s ‘top priority’ list is applying for and acquiring a Richards Bay coal export allocation.

THE THERMAL ASSETS – EMALAHLENI A new mine every year Kangala “Kangala is our most advanced asset and even though its quality is not the best in our portfolio, it is large enough to move the company out of the junior sector space and into the mid-tier once it becomes operational,” Weber explains. A binding coal supply agreement term sheet has been incorporated in a Memorandum of Understanding with Eskom and will be executed in coming weeks. From a marketrisk perspective, an agreement with Eskom means the mine will not be subject to export price fluctuations and therefore represents a low-risk start-up for Universal.

ABOVE Core logging

The mining right has also been attained (18 months after the application), the Mpumalanga provincial government has provided environmental authorisation (National Environment Management Act) and award of the water licence is imminent. Stefanutti Stocks Mining Services, together with Mineral Resource Development completed a bankable feasibility study (BFS) in April, confirming saleable coal tonnages

averaging 2.1 Mtpa from a planned 2.4 Mtpa run-ofmine (ROM) production rate over the life of the mine. The initial pit will deliver an eight year life-of-mine (LOM) from a defined and proven reserve of 19.5 Mt. It should start producing in the second half of 2013. The entire project, mine and plant, requires A$50 million Australian dollars (about R414.59  million) to take it to production. Universal has already successfully raised A$12 million, which it will use to finalise engineering work for Kangala and fund the second phase of drilling at its Berenice coking coal operation in Soutpansberg. “Both contractors are our preferred suppliers, and we hope to award the construction of the Kangala plant and mining contract before the end of the year.” The current LOM pit is situated adjacent to properties held by Universal with an

Juniors and mid-tiers

expected shortly, considering its application was submitted to the DMR 18 months ago. “This is a traditional Witbank mine, with thick seams and well understood coal qualities. It will be open pit, with a potential underground component as well.” Based on current knowledge of the project, it is estimated to be a 1 Mtpa (ROM) operation. Weber says the company is actively seeking additional prospecting rights to increase its critical mass around its asset nodes and has apparently already secured one.

ABOVE Drilling at Brakfontein BELOW Drilling at Kangala

additional 65 Mt of indicated and inferred resources, within a greater total resource base of 124 Mt. These resources were drilled out in the third quarter of 2011, with a pending resource update (to JORC-measured category) expected during the second quarter of 2012, increasing the projected life of mine for Kangala to well in excess of 16 years at BFS production levels.

Brakfontein (40% ownership) Situated just 15 km from Kangala is Universal’s second thermal coal deposit, Brakfontein. An updated resource estimation for Brakfontein was completed during the quarter and confirmed a JORC-compliant coal resource of 87.6 Mt (gross in situ), of which 70.5 Mt is measured, 14.9 Mt indicated and 2.2 Mt inferred. Following the resource upgrade, Universal Coal achieved a direct ownership of 40% in the project. According to the company, the project’s resource statistics should equate to between a 1 and 1.5 Mtpa ROM operation. The mining right application submitted during December 2011 was accepted by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) on 18 March 2012. Digby Wells and Associates, a specialist environmental consulting


Inside Mining 06/2012

THE COKING COAL ASSETS – SOUTPANSBERG High in value services provider, has commenced with the environmental impact assessment and related studies required to finalise the mining right, National Environmental Management Act and water licence applications. Universal has also commenced with a feasibility study, which is set to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2012. “Because of Brakfontein’s close proximity to Kangala, the two projects will likely merge together ultimately, and the Kangala plant will expand, allowing for significant capital coast, time saving and consequent improved margins. Unlike Kangala, this mine has a

Berenice/Cygnus The Berenice/Cygnus prospect is, in fact, a continuation of Coal of Africa’s Makhado coking coal asset. It is a soft coking coal deposit with additional thermal coal potential. Engineering house DRA has concluded the concept study for the project and has confirmed that it is viable at this stage of its development with a sustainable 10 Mtpa ROM operation, with a LOM (opencast) well in excess of 25 years. A second phase of drilling has subsequently started to bring the inferred and

Because of Brakfontein’s close proximity to Kangala, the two projects will likely merge together high-value domestic/export component, although we will always extract a middlings component for power station consumption,” Weber outlines. Overall, Universal has adopted a ‘nodal development approach’; central processing infrastructure will be used to counter the huge increase experienced in developing mines.

Roodekop Universal Coal is progressing well with the feasibility study at Roodekop, set to be finalised during the third quarter of 2012. It is situated close to the New Clydesdale Colliery owned by Exxaro and the Goedehoop colliery owned by Anglo American Thermal Coal. The water licence application was lodged during the quarter and the mining right (including a plant) is

indicated resources within the open pit areas to a measured category. The current (second) phase will focus on drilling out of the southern area of the pit and is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2012. The third phase will be undertaken thereafter with completion expected during 2013. The company also commissioned an environmental risk assessment, a geotechnical study and geohydrological survey/ water census in preparations of the prefeasibility that will be commissioned in the fourth quarter of 2012 Last quarter, the DMR approved the renewal of the Berenice prospecting right for an additional three years and the Section 11 transfer of the Cygnus project from Solar Spectrum to Universal Coal Development 5, the special purpose entity for this project. Weber is, however, hesitant to give a timeline to the development of the project at this stage.

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The East Rand Basin’s untapped potential East Rand Gold Basin has fallen into the hands of prosperous, cash-generating owners that plan to deliver a host of new gold mines across the vast hectares, leaving behind the devastating legacy of former owner Pamodzi Gold, writes Laura Cornish.

The deal and conditions On 18 May 2012, gold companies Gold One International and its 72%-owned subsidiary Goliath Gold announced their acquisition of liquidated Pamodzi Gold’s East Rand assets, including Grootvlei 4 Shaft complex. The deal gives the companies access to the majority of the East Rand Basin, extending some 330 km² between Nigel and Brakpan. It cost the companies a mere R70 million. Upon closure of the transaction, Gold One’s R65 million provides it with access to down-dip, contiguous area extensions to its Modder East operation. Should a drilling programme reveal that the underground contents are valuable, it will substantially extend the mine’s current 10 year life of mine (LOM). “For us, the focus is to prospect for, and develop new mines within the vast untapped areas of the basin,” explains Izak Marais, senior vice president of operations at Gold One. And who better to do the job than the company that successfully established Modder East – a new era, brand-new goldmine that is ramping up to full production, established a few kilometres from an historical operation mined since the 1920s. It is situated on the northern tip of the East Rand Basin. The historical Sub Nigel 1 Shaft, situated further south in the basin, remained operational despite numerous challenges thanks to the effort and investment Gold One injected into the asset until November 2011, when ceased pumping operations at Grootvlei caused the shaft to flood.

The intention, Marais continues, behind acquiring the flooding Grootvlei 4 Shaft complex was to gain access to the defunct process plant as well as the original Grootvlei head office buildings. While the chance of refurbishing the plant is minor due to the vandalisation that has taken place in recent months, it does provide the companies with a ‘historically disturbed site’, meaning a new plant can be constructed within the same footprint without having to gain new regulatory approvals.

ABOVE Grootvlei No 4 Shaft headgear BELOW The winder house interior has been stripped

With the return of lights and water, and some minor interior touch-ups, the ‘museum-like’ offices, still containing original documentation from when the mine was originally started, will be more than adequate to use as well. In a deal of this nature, Gold One left no stone unturned. Having originally approached the liquidators in 2009, it included two very important, key components, the

Inside Mining 06/2012



ABOVE LEFT The Grootvlei plant is overgrown with plant life ABOVE RIGHT The Grootvlei No 4 headgear cages stand still, completed covered in rust LEFT The plant silo shows the enormous scale of the plant’s capacity BELOW Operational two years ago, the plant is run-down, defunct, and flooded in some areas

since 2003, notes that the water level is consistently rising by about 11 m every month. The water level at the respective Grootvlei shafts is about 570 m below surface. There are hundreds of shafts spread across the basin, varying in size from small declines to big production shafts. first being the removal of the debilitating gold hedge Pamodzi set in place. The second, Marais explains, was the promise that neither Gold One, nor Goliath Gold takes on any responsibility for the historic environmental or pumping liabilities the complex continues to incur. Gold One projects coordinator Herbie Trouw, who has been working at Grootvlei


Inside Mining 06/2012

The way forward Instead of applying for new mining rights over the areas, Gold One and Goliath Gold will apply for prospecting rights instead. “This approach means we will not be liable for any historically incurred environmental liabilities, any underground water pumping or potential acid mine drainage,” Marais

points out. The companies will only be responsible for the liabilities they create from this point on. As holders of prospecting rights, Gold One and Goliath Gold will limit exposure to historical rehabilitation liabilities to an amount estimated at R10 million. According to historical resource estimates and mineralogy in the area, Gold One resource manager Evan Cook says there is enough grade-rich, untapped area along the basin to establish a host (at least three or four) of Modder East clones. Cook first joined Grootvlei in 1996 and has worked across the complex since then. “People are concerned with our development aspirations around the basin, but we will take all care and precaution not to tap into underground flooded areas. Modder East, which borders on but is not connected to Grootvlei 8 Shaft, is already a clear confirmation of our ability to mine accurately and responsibly,” Cook notes. Besides, the target is the Main Reef and nearby ‘secondary reefs’, which are no deeper than 500 m to 1 000 m below surface.

Gold RIGHT The rusted appearance of the mill shows how the plant has been shredded and forgotten

Timelines for a new Modder East are not on the table yet, and it will be a few years before any new mine emerges.

The history of Grootvlei No 4 Shaft, one of the last operating shafts within the Grootvlei complex, first became operational in the 1940s. It has belonged to various owners over its life, including Harmony Gold and Bema. Pamodzi Gold acquired the East Rand assets, including Grootvlei, in 2006 and lasted only three years before being liquidated with not a cent to show for its efforts. Pamodzi liquidators appointed Aurora Empowerment Schemes in October 2009 to help extract value from Grootvlei to help alleviate the hedge fund, but was handed its own liquidation papers in October 2011. It was accused of not paying workers and stripping the Grootvlei assets down to their current obsolete status – not only stopping the essential underground pumping, but removing

the entire pumping system as well, which today is the sole cause of the flooded Grootvlei shaft complex. Until March 2010, No 4 Shaft and its process plant were fully operational. In less than two years, they have been reduced to

waste. The plant had the potential to process 240 000  tpm says Trouw. Aurora Empowerment Systems was headed by former president Nelson Mandela’s grandson Zondwa, and President Jacob Zuma’s nephew, Khulubuse.

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Global engineers dive into Africa

Sappi’s Ngodwana plant

Global engineering entity AMEC is looking to expand its African footprint within the mining and metals sector. On the back of this intention, its South African counterpart believes its 30-year continent expertise will help leverage the group’s strategy, writes Laura Cornish.


MEC has a healthy record of African mining study and execution projects. “The intention going forward, however, is to significantly expand our service offerings in-house so that we do not need to rely on pulling in experts from within the AMEC

Drilling at the Husab uranium project in Namibia

stable when necessary. With this action plan already successfully under way, we believe that we will be well positioned to serve as the entire group’s ‘launch pad’ into Africa,” explains the AMEC business development executive for Africa, Liam Cafferty.

In line with this strategy, AMEC remains in the midst of a massive recruitment drive for mining and geology experts, and recently welcomed Steve Smithies as AMEC’s African mining and geology technical director, and Gavin Chamberlain as projects director. Having worked extensively in the mining and engineering fraternity, Chamberlain has wasted no time familiarising himself with the company’s procedures and practises, and will focus on delivering key objective targets for the African operation. He outlines the three specific key target areas as:

1. Ensuring the ‘AMEC way’ of business “One of the main reasons I joined AMEC was for its mature system resources and well outlined disciplines. They have been developed over many years and integrate all aspects of the project management value chain,” says Chamberlain.

2. Growing the African footprint Extending AMEC’s own African footprint can be achieved through multiple avenues.


Inside Mining 06/2012

Engineering “In addition to attaining our own EPCM contracts, we will also look to add value to projects that other AMEC companies are delivering on. This can be done through procurement, the supply of site-based services, coordinating between client and the respective engineering branch, etc.,” explains Chamberlain. This has already emerged as an AMEC strength, and Chamberlain is looking to fortify this company attribute.

3. Securing more execution projects “My job will also focus on helping AMEC secure at least one or two new full execution jobs by 2013 and then retain this baseload going forward,” Chamberlain outlines. The company is presently involved with two projects, working together with respective international AMEC partners. Overall, the African office is currently involved in 11 African project studies and Chamberlain believes at least one study project will convert into an execution project before the end of the year. The new projects director also carries extensive expertise in the renewable energy sector, and he will focus on bringing this new business area into the local subsidiary.

“My job will also focus on helping AMEC secure at least one or two new full execution jobs by 2013 and then retain this baseload going forward.” - Gavin Chamberlain ArcelorMittal’s Liberia-based Western Range iron ore project. AMEC in Africa is supplying all of the sitebased services, which will equate to between 40 and 50% of the total man hours contributed from the South African branch. The project was awarded late in 2010.

Sappi’s GoCell project AMEC’s office in Vancouver, Canada, was appointed by paper producer Sappi to undertake the full EPCM contract for ‘Project GoCell’ in South Africa in October last year. The AMEC team has started mobilisation and set-up, with the EPCM to follow. The GoCell project is located at Sappi’s Ngodwana Mill, near Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. The

project will reconfigure one of the mill’s existing production lines to produce chemical cellulose, a feedstock for the viscose staple fibre industry, which manufactures textile and non-woven fibres. The project will be delivered through the combined expertise of AMEC’s Johannesburg and Vancouver offices, with the Vancouver office providing project management and engineering design services, and the local office providing engineering design support, project services and construction management, and site support. “Both of these projects are indicative of the contribution AMEC in Africa can offer to the global group’s business,” Chamberlain reiterates.

ArcelorMittal’s Western Range iron ore project in Liberia

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Southern surface air cooling Gold Fields is currently investing in several capital-intensive projects aimed at facilitating South Deep’s build-up to full production, scheduled for December 2015. One critical component of this production build-up is the addition of a new surface bulk air cooler at its historic South Shaft Complex, writes Laura Cornish.


escribed as Gold Fields’ flagship operation, South Deep is only 45 km from Johannesburg and is expected to produce 700 000 ozpa of gold at full production. While the underground extension work at the mine’s Twin Shaft complex has been described as an essential component towards reaching the mine’s full production target, the mine’s old South Shaft complex continues to be an active contributor as well. Because underground working levels are deepening at South Shaft, the need to provide additional cooling below surface has become critical. As a result of this essential requirement, refrigeration, ventilation and cooling specialist BBE Projects was awarded one its more unusual turnkey projects to date. “Gold Fields awarded us the contract to design and construct a 9  MW bulk air cooler (BAC) at the operational South Shaft and connect it to the existing refrigeration plant and cooling dams some 400  m away,” says BBE Projects MD, Richard Gundersen. “The surface refrigeration plant offers spare cooling capacity for the BAC as


Inside Mining 06/2012

new underground refrigeration machines are commissioned.” BBE Projects worked closely in conjunction with Gold Fields’ projects division and, despite numerous challenges, was able to deliver the new BAC and the buried twin pipeline system that connected it to the refrigeration plant in just five months. Detailed design commenced in July 2011, and construction crews moved on site in September. “We are particularly proud of

ABOVE Night view of South Deep’s South Shaft BELOW The complete BAC unit installed, with fans, at South Shaft

meeting such a tight timeframe, especially considering the impact of the December break,” Gundersen notes. Examining the finer details of the project, he explains: “This particular project required us not only to construct the tower around an operating brattice shaft where both hoisting

Engineering and ventilation occur, but to develop it on an extremely small footprint, as the established surface infrastructure surrounds the headgear and shaft area in all directions,” Gundersen explains. “This also made for a congested construction site.” This meant that the actual design of the BAC had to accommodate the situation. “Traditionally, surface bulk air coolers are constructed on the bank and connected to the downcast shaft through an underground tunnel that would then direct air into the shaft below surface.” Instead, the South Shaft complex BAC is situated almost directly adjacent to the concrete headgear, where two adjustable-pitch axial-flow fans force air through a vertical cooling tower, into a short section of ducting, through the legs of the concrete headgear and discharges cold air into the downcast shaft. The layout even incorporates a passageway underneath the ducting for the workers to access the shaft for their shifts. The entire BAC structure and duct are clad in fibre cement to improve thermal efficiency and to assist with a speedy erection.

BBE Projects was also responsible for the twin 450 mm diameter HDPE buried pipelines, through which 2°C chilled water gravitates from the dams at the refrigeration plant to the BAC. The pipes are also used for pumping warm water back to a warm water dam. Gundersen adds that the design has been optimised to minimise power consumption

through the careful control of chilled water supply and with variable speed drives on the return pump motors. Overall, at maximum capacity during the summer months, the BAC will provide 9 MW to cool 300 m³/sec of air to 8.5°C.

Construction and commissioning of the BAC unit was completed in five months

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Structural-savvy specialists

Medupi power station is slowly starting to take shape, thanks to the vast number of contractors working to ensure it comes online and delivers new baseload megawatts. Construction company Group Five is one such contractor whose contribution to the project will ensure its success, writes Laura Cornish.


he construction of a new power station is a massive undertaking in itself, but the work required to ensure that the Grootegeluk coal mine is able to supply Medupi with sufficient coal is an equally essential component. To ensure this transpires, Exxaro has undertaken a massive expansion of its Lephalale-based coal operation, constructing two new beneficiation plants (GG7 and GG8). Titled the Grootegeluk Medupi Expansion Project (GMEP), it will supply a dedicated coal stream to Medupi – 14.6 Mtpa of coal for at least 40 years. “In January last year, Group


Inside Mining 06/2012

Five became a contributing contractor to the project,” says Group Five projects construction director, Chris Willemse. “We were awarded the fabrication, supply, installation and commissioning of the structural steel components, free issued mechanical equipment and components, as well as all piping for the run-of-mine (ROM) feed conveyors from inside the pit to the ROM bunkers and the reclaim conveyors from the ROM bunker. The discard bunker and its feed conveyors as well as the two reclaim conveyors, and transfer areas also formed part of the scope of work,” Willemse explains. “We

ABOVE Rom Feed Conveyors going to the Rom Bunker OPPOSITE Rom Handling Conveyors Coming from The Rom Bunker to the Rom Silo

are extremely proud to be associated with the Medupi project and equally so with Exxaro.” It has been 13 months since Group Five mobilised on site and it is now 55% complete (including assembly) with the contract. “We are scheduled to finish towards the end of the year, and we are well on track to do so,” he adds. This alone is a major accomplishment

Engineering considering the extensive nature of the project and some of the challenges encountered along the way. Put into context, Group Fiveâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s contract alone is a major undertaking â&#x20AC;&#x201C; it is responsible for 6 km of conveyors and, over its contract period,

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sourcing steel has been one of our biggest challenges following the massive steel shortages experienced in South Africa in 2011â&#x20AC;? will inject 4 472 t of structural steel and 2 610 t of platework into the project, along with 7 km of pipework. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sourcing steel has been one of our biggest challenges following the massive steel shortages experienced in South Africa in 2011,â&#x20AC;? Willemse explains. Group Five remains on schedule, despite such a debilitating situation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Managing our overhead cranes, while interfacing with other contractors and their cranes within a small footprint area (around the ROM bunker) has also proved difficult at times. We consider such challenges something we can learn from and believe they enable us to expand and improve our on-site working experience even further.â&#x20AC;? Working at height has been a prominent factor throughout Group Fiveâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s contract. The steel structure around the ROM bunker is 65 m in height and the majority of its conveyors are elevated. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We are lifting

between 50 and 60 t conveyor gantry sections at a time, with each of the sections 42 m in length,â&#x20AC;? Willemse adds. Looking back over the past year, Willemse believes Group Fiveâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quality and safety record has been exemplary, especially considering Exxaroâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s concern with these specific aspects. To date, the company has achieved above 257 000 lost time injury free hours. Group Five is responsible for 152 people on site, 60% of which are Lephalale locals. Medupi power station is completely reliant on a steady coal stream from the new GMEP facilities, making Group Fiveâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s contract one of many vital contracts that will ensure success for both the new power station and new GMEP plants.

Group Five is a diversified construction services, materials and infrastructure investment group We have the skills and experience to deliver any aspect of an infrastructural project, including concept development, manufacturing, construction and operations and maintenance. We operate in Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe I Ranked 4th in JSE SRI Index 2010 I Winner of DEKRA Ethics

Award 2009 I 9th in Financial Mailâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s top empowerment companies 2010 I Construction Charter Level 2 BBBEE rating I Employing 12 000 people in 23 countries I Celebrating 37 years as a listed entity

Group Five Projects (Pty) Ltd 130 13th Avenue, Corner Paul Smit Street, Anderbolt, Boksburg North I PO Box 26807, East Rand 1461, South Africa I Tel +27 11 899 4600 I Fax +27 11 918 2707 I Email projects@groupďŹ I Website

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It’s all in the MIX As the number of new mining projects escalates, so too does the competition between engineering project houses. One local project house has risen above the rest, as its skills set and strategic objectives have resulted in a constant, growing flow of new business, writes Laura Cornish.


IM-listed metallurgical engineering company MDM Engineering Group (MDM) is proving that resilience and dedication are two of the key business drivers in a globally competitive engineering industry. In the space of two years, between 2010 and 2012, the company has increased its workload volumes by almost 100%, despite the economic recession. “Two years ago, every project we were involved with was suspended as a result of the global financial crisis. Today, we have seven projects in various stages of execution and another seven projects in different study phases,” says MDM executive director, George Bennett. This means the company’s workload volume is perfectly aligned with its business model and strategy: “To have between six and 10 projects in execution phase at any given time,” according to MDM CEO, Martin Smith.


Inside Mining 06/2012

MDM was awarded the full EPCM contract to develop Tharisa Mineral’s 300 000 tpm concentrator ABOVE View from the stockpile toward the mill screen building. Conveyors bound left and right RIGHT primary mills Photos: Paul Funck, Tharisa project engineer

Considering the company’s conversion rate of bankable feasibility studies (BFS) to execution projects is over 90%, it is on well on track to reach its 10-project mark as certain of its projects in study phase are expected to move into execution in 2012. Delving deeper into the company’s approach to business, Smith continues that MDM’s ‘somewhat unique’ focus within the engineering fraternity is “having the proper mix”. This, he says, is the right mix of commodities, the right mix of multiple projects versus single project clients, the right mix of EPCM and LSTK contracts, and a

diversified geographical spread across Africa – focused predominately at values of between US$40 million and US$150 million. Minerals diversity is particularly important for MDM, and its focus includes manganese, gold, platinum, copper, phosphates, uranium and coal. “This does not mean we will not take on bigger projects for the right client at the right time, however, and we are more than adequately skilled to do so,” Bennett adds. MDM’s staff complement has grown from about 98 heads in 2010 to more than 350 core staff today, this figure excludes sitespecific project resources.

Sinking & tunnelling


Developing a difficult decline The Ghaghoo shaft development decline project, being developed by Gem Diamond Botswana, is well under way since starting last year. Having already overcome challenging ground conditions, the success of this project is a certainty, writes Laura Cornish.

A view showing the entrance of the Ghaghoo decline, with concrete lining looking outwards


em Diamonds is committed to its production profile strategy – establishing and operating a new mine in Africa – and it has its sights set on Ghaghoo. Situated in Botswana’s Central Kalahari Game Reserve, development of the greenfields mine and plant is under way, with the intention of eventually delivering hundreds of thousands of carats per annum when full production is reached. Gem Diamonds is also under way with a massive expansion plan at its Lesotho-based Letšeng operation, aimed at doubling its production.


Inside Mining 06/2012

In March 2011, Gem Diamonds’ board approved a capital budget of US$85 million for the construction of Phase 1 of the Ghaghoo underground mine, with a treatment capacity of 720  000  tpa. The objective of Phase 1 is to confirm the grade, diamond prices and the recovery processes, including the use of autogenous milling, which is expected to increase diamond liberation. Results from the first phase will underpin a study aimed at defining the way forward for mining at Ghaghoo. Last year, shaft sinking and mining contractor Redpath Mining SA was awarded the shaft decline sinking contract for the

project and mobilised onto site in August. “Our contract requires us to develop a 6 m diameter decline shaft, at an eight degree angle to a depth of 584 m into the basalt host rock. It further stipulates an advancement rate of 3.6  m every day,” explains Redpath GM, Lawrence Schultz. Despite three separate instances of extremely unusual heavy rainfall during December – enough to flood the boxcut – Redpath commenced with development in early January. “We started well and were achieving advance rates of up to 4.2  m on some days,” Schultz adds.

Sinking & tunnelling

While developing an underground decline is common practise for shaft sinking experts, the nature and properties of the overburden in the area requires a different mindset and development approach to the project. “The Kalahari ground area has the consistency of soft, slightly sticky beach sand, making it fairly unstable to work with. The ore body lies below 85 m of this sand.” Taking this into account, Redpath and Gem Diamonds have implemented what could be considered one of the most technologically advanced methodologies for developing a decline shaft in Africa. Although the technology has been widely implemented, this is the first time it is being used to develop a tunnel at an angle. “We are lining the entire tunnel with precast concrete segments. In order to do this safely, we have developed an open face, ‘moveable’ tunnel shield that will prevent the tunnel from caving in or collapsing while the precast concrete segments are put in place,” Schultz outlines. The shield was fabricated at an engineering facility in South Africa called Boksan Projects, recognised for its expertise in fabricating ‘special structures’. Explaining the development process, Schultz reveals that a 1 m area is excavated in the tunnel, with a circumference 50 mm smaller than the shield’s circumference. The shield is then pushed forward 800 mm where it supports the tunnel while segmental concrete rings are installed and bolted to the previous ring, with a key block in the centre. The ring is 0.6 m wide and is made up of 10 separate segments. The concrete segments have been designed to carry the weight above it from the deepest point of the tunnel. Although Redpath has encountered some ground condition challenges with the project, which has caused advancement delays, “our shield remains solid and intact, and our lost time injury rate remains at zero. Our dedication to the project is unwavering,” Schultz affirms. “At 474 m into the decline, we expect to encounter the transition zone where the sand layer meets the hard rock. Thereafter conventional drill and blast development will continue in the basalt to complete the decline and thereby access the ore body “Despite some delays to the decline shaft project’s development, it is only one aspect of what is already shaping up to be a very successful project. If the project develops smoothly going forward, we will be hopefully be able to make up for some of the lost time,” says Howard Marsden, operations manager for Gem Diamonds Botswana.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT The shield is used to support the tunnel while it is lined, the tunnel entrance, moving the shield forwards as the tunnel is developed and lined, the entrance to the Ghaghoo decline

extend 175 m underground. “We are currently finalising the design for the shaft, with site establishment due to start early in June,” says Schultz. Full sinking is due to start mid-July, shaft equipping at the end of October and handover to Gem is scheduled for December. A number of subcontracts have already been awarded for the vent shaft, these include: • Boksan Project – headgear • Ruco Engineering – single deck stage, shaft liner, cat ladders and associated steel work • Atlantis Hydraulics – single drum winder, four stage winches, five crab winches • Righway Engineering – kibble.

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The vertical ventilation shaft – a new contract addition In March this year, Redpath was awarded the contract to develop a vertical ventilation shaft for Ghaghoo. It will be located 1.8 km south of the decline shaft, will be 6  m in diameter and

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Sinking & tunnelling


Twistraai Colliery take two Sasol Mining has officially inaugurated its R3.5 billion Thubelisha Shaft, located at its Twistdraai colliery in Mpumalanga. The shaft will supply coal to Sasol Synfuels, the export and domestic market. The Thubelisha headgear


he current Twistdraai colliery shaft system has reached its economic limit. But thanks to the development and launch of the Thubelisha shaft, Twistdraai’s life has been extended well beyond 2039. Sasol Mining, the sole supplier of coal to Sasol Synfuels, entered the coal export market in 1995 with the establishment of Twistdraai East and West, together with the Twistdraai Export Plant, to beneficiate and supply coal to the export market. It operates one of the world’s largest underground coalmining complexes and produces over 40 Mt of coal annually with more than 90% of the coal mined being beneficiated by Sasol to produce high-quality synthetic fuels and a wide range of chemicals. “Our mining business is not only the foundation of Sasol’s South African operations, it is also a key component to ensure the country’s energy security and is a vital contributor to the country’s growth and development goals,” says David Constable, Sasol CEO. The project will sustain 1  600 jobs at the Twistdraai colliery and more than 2  000 workers were on site during Thubelisha’s peak construction phase. The bulk of the workforce was drawn from local communities in the Gert Sibande District Municipality. Project statistics • the team operated and covered an area of approximately 21 km² • the distance between the extreme points of construction is some 36 km • rainfall average is 711 mm/year; the highest site rainfall measured is 1 012 mm/year with highest monthly rainfall of 280 mm • maximum number of people on site was 2 050 • more than 2.67 million cubic meters of earth was moved • over 4 000 t of steelwork was fabricated and erected • over 34 500 m³ of concrete was poured • over 19 km of electrical sleeves installed • the conveyor belt system consist of over 28 000 idlers.


Inside Mining 06/2012

Thubelisha EPCM contractor appoints new CEO Simultaneous to the launch of the Thubelisha project was the announcement that a new CEO had been appointed for RSV Enco – the company responsible for the full EPCM contract. Alan Wingrove, who was actively involved in the project since its inception, has over 37 years of experience in all facets of the mining industry, with expertise in the operational and project management environment. He was the COO for RSV Enco for the past three years, during which time he successfully managed two major projects as programme manager. Wingrove was also the Enco Exco member responsible for the safety portfolio and on many occasions he has relieved his predecessor, Neels Engelbrecht, by performing CEO duties when called upon. “Sasol Mining has entered a period of intense capital replacement and will replace 60% of our operating capacity in Secunda in the next eight years. This capital replacement comes at a total cost of R14 billion. The Thubelisha shaft is the first milestone in this large-scale project,” says Sasol Mining MD, Hermann Wenhold. Thubelisha, situated in the north-east of the Secunda complex, will comprise an operation delivering more than 8 Mtpa over a lifespan of 25 years. The shaft consists of surface buildings, coal conveyance infrastructure, workshops and a full shaft system.

“Sasol Mining has entered a period of intense capital replacement and will replace 60% of our operating capacity in Secunda in the next eight years” “Sasol Mining, in the recent past, has seen great improvements in its safety performance, following the implementation of a comprehensive safety improvement plan. I am pleased by these successes, but realise that we require a consistent and unrelenting focus on safety to sustain these achievements,” adds Constable. The project’s total conveyor belt length is approximately 20 km, making it one of the longest conveyors in the country. The shaft will have underground and surface infrastructure to support 12 production sections, and an underground and surface coal handling facility. Once the shaft is fully operational, 1 600 employees will be deployed to the shaft. BELOW (From left to right) Nolitha Fakude, executive director of Sasol; Susan Shabangu, Minister of Mineral Resources, and David Constable, Sasol CEO



Introducing the Nordberg NW portable plant series Metso Mobile’s electrically driven Nordberg NW wheel-mounted crushing and screening plants provide key advantages in terms of production output, process flexibility and mobility. LEFT NW Series portable plants can be operated as independent units or as multi-stage crushing and screening process plants BELOW Metso’s Bruno simulation software assists in determining the optimal process flow and plant set-up


he plants keep site establishment costs to a minimum and optimise equipment operating expenditure – two areas that assist in providing each customer with the lowest sustainable cost per tonne. According to Metso Mobile, the plants’ value is particularly evident on mediumto longer-term process projects requiring a semi-fixed installation that can easily be relocated without compromising the reliability of Metso’s crushers and screens. When it’s time to move to the next site, the NW’s trailer-mounted chassis is designed so that the plant can be towed in both on- and offhighway applications. NW Series portable plants can be operated as independent units or as multi-stage crushing and screening process plants. Applications range from primary, secondary,


Inside Mining 06/2012

and tertiary to fine crushing. Capacities start at around 100 tph and go up to 2  000  tph, depending on the feed material and product requirements. “Since every application is different, we work with customers to decide on the best

approach once the material feed characteristics and end-product requirements have been determined,” explains Andrew Stones, Metso Mobile sales manager at Barloworld Equipment, which is Metso Mobile’s southern African dealer. “We then use Metso’s Bruno simulation software to assist us in determining the optimal process flow and plant set-up.” Options comprise Nordberg C-Series jaw crushers, GP and HP cone crushers, Barmac rock-on-rock VSIs (vertical shaft impactors), NP crushers (horizontal shaft impactors), and CVB and FS series portable screens. “You can operate your NW plant as an open or closed circuit operation just by adding or removing individual units and conveyors.” adds Stones. “This really enhances equipment versatility and process flexibility from one project to the next.”



A crushing success Technology engineering group Sandvik is using an innovative 3D methodology to conduct the design work on a new crushing plant at Randgold Resources’ Gounkoto mine in Mali.


he project entails the crushing of the primary run-of-mine gold ore and transporting it to a secondary crushing station to be stacked by a slewing stacker. Sandvik Mining Systems was awarded the contract in January 2011, with a scope of work including civil, electrical, mechanical and structural design, procurement, fabrication and ex-works delivery of the plant, as well as commissioning assistance. Time Mining erected and commissioned the plant in December 2011. “One of the keys to the success of this contract was the fact that we harnessed proven Sandvik crushing equipment and technology in the design,” Marnus Fick of Sandvik Mining says. “On this project we effectively removed a lot of uncertainty by creating a 3D representation in a data managed environment, using a product called Teamcenter that

ABOVE ROM tip and primary crushing being done by a CJ815 jaw crusher at Gounkoto BELOW Secondary crushing being done by a Sandvik SH660 cone crusher at Gounkoto

controls the various revisions the design went through. “All revisions to the 3D design were carried out in a managed environment enabling us to supply Time Mining with a very easy-to-interpret representation of the plant that made the construction drawings easier to understand. It also facilitated the identification of the steel members that arrived on site, effectively shortening the time to project completion. “Combining the 3D design with the data management system also allowed us to compile a bill of quantities and manage it through The scope of work the various life cycle stages, Gounkoto is a greenfields discovery located 25 km south from concept through fabriof Randgold Resources’ Loulo gold mine. Sandvik’s scope cation into logistics control of supply commenced from the top of the tip bin. Ore is and construction. withdrawn from a 100 t bin via a 1.8 m wide x 7 m long “This approach allowed us to apron feeder, which will deposit the ore straight into a CJ815 significantly reduce the likeliJawmaster primary crusher at a rate of 800 tph. hood of errors and boost the The crushed -350 mm ore from the primary crusher is deposited via a chute onto a transfer conveyor that is ability to do materials control 1 200 mm wide, which in turn transfers the ore to the on site, ultimately increasing secondary crushing station. The -100 mm product is the speed of construction,” stockpiled using a 1 200 mm-wide slewing conveyor capable Fick comments. of creating a stockpile of over 20 000 t. The discharge chutes HAZOPS (hazards and opfrom the primary sizers are lined with 16 mm VRN400 liners erability studies) were into reduce maintenance downtime in this high wear area. “The scope included the total steel support structure of the corporated into the design CS660 secondary crusher, including the structures required to ensure safe and efficient to support a 25 t electric overhead crane,” Fick says.

About Sandvik Mining Systems? Sandvik Mining Systems is a product area of Sandvik Mining that was created in the wake of the recent restructuring of the Sandvik Group’s global operations. The new product area became fully operational in early 2012 and specialises in bulk materials handling solutions. From continuous opencast mining systems and in-pit crushing and conveying to integrated stacking, reclaiming and conveying systems for mines, stockyards, mills and port facilities, the company offers total solutions and turnkey installations including a wide range of individual equipment like crushing plants, reclaimers, stackers, bucket wheel excavators, spreaders and shiploaders.

operations of the plant. Sandvik also set up a local supply of critical spares through its office in Mali and will continue to support the life of plant via this office.

Inside Mining 06/2012




Reliable after-sales service Screening equipment is only as reliable as the customer service that supports it â&#x20AC;&#x201C; something that the mining industry is becoming increasingly aware of. By David Sibley, MD of process equipment company Ludowici Meshcape


s investment into African mining projects continues to increase at an exponential rate, so too does the demand for modern and reliable screening equipment that is backed-up by dedicated after-sales service and technical support on a round-the-clock basis. The challenge in meeting this increasingly competitive demand in a labour-intensive market is ensuring that capital goods and components supplied to these projects are equipped with advanced technology that remains user-friendly, with minimal maintenance requirements. Efficient cost-per-tonne ratios have become one of the driving forces behind any mineral processing project, meaning aftersales service has become more essential than ever before, especially in a market that has only recently moved towards technology and mechanisation, and often involves large capital investment at the outset. To ensure peace of mind for investors and project managers, it is important that capital equipment suppliers focus on establishing dedicated service crews that train and assist operators in the correct application and maintenance of the equipment as substantial monetary losses are unnecessarily incurred on a daily basis, mostly due to a lack of technical knowledge and methodology. Bearing this in mind, it is also essential that customers are kept up-to-date with the latest technological trends and educated on the benefits of adapting in a constantly-evolving market, or they run the risk of lagging behind with uncompetitive or even obsolete equipment and processes. Furthermore, experienced engineers and process support managers should be readily


Inside Mining 06/2012


available to visit a site when required, in order to identify the necessary areas where the plant can save money and increase production, and ultimately streamline output yields and return on investment. Unfortunately, a large number of projects are still being tempted by significantly cheaper imports and counterfeit vibrating and screening equipment, which proves to be costly in the long-run I have, in my own experience, encountered cases where a customer has purchased screening media equipment that, at face value, looks identical to a Ludowici Meshcape product, but is sold for only a fraction of the price. Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes evident that the product is overwhelmingly inferior, with missing components and inferior material, or ill-fitting and sub-standard units. This, in turn, creates considerable challenges further down the line with regards to unscheduled downtime and maintenance or, in the worst case scenario, an entire plant replacement. All of these factors impact significantly on the operation’s cost-pertonne performance. Looking at the local market, I do believe that the industry trend has gradually shifted; during the establishment of a plant, instead of buying cheaply in order to save initial short-term costs, more expensive and reliable equipment is purchased, which ultimately reduces long-term operational costs. This is evident in the fact that reflux classifiers are fast becoming the preferred – and more efficient and cost-effective

– alternative to the industry-standard spiral technology in the coal, chrome, ferrochrome and iron ore processing industries across Africa. Although the initial purchase price of a reflux classifier is higher than its spiral

alumina carbide to siliconised silicon carbide (SiSiC) as a liner for pipes carrying mining slurries. The SiSiC material is extremely wear-resistant and is glued together and cast into the pipe in a monolithic form. It has proved to be highly suc-

Reflux classifiers are fast becoming the preferred alternative to the industry-standard spiral technology equivalent, the product generally tends to pay for itself within four to eight months. It provides considerable long-term savings thanks to its separation capabilities, which provide an improved throughput and a better product for the end-user. Reflux classifiers also take up considerably less floorspace compared to the equivalent amount of spirals required and require minimal operator input, thereby reducing the inherent risk of human error and high construction costs when building the plant properly. Another shift in industry trends, in South Africa in particular, is the current move from industry-standard

cessful in a number of projects since being introduced to the local market by Ludowici Meshcape at the beginning of 2012. Focusing on the year ahead, it seems likely that new investment in South Africa will continue to lag behind its neighbours, due to the ongoing debate on nationalisation and what it means to the industry. I believe it is important that investor confidence is restored in this important regional economy. The future outlook for the African mineral processing industry is overwhelmingly positive, particularly along the central belt of the continent, where investment is flowing at a steady rate.

Inside Mining 06/2012




High-pressure grinding rolls Weir Minerals Africa’s global alliance partner, KHD Humboldt Wedag, recently built one of its biggest high-pressure grinding rolls to date – an RPS220/200, which is capable of processing particles up to 80 mm and has a maximum throughput in excess of 3 000 tph.


rinding with a high-pressure grinding roll (HPGR) significantly enhances overall throughput,” says Winchester Maphosa, Weir Minerals Africa’s product manager responsible for comminution. “It’s achieved by harnessing an advanced type of grinding roll that breaks the particles by compression in a packed particle bed, compared to conventional crushing rolls, which achieve this by direct nipping of the particles between the two rolls. “The HPGR approach has many benefits that are particularly pertinent to the economic issues driving minerals processing operations today. These advantages include the ability to process moist ores, enhanced downstream recovery and improved grade of downstream products. The technology is also low maintenance and has a low space requirement in the plant. “However, one of the foremost advantages is low energy consumption, especially when compared to conventional milling,” he adds. “For most ores, the specific energy consumption is about 0.8 to 2.0 kWh per tonne of HPGR feed. When coupled with subsequent downstream processes or high-efficiency classifiers, overall grinding energy reductions of as much as 40% have been achieved.” HPGRs were originally introduced as a new grinding technology in 1984. Since then, they have been successfully installed in many plants throughout the world, mainly for cement and limestone. More recently, HPGRs have also been applied in mineral processing plants, largely in iron ore and diamond treatment applications. In these industries, the application of HPGR ranges from coarse grinding (the grinding of 65 mm size excess pebbles in AG circulation loops, for example) to final grinding of <100 μm material, to high Blaine values in the preparation of pellet feed.


Inside Mining 06/2012

“The HPGR approach has many benefits that are particularly pertinent to the economic issues driving minerals processing operations today.” - Winchester Maphosa, HPGR product manager at Weir Minerals Africa

HPGR grinding significantly enhances overall throughput. This results in the creation of a large proportion of finished product and, generally, a reduced Bond Work Index of the pressed material. This allows for a reduction in the projected number of equipment units required in tertiary crushing, quaternary crushing and grinding. “With the new RPS220/200 we are now able to offer the African market a technology that can process bigger particles than ever before and delivers the highest tonnage for this technology to date,” says Maphosa. “Since the cost of wear is of major importance to the minerals processing industry, KHD has given wear protection top priority on our behalf. The highly wear-resistant stud-lining of its rolls has taken a leading position worldwide. This combination of hard-metal studs and the material embedded between them is globally recognised for its autogenous wear protection of the roll surface.” Weir Minerals Africa first installed HPGR technology in the African mining industry at an iron ore application in Mauretania. This company has since purchased two more units, bringing its full HPGR complement to four units, with a combined throughput capacity of 1  800  tph. Maphosa explains that in iron ore applications, the technology also


offers advantages to the processing filter cake of beneficiated concentrates. This provides a means of avoiding the need for either excessive drying or difficult filtration and sedimentation processes. Outside of the continent, Weir Minerals is in the process of supplying HPGRs to a gold ore application in China, an iron ore plant in Chile and a copper ore operation in Peru. Weir Minerals’ large footprint, together with with KHD’s backing, allows the ability of quick response times to customers’ requirements and the capacity to service the HPGRs within the regions where the machines are installed. “HPGRs have gained a firm footing in global comminution technology,” Maphosa concludes. “Contrary to conventional single particle crushing – in tube mills, for example – the outstanding size reduction in an HPGR is the result of inter-particle

comminution between the rolls. The technology is gaining recognition for its high material throughput rates at comparably low capital outlay.”

ABOVE View of the HPGR grinding roll that is used to break particles by compression in a particle bed BELOW The top view of the RPS220200 HPGR being built at KHD Humboldt Wedag

Inside Mining 06/2012


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A wealth of prospects Pilot Crushtec is rapidly expanding its footprint across the continent with its latest focus on West Africa, which holds a wealth of prospects for the extraction of minerals and precious metals.


ccording to sales manager Wayne Warren, the company’s expansion in this region has been a gradual process based upon a growing knowledge and confidence in Pilot Crushtec products and the recovery in global mineral and ore prices. “A typical example is the long-standing relationship we have with a leading gold producer in the region that bought a Pilot Modular plant from us back in 1999. And it has worked well ever since.” This positive experience prompted the company to buy a second Pilot Modular plant in mid-2011 to handle a harder grade of material. “This proved to be a resounding success, so much so that it purchased another identical plant later in December,” says Warren. He adds that the customer can now feed crushed run-of-mine material into both its mineral sizers, substantially increasing its productivity. Following a decade of outstanding service from his original plant, the miner now has

an impressive fleet of equipment, including a Pilot Modular BR0605 impact crusher, two Pilot Modular/TRIO MJ3042 jaw crushers, a Pilot Modular GFH560 grizzly feed hopper, five MC600 conveyors, two Pilot Modular MC1000 11 m conveyors and two Pilot Modular MC1050 24 m conveyors. Warren believes that a number of important factors are contributing to the expansion of the Pilot Crushtec brand in West Africa. “Pilot Crushtec’s products are built to meet African needs and conditions. Our customers’ sites are often in remote areas where even basic services are unavailable. It is absolutely vital to have a reputation as a provider of quality turnkey solutions with impeccable after-sales service.” There is also a strong South African connection within the West African mining community, with either expatriates working for local mining houses or Johannesburg-based companies running their own  operations. “This is a decided advantage. We speak the same language and many of these companies have offices close to our own headquarters in Jet

Park, east of Johannesburg. Being close to OR Tambo International Airport also helps as many of our West African customers call on us first when they come to South Africa.” West Africa has enormous potential for mining, as well as the creation of infrastructure. Ghana, for example, is Africa’s second-largest gold producer and Guinea holds an estimated quarter of the world’s bauxite reserves. Pilot Crushtec has built up its business on the strength of relationships and West Africa is no different. “Our plan is to have a dedicated sales engineer who will concentrate on West Africa in the same way we have increased our footprint in other locations south of the Sahara. By forging new relationships we believe there are excellent opportunities for sustainable growth in the region.”

BELOW A leading gold producer recently purchased a second Pilot Modular plant from Pilot Crushtec in order to handle a harder grade of material

Inside Mining 06/2012




Optimising the comminution circuit Demand for mineral process solutions provider Multotec’s expertise in optimising the comminution circuit is gaining traction across Africa, specifically for mill linings, says Multotec Rubber MD, Spike Taylor.


n Mali, West Africa, Multotec has successfully increased the life of a mining operation’s mill lining from between eight and nine months to 12 months. Taylor says this has been achieved by replacing the originally installed MultoMet composite lifter bars with Hardox 500 steel plates, to heavy-duty MultoMet lifter bars, using castings to achieve longer life. “Optimisations a huge focus in the minerals industry today as shutdowns are time consuming and costly,” says Taylor. “It makes sense to opt for the most reliable product with the potential to maximise uptime.” Heavy-duty MultoMet lifter bars use proprietary heat-treated chromium molybdenum alloy cast steel inserts that allow for the design of lifter bars with more impact and abrasion resistance, with a focus on the height-to-angle and covering the top of the lifter for specific trajectories and longer life.


Inside Mining 06/2012

The Hardox 500 plates in MultoMet lifter bars and shell plates are quenched and tempered to achieve maximum toughness and are Spike Taylor, managing not prone to cracking. Hardox 500 al- director of Multotec Rubber lows for a plate running the full length of the lifter with no joints or sections. installation and minimisation of gold lockAlso in Mali, Multotec has converted an exup, which can prove very costly,” Taylor isting steel-lined mill at Somisy’s Syama mine comments. “The plant is now on its third to heavy-duty MultoMet. Although this task set of replacement liners, which are deliverwas highly complex in terms of installation ing an improved performance in line with and reconfiguring, the end result has been customer requirements.” improved lining life. Rubber mill linings are lighter than their “Two primary reasons for the conversion steel counterparts, which means they are from steel to MultoMet rubber composeasier and safer to install and have the addiite lifter bars were ease of handling during tional advantage of low noise. Cost efficiency is achieved by replacing one shell plate with two lifter bars. At Metorex’s Chibuluma mine in Kalulushi, Zambia, Multotec has achieved incremental improvements in the past few years in the life of the plant’s mill liners, increasing from an average of between four and five months, to a current life of up to nine months. Multotec’s Field Service Maintenance team conducts routine mill liner inspections for customers to measure the profile of the lifter bars as an indication of remaining life, and they assist with the plant’s predictive change-out schedule. The company also deploys its specialist comminution manager, who has broad-ranging experience in mill circuit analysis, to support customers throughout Africa with design, circuit optimisation and trouble-shooting. “Aftersales service and ongoing dialogue with mill operators is high on our agenda,” Taylor notes. “We regard it as critical to ABOVE Combination primary and regularly assess operating conditions so that secondary slurry sampler for monitoring continual improvement in mill liner designs grind and grade of milling circuit can be achieved by matching the design to streams circuit LEFT A cyclone cluster in a milling circuit

“Demand for Multotec’s expertise in optimising comminution circuits has increased.”

Comminution the actual conditions, rather than being guided by theoretical mill design conditions. We also harness 3D modelling for detailed liner analysis.â&#x20AC;?

Black box With Multotecâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s other in-house specialist managers, the company is able to offer a combined expertise that focuses on measurement and control within the greater â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;black boxâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; of the milling circuit. This includes enhancing trommel performance with the correct screens for specific applications ranging from large, sophisticated steel structure screens of up to 5 m in diameter to small and sometimes non-standard trommel screens. Fitted with polyurethane and rubber screen panels, they are integral to protecting the pumps and cyclones from worn grinding media and high volumes of scats. Although Multotec does not supply vibrating screens, the same polyurethane and rubber screen panels are supplied for vibrating screens used in front of the mill for feed sizing and for mill discharge when the circuit has a vibrating screen instead of a trommel. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our cyclone test facility plays an important role in the evaluation of different ore types and their behaviour inside the cyclones, which are sized to suit each circulating load and required grind,â&#x20AC;? continues Taylor. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve built up a rich depth of in-house expertise to evaluate alternative mill circuit cyclone options using simulation packages, and we use knowledge gathered over many years of optimising cyclone efficiency in the field to improve mill circuit performance,â&#x20AC;? he continues. â&#x20AC;&#x153;R&D is an ongoing pursuit to improve our understanding of cyclone and mill interaction. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sampling also falls into the black box and Multotec provides internationally recognised sampling solutions in this arena. Hammer sampling and dry sampling are the most accurate ways to measure head grade and provide the best feed size, and we are able to sample to a top size of 500 mm. Wet sampling analyses the efficiency of the grind to achieve balance in the mill circuit. The Multotec cross-stream sampler has proved a real market differentiator for us. With the associated splitters, this technology can be used to take accurate, unbiased samples of mill discharge streams involving high-volume flows.â&#x20AC;?

only through robust in-house training, but also via relationships established with leading universities that allow Multotec specialists to deliver lectures Multotec Group CEO, Thomas Holtz on comminution. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The point of this initiative is to elevate the vocation of the future of the African mining industry,â&#x20AC;? says comminution engineer as an important Holtz. â&#x20AC;&#x153;To this end we also offer a number and aspirational role that is critical to the of bursaries.â&#x20AC;?

â&#x20AC;&#x153;The company is heavily involved in transferring comminution circuit skills to the next generation of engineers.â&#x20AC;?



for the perfect mix

Multotec, a leading mineral process solutions provider to the mining and mineral beneďŹ ciation industries, partners with customers for perfect equilibrium between the life of equipment and process effectiveness in every individual customer application. Our value-added products and extensive application knowledge have established our global reputation for providing optimum technical solutions and the highest levels of support through consulting services and ďŹ eld service teams.

Skills transfer The Multotec Group CEO, Thomas Holtz, says his company is heavily involved in comminution circuit skills transfer to the next generation of engineers. This is being achieved not

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Ceterum censeo

She ain’t heavy BY WILLEM SMUTS

South Africa’s

the property, including mining activities in the wetland, are authorised in the Integrated Water Use Licence (IWUL). As part of this process, a river diversion was authorised in the IWUL as well as in the Environmental Impact Assessment. The diversion has been implemented to divert clean water away from the mining area, which will limit the impact on water resources. Operations at the mine comply with the conditions of these environmental authorisations. There is a right way to deal with ‘naughty’ mining companies – and I am in no way saying Exxaro has been naughty – and running to the press and the ‘greenies’ is not the way.

Minister of Mineral Resources, Susan Shabangu, has brushed off concerns over the highly debated ‘resource rent tax’ on mining profits. She added that any change would have to keep the country’s mining sector competitive. The minister said that it was too early to discuss details of the proposed tax, but that government will come up with a regime that will allow the country to compete in an advantageous way. If I could give the minister any advice, it would be not to try and do this without exhaustive inputs from the captains of the mining industry. This certainly is not the kind of game you play without having all sides on the field and a good referee that understands the rules.

False accusations

Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines engages government on fees

It was good to see Exxaro speaking out against the unfounded claims by local farmers and the ever present green brigade; both groups appear to address their differences with mining companies in the press rather than through the appropriate channels. Exxaro has also made available all the necessary applications it needed to conduct mining operations at the mine in question and points out that alleged illegal activities on

The government of Zimbabwe recently raised mining fees by about 5 000% to between US$3 000 and US$5 million. The Chamber of Mines president, Winston Chitando, has submitted the Chambers’ recommendations and views to the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development for consideration. While not elaborating on the nature of the recommendations, one hopes that the negative effects of these

plans are clear, on the mining industry in Zimbabwe in general and, more specifically, the impact on local miners and smaller operators hoping to enter the industry. According to Statutory Instrument 11 of 2012, registration of diamond claims was increased from US$1 million to US$5 mil-

‘Powering the mining industry for growth and development’, but they have picked a hard time to do this. The government says the increases have been introduced to curb speculative activities in the sector. Well to

The government of Zimbabwe recently raised mining fees by about 5 000% lion, with a new ground rental fee of US$3 000/ha per year – talk about slaughtering the goose before you know if it will lay any eggs! Application fees for prospective coal investors were increased from US$5 000 to US$100 000, while registration or renewal fees are now set at US$500 000. In addition, there is now a new ground rental fee of US$100/ha. Ordinary and special platinum prospectors will pay US$500 000, up from the previous US$200. The new thresholds would stifle the participation of indigenous people who do not have the capacity to raise the required fees, let alone afford to carry out actual exploration work. The Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines is pushing the theme

the contrary – this will just cause more to take place. Not balking at any uphill battle, the chamber is also in discussions with ZESA Holdings on electricity supply and is hoping to come up with a framework for the development of mining. Erratic power supplies have continued to affect production in the mining sector, threatening a growth projection of over 15% – perhaps a more appropriate place for government to spend their efforts? Besides, it is not the chambers’ job to secure power for mining. In my opinion, the junior miners in Zimbabwe should be screaming blue murder and insist on being heard. Willem Smuts


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Inside Mining June 2012  

Inside Mining June 2012 edition