Mining Business Africa - March - April 2022

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Targeting Africa’s Mining Decision Makers

Environmental Compliance Auditing for Mining Projects 2022 African Mining Indaba Hydrogen fuel cell-powered trucks

March - April 2022

The Evolution of African Mining has begun Unprecedented line-up of Pan-African Ministers, mining CEOs and global investors


H.E. Mokgweetsi Masisi

H.E. Hakainde Hichilema

President Botswana

President Republic of Zambia


Hon. Gwede Mantashe

Duncan Wanbald

Sinead Kaufman

Mark Bristow

Minister of Mineral Resources & Energy South Africa

Chief Executive Anglo American Group

Chief Executive – Minerals Rio Tinto

CEO Barrick Gold

Mxolisi Mgojo

Roger Baxter

Clive Johnson

Alberto Calderon

CEO Exxaro Resources

CEO Minerals Council South Africa

President & CEO B2Gold

CEO AngloGold Ashanti

S E C U R E Y O U R P L A C E T O D AY | M I N I N G I N D A B A . C O M Join the conversation | #MI2022


March - April 2022

March - April 2022


Targeting Africa’s Mining Decision Makers

Editor’s Note Ukraine Crisis ‘PUTIN’ a Strain on Global mining

F Environmental Compliance Auditing for Mining Projects 2022 African Mining Indaba Hydrogen fuel cell-powered trucks

Cover Image: Polluted water emanating from mining operations fills a dam near Johannesburg, South Africa, September 24, 2015 (Image Credits: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings) COVER STORY: PG 04



Rigorous Compliance Auditing, Sustainable Mining Realising overall compliance to all the conditions of a series of environmental management licences requires focused interventions, consistent allocation of resources, very specific, effective maintenance and monitoring measures. This is the advice of the ENVASS Group to mining houses in South Africa and the greater region.


irst came the covid-19 pandemic, mining activity rebounded barely credibly. Global mining titans like BHP Group, Anglo American, Glencore and even junior miners registered bumper earnings. As stated by their annual reports, mining companies - the blue chips in particular - had had plans in store set for the implementation of greenfield and brownfield projects later in the year. Then hocus-pocus, out of the blue, Russia’s Vladimir Putin decided to attack Ukraine (his rationale is a discussion for another day) in February 2022. However, the result is that it has thrown the spanner in the works of the plans mining companies had in store for 2022 and beyond. It is akin to the movie the “Grinch that stole Christmas”, where some evil force came on Christmas eve to steal people’s joy. Russia’s attack on Ukraine has thrown the world economy in disarray. The sanctions that the western countries have imposed on Russia have had an unintended consequence of triggering inflation in all spheres, even in their own backyards. Russia for its supposed rogue behaviour is one of the leading suppliers of energy products like gas and oil, amongst others. Gas and oil are the most critical inputs in all industries, not least mining (where they account close to 30 percent of the cost). Rising oil global crude oil price, specifically, is negating any envisaged gains from high mineral prices. This is compelling overstrained mining companies to reassess their plans, with the likelihood that most projects will be shelved.

Nick Barnes

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FEATURE Composite insulators for mining projects

Innovative solutions for mining’s electrical and rail infrastructure Vexila’s composite insulators’ special features render them the perfect fit for mining-specific power infrastructure.

Insulators at Sishen Mine Project


ith over 45 years of composite insulator design and manufacturing expertise, Vexila is a well-established and reputable African manufacturer, offering customised, comprehensive components and tailored power solutions for medium to high voltage networks up to 765 kV. Vexila comprises of a vertically integrated manufacturing facility, which produces its own cast-end fittings, pultruded composite cores and compounded silicone, allowing the factory to be self-reliant and responsive to the rapidly evolving customers’ needs. The company develops, produces, and distributes components and complete solutions that are particularly sensitive interfaces in modern energy networks. In this respect, Vexila is one of a few companies worldwide that offers solutions for the complete transmission chain of medium to high voltage. For its customers, this means optimal power solutions for all requirements, both for now and into the future. Perfect fit for mining-specific power infrastructure Vexila’s composite insulators’ special features render them the perfect fit for mining-specific power infrastructure. These unique features include ease of handling and installation; pollution resistance; vandal resistance; and minimal maintenance. • The composite products are lightweight,

Project at Sishen Mine 1

making them cheaper to store, transport, handle and install. • The composite insulators are preferred in high pollution areas due to their aerodynamic housing design with minimal use of materials and exceptionally low maintenance requirements once installed. • The hydrophobic housing materials used assist in the prevention of contamination build-up on product surfaces (that may shorten lifespan) and reduce the need for in-service washing. • Vandalism of electrical infrastructure is a rising challenge, and one of the components most affected are ‘conventional’ insulators. Vexila’s composite insulators are vandal-resistant compared to other brittle technologies used for similar products. Certain insulators may be manufactured

2 Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022

with a coating application on the surface, but due to the anti-ageing properties of housing materials, the life span of composite products exceeds competing technologies. This makes Vexila’s composite products ideal for the mining environment. With Vexila’s insulators be assured of safe, reliable power solutions which are sample, and routine tested during the manufacturing process according to a certified ISO9001, 2015 Quality Management System. Supporting the expansion ports, harbours and rail freight corridors Due to the abovementioned features, it is not surprising that Vexila’s reputable products can be found in critical electrical and rail infrastructure supporting the expansion of the South Africa’s Transnet ports, harbours and rail freight corridors. Notably, this includes the 780 km Saldanha Iron ore line and the 600 km Richards Bay Coal Line Corridor. As a pioneer in the design, manufacture and supply of composite fuse cut-outs and composite insulators, which have been in use in Africa for over 25 and 40 years respectively, Vexila offers peace of mind for both electrical distribution and transmission infrastructure products for use in the extreme operating environment experienced by the mining sector.

FEATURE Environmental Compliance Auditing for Mining Projects

Rigorous Compliance Auditing, Sustainable Mining Realising overall compliance to all the conditions of a series of environmental management licences requires focussed interventions, consistent allocation of resources, very specific, effective maintenance and monitoring measures. This is the advice of the ENVASS Group to mining houses in South Africa and the greater region.

Polluted water emanating from mining operations fills a dam near Johannesburg, South Africa, September 24, 2015. (Image credits: REUTERS/Mike Hutchings)

By Jimmy Swira


n many countries, environmental regulation obliges mining companies to be accountable for the impact of their activities on the environment. In South Africa, for instance, the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), ISO 14001, the Environmental Management Plan (EMP) and the Environmental Authorisations (EA’s), Water Use Licence (WUL) requirements subject mining companies to produce accurate and relevant reports used to inform compliance and areas for improvement. This ensures that the conditions (or requirements) of the authorisations and licences, as well as the requirements of the relevant regulations are reviewed and ultimately achieved. However, chronically, poor compliance remains a challenge. Lamentably, despite awareness of their obligations, some mining companies have been getting bad press for deliberately flouting compliance requirements. The cost and financial implication of noncompliance in practice far outweigh the perceived short-term gains - if any. Mining

companies bear a heavy burden to rectify errors in compliance often affected by Legal Prosecution, Departmental Fines, Scrutinization from Interested and Affected Parties, additional assessments to be completed, just to name a few. Sooner or later, this has detrimental implications on the bottom-line and could lead to reputational risk. In view of this, environmental consultants and auditors from the ENVASS Group advise mining companies to approach compliance as a necessary step to ensure that their operations run smoothly and sustainably. Based on two decades of consulting to mining companies, ENVASS has documented common audit related oversights that mining houses should address to ensure that their audit programmes remain effective and their operations are compliant. The consultancy shared the information with Mining Business Africa. Legislation and attendant obligation For a better appreciation of the oversights, at the outset, it is important to examine what legislation states and what the attendant requirement contained in an authorization, a licence, an EMP

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and or an IWWMP specifically involves. As an example, relating to Waste Management, there are two important considerations. Firstly, that the licence holder is subjected to the conditional requirements of the licence itself, and in addition to this also accountable toward the various waste classification regulations which might advise on disposal facility design requirements and or general classification. Similarly, the main licence condition for compliance with a Water Use Licence could be the requirement for the construction and maintenance of water management infrastructure. For instance, typically, this could entail the design and development of a compliant river crossing and or a water borehole monitoring network. However, the National Water Act will. in addition to these site-specific requirements, impose further and other responsibilities on the licence holder as well. Compliance to both legislative and conditional requirements therefore become a challenge in response that mining right holders should distinguish between the cost of compliance from an initial capital budget.



So that your business can benefit and grow sustainably adding value through audit assurance remains our focus. Our audit design, execution and close-out aims to accurately assess compliance risks, objectively evaluating your control systems and procedures. Our audit team draws on 25 years of industrial experience. Our collaborated industrial knowledge, specialised levels of insight and strict compliance to audit principles enables us to execute best in class audit programmes and or stand alone audit reports. We recognize the complexity of environmental compliance and respond by staying abreast with legislative changes and interpretations. We benchmark and interact with our clients and our network of legal specialist and provide a unique range of compliance and environmental technical audit solutions. We endeavour to improve time and cost efficiencies and have considered physical constraints such as site accessibility, travel distances and other unforeseen events such as the national state of emergency.

In response that we have deployed ISO 9001 aligned, tailormade audit protocols to suit the varying demand of our clients which include: • • • • • •

Site based – integrated audit protocols (meetings, interviews, checklists, feedback) Remote based - intensified and interactive desktop reviews Remote based - Online opening meeting, interviews and close out meetings Remote based - Secure online documented evidence submission platforms Semi remote based - Drone (fly by) and live streaming camera site visits, Semi remote based - After-hours auditing to limit exposure.

Our Audit reports link to clear interpretable documented evidence, strong visualization and an alignment with existing document controls on site. ENVASS has been able to present as much as 50% year-on-year audit programme cost savings to our clients through tailored protocols and audit integration.


Ask our highly capable team of auditors for a suggestion or a quote on any of the following: • • • • • •

Water Use Licence’s compliance and or technical audits Waste Management Licence’s compliance and or technical audits. Environmental Management Programme Performance Assessment. National Norms and Standards compliance audits and review. Atmospheric Emission Licence’s. compliance and or technical audits Biodiversity Management Plan implementation audits and reviews.

• • • • • •

Mine Closure Audits based on GNR 1147. Internal ISO 14001 Systems and GAP Audits. NEMA Environmental Authorisation listed activities audits and reviews. Regulation 34 Audits and Recommendation for EMP amendment. Compliance Due Diligence & Gap Assessments. Occupational Health and Safety Audits.

Any of the above to be packaged into a Tailor made audit programme, cost effectively suitable for you!

CONTACT: 012 460 9768 | | Please feel free to visit our website

FEATURE sustainability of their operations. In view of this, ENVASS advances a mindset change on how mining companies approach environmental compliance. ‘A sum of many parts’ To be more effective, environmental compliance should be approached as a sum of many parts, each well-tended, encompassing the following aspects: Independent and highly capable audit team, Sufficient capital expenditure, Key elements in design and execution, and Proper documentary evidence. Most importantly, implementation should be as rigorous as possible. •

a wastewater treatment plant at Matla Coal Mine South Africa

The latter is typically linked to the design and construction of for example stormwater trenches, lined storage facilities, lined pollution control dams, and many other immovable investments. Secondly to distinguish those conditional requirements that should be allocated to operational budgets. More so aspects of ongoing monitoring, auditing, erosion control, water treatment programmes. Common oversights Mostly, the common oversights that are likely to surface are: appointment of incapable auditors who are not able to audit the legislative and conditional aspects simultaneously, thereafter could poorly designed audit protocols lead to audit infective execution. Auditors must be able to identify discrepancies between licence conditions and activities undertaken on-site. •

Appointment of incapable people Probably the primary cause of noncompliance is the failure of mining houses to appoint capable, knowledgeable, and experienced external auditors and internal auditors. Only auditors with experience and institutional knowledge can accurately identify not only non-conformances but also root causes. Instead, it often happens that mining houses use in-house auditors. Unfortunately, the inhouse auditors might not have the level of impartiality required in dealing with urgent matters, especially those linked to capital expenses. The in-house auditors may trivialise the significance of capital expenditure only for problems to escalate to a scale where they may become complicated and very costly to handle. • Poorly designed audit protocols A second scenario where oversights are

often observed is when audit protocols are wrongly designed, as a result, the auditor cannot view a representative sample of the audit area. When this situation arises, the true extent of environmental degradation and or environmental impacts can be misjudged. This may even lead to situations where actual areas of non-conformance are totally omitted from the audit programme. As a result, it becomes a challenge for the auditor and or lead auditors to ensure that consistency in qualitative and quantitative interpretations is retained in all reports. Inevitably, any form of inconsistency between different EA’s or between a WUL audit and an EMPR audit will result in grey, uncertain areas. In the end, the required corrective and improvement actions plans will become ineffective. •

Discrepancies between compliance conditions on the licence & site Another reason for shortcomings in compliance reports would be related to compliance conditions contained in licenses which are not applicable to the site itself or have lost relevance over time. Chiefly, these conditions relate to important environmental material matters whose state and urgency for execution is only noted after the administrative process of either rectifying or changing the requirement has successfully been undertaken. Mindset change Failure to comply is a result of the absurdity of cutting corners, yet, preposterously, expecting to achieve compliance. No doubt, each of the abovementioned lapses has a huge bearing on the ability of mining companies to achieve environmental compliance, which also determines the

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Independent and highly capable auditor As pointed out earlier, internal auditing (inhouse) has inherent limitations. Hence, mining companies should start viewing external audits as a constructive intervention that forms part of its larger enterprise risk management plan and its sustainability in general. This is because a compliance audit is as successful as the competence of the appointed team. So, it is of utmost importance that the audit team chosen and or appointed by the license holder is independent and highly capable to carry out basic duties effectively. A capable auditor and lead auditors should contextualise the operation and be able to interpret the documented evidence presented by the auditee accurately. Besides, the auditee should internalise the responsibility to ensure, with the auditor, that the protocol is effective and that the audit programme is executed efficiently not leaving any areas not verified. The auditee should be able to distribute the report containing clear findings and recommendations internally to management review level as well as to departmental level where applicable. • Sufficient capital expenditure There is a saying which goes, “You cannot eat a cake and have it”. This would apply to mining companies who expect to be compliant and yet are not prepared to bear the capital and or operational cost of meeting the requirements of Water Use Licence and Waste Management. Seeing that each environmental authorisation and or licence brings about its own set of compliance requirements, to some degree, it is understandable that any holder of a mining right would seek ways to reduce costs. This explains the generally negative connotation associated with compliance. Internal auditors may think that they are being frugal with overstretched financial resources by cutting corners. Nevertheless, the reality is that there would be some form of operational or capital expense required for the actual audits and subsequent mitigation measures. Consequently, it is important for the financial controllers of a greenfield or brownfield mining development to work closely with the environmental compliance office or compliance

consultant to identify which aspects can or should be capitalised. In summary In summary, the most practical manner to manage the cost of compliance is to evaluate in detail the extent of the various licence requirements, the EMP and the IWWMP. In this way, as best as possible, compliance can be built into the initial capital programme and maintenance of compliance can be accommodated within a consistently applied operational cost model. Should a mine be required to execute large corrective actions, post construction or mid operational phase, the expenses will be high and will lead to unnecessary stoppages and associated risks. ENVASS reminds that a complicated aspect is that licences are by virtue extensions of the legal requirements, and results in many complex and intertwined compliance requirements stacked up continuously. Thus, nothing is cast in stone, however that the cornerstone of a successful audit scope is to consider the inherent legal requirements as well as the conditions of the licence in parallel. •

Key elements in design and execution Identifying monitoring requirements and commitments in accordance with the aforenoted authorisations remains one of the initial and main stages of designing the programme. Every mining operation has unique challenges, and requirements in compliance monitoring are no exception. The key elements for designing and executing a compliance reporting programme rely on effectively understanding, managing and monitoring operational workings in accordance with the required site-specific Licences and Environmental Authorisations. Consequently, understanding the commitments allows officers to design the programme, execute requirements and monitor compliance to mitigate impacts concurrently.

have two choices to make pertaining to environmental compliance - either cut corners and fall short of compliance and bear the costly consequences or do the right thing. If a mining right holder decides to be selective in the way they implement conditions - prioritising some aspects or conditions and foregoing others, inescapably, the result could be total noncompliance and exposure to reputational and or legal risks. For instance, the risk of one round of poor or substandard compliance reporting is that the matters which are not addressed, escalate in intensity, and when corrective action is finally implemented, the cost might have escalated ten-fold. Unquestionably, there is nothing better than doing the right thing. Overall, realising overall compliance to all the conditions of a series of licences requires focussed interventions, consistent allocation of resources and very specific and effective maintenance and monitoring measures. The compliance assessment, the identified shortcomings and the cost of compliance should be combined to create a positive performance ideology. Integrated compliance audits Generally speaking, given that everything boils down to expenses, ENVASS suggests that mining houses adopt integrated compliance auditing as one of the simplest cost reduction exercises on the operational budget of a mine. It has been established that integrated compliance auditing is the most vital assessment programmes used to identify common shortcomings within the day-to-day workings of the auditee’s operation. This is based on immense benefits they offer, mainly: ensuring that limited time off operational matters are lost, audit fatigue is reduced, and site visits limited so that no duplication occurs. Moreover, there is reduced disbursement allocation, as well as provision for a discounted negotiation as an alternative to compensating for individual audits and disbursements throughout an annual period.

The ENVASS Group: Advanced Compliance Assessment Mining companies are spoilt for choice as environmental compliance monitoring consultancies are a dime a dozen. However, mining houses should be thorough on the choice of the consultancy to be engaged as the long-term sustainability of mining operation hinges on sound environmental compliance reporting. The ENVASS Group tells mining companies to only engage a company with proven relevant experience. “As numerous firms provide the required services, it is advised to revert to experienced consultants / auditors with extensive knowledge in the field. This enables thorough assessments as well as practical mitigating solutions compared to inexperienced auditors.” The ENVASS Group has established itself as the environmental compliance monitoring and auditing consultancy of first resort through relevance of its solutions to contemporary regulatory requirements. The Group offers an advanced compliance assessment service, which involves producing a compliance strategy for each mining house and or operation relating to its licences, EMPR and/or IWWMP documents. The group offers single and multi-site, standalone or integrated compliance audits linked to recommendations or corrective actions guidelines to be used internally or to serve as external compliance performance reports. The Group has demonstrated an exceptional ability to design and execute programmes for mining companies in different commodities. Regarding mining operations, The Group recommends integrated compliance auditing as one of the most vital assessment programmes used to identify common shortcomings within the day-to-day workings of the auditee operation.

• Proper documentary evidence One of the most general compliance nonconformance findings experienced relates to a lack of proper documentary evidence. This is easily rectified by implementing a robust Environmental Management Document System composed of both electronic and hardcopy formats for securing evidence. Due to the historical and ever-changing operations, documentation required in terms of Departmental Reporting, Notification and Submission requirements (as-built designs etc.) is extremely important to confirm compliance. Ensuring a formal documented system enables operations to provide external and Departmental representatives with all required information as proof of compliance – a simple yet underestimated system. Doing the right thing From the abovementioned, mining companies

Kriel Power Station. Coal mining and power stations in Mpumalanga. Picture - JAMES OATWAY

Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022 7

FEATURE Investing in African Mining Indaba 2022

Presidential presence underlines the event’s influence The Presidents of Botswana and Zambia, Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, and Hakainde Hichilema are confirmed to attend the 2022 Investing in African Mining Indaba, scheduled to take place in Cape Town from 9 - 12 May 2022.


fter the virtual event in 2021, Investing in African Mining Indaba is back in person, after a two-and-half year hiatus. It will take place in Cape Town from 9 - 12 May 2022. And there could have been a more perfect way than having the Presidents of Botswana and Zambia as distinguished guests of honour. Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, the president of Botswana, will share his insights on the diversification of the mining industry and his push for greater innovation in the sector. Hakainde Hichilema, Zambia’s President since August last year, will brief on his efforts to bring much needed reforms to the country’s mining sector.

Hakainde Hichilema, Zambia’s President

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A country is as successful, quality of its leadership As the Asian-Pacific state of Singapore demonstrated under its Prime Minister, the late Lee Kuan Yew, that a country is as successful as the quality of its leadership. Singapore has been turned from a backwater the British colonial government gave up without even a second thought. 60 years ago, during the time when some African countries got independence from the same British, Singapore was some backwater, with inhabitants barely eking a living. Now the state has achieved first-world status beggaring belief. While comparison with the might of Singapore may be overboard, it is worth emphasising that Botswana and Zambia are on a course, due to good leadership, that other mineral-rich countries should emulate. In contrast, in other countries on the continent, abundance of mineral resources has become more of a curse than a blessing. Thanks to good leadership - unfortunately a rarity on the continent - Botswana has consistently defied odds, investing revenue from the export of rough diamonds towards the development of basic infrastructure and improving the livelihoods of its people. Little wonder, the country is ranked highly by Transparency International as a least corrupt African country (2021), ranked second in the Human Development Index (HDI) with a score of 0.74, etc. the accolades are too numerous to be

FEATURE documented. No doubt, the country illustrates that there is a correlation between sound leadership and development. Botswana’s northern neighbour, Zambia turned the corner a few years ago, thanks to the leadership of the late Michael Sata, and the fortune of global copper prices (copper is used to manufacture components in electric vehicles). Copper has been the mainstay of the country’s economy since independence. Zambia is Africa’s second-biggest producer of copper and ranks among the top ten producers globally.According to the the Zambia Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, mining accounted for 79.5% of Zambia’s total exports and nearly 31.4% of government revenues in 2020. Interestingly, just like neighbouring Tanzania, the country has graduated from a low-income to middle-income status. This feat can only be a product of sound leadership. Masisi’s Presidency But the current leaders of the two countries are aiming to achieve further economic growth through the mineral resources they are endowed with. For instance, while Botswana’s mining sector has become synonymous with diamonds, results of recent geological surveys have indicated a rich presence of other mineral resources such coal, copper, silver and gold resources. Pertaining to coal, Botswana has more than 200 billion tons of untapped reserves. Under President Masisi, the Government of Botswana appears to have changed its strategy of diversifying its economy from the dicey dependence on diamonds to other sectors. This is after realising that it has achieved little or no tangible success. Thus far, mining remains Botswana’s biggest revenue earner, accounting for about 85% of national foreign exchange earnings, one-third of government revenue, and one-fifth of GDP. With respect to diamonds, Botswana continues to be one of the world’s largest diamond producers by volume. In recent years, there has been a revision of strategy. The government has actively sought to diversify its mining sector by actively advocating for expansion and development of the country’s diamond, coal, copper, silver and gold resources. Moreover, he is encouraging greater investment in a knowledge-based economy and the adoption of innovation in mining. Building on the Mining Indaba 2022’s theme – Evolution of African Mining – the President is expected to share his insights on Botswana’s progress and his ambition to develop a vibrant and diversified mineral sector that contributes to the sustainable development of the Botswana economy in an inclusive manner that allows for the participation of local indigenous business. The government of Botswana wants to ensure that investments in its economy offer mutually beneficial upside to both the investor and local partners. Facilitating greater local participation in the

its place as a leading miner on the continent. To support these ambitions President Hichilema has already introduced a friendlier mining tax regime and made clear his intention to bring stability to the sector, as well as ensuring regulatory fairness and the elimination of obstacles that stand in the way of new investment. The President believes that stronger relationships – between the government, miners and local communities – will improve equitable growth and help the country to deliver for its citizens.

Dr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, the president of Botswana

economy led to the launch of the government’s Middle-Income Strategy in December 2021. The objective of the strategy is to facilitate the middle class to effectively participate in the economy through the creation of globally competitive sustainable businesses and by boosting employment opportunities. Hachilema’s presidency After the gloomy phase that preceded his reign, Hichilema, who was inaugurated in August 2021, has ushered a new era in the country’s economy in the multiparty democracy. Though only a few months in power, his ‘investor-friendly’ stance is winning back the confidence of mining companies Zambia’s mining investment climate deteriorated in recent years as the previous administration pursued resource nationalism, leading to damaged relationships with investors and lower levels of investment. The country’s reputation was tarnished by the government’s involvement in frequent disputes with foreign mining companies. Some of the high-profile mining companies he clashed with included Canadian miner, First Quantum Minerals, UKincorporated commodities producer, Vedanta Resources, and global diversified natural resources company, Glencore. Keenly, mining companies are observing how Hichilema will handle the hot potatoes of the tax and royalties regime, in addition to the energy tariffs applicable to mining operations. During the event, President Hichilema is expected to share his vision of a new dawn for Zambia, in which macroeconomic stability is restored and sustainable, inclusive economic growth is promoted. Believing that the mining sector can be an important catalyst for national development, his government is looking to significantly increase the production of copper and other minerals so that Zambia can reclaim

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Perfect tonic The presence of the two Presidents will be a perfect tonic for the event. This is given that, inescapably, confidence in the mining sector, somehow, has been affected by effects of the sanctions on Russia on the world economy by western countries, in response to the country’s attack on Ukraine. Prior to this, the global mining sector, just like other economic sectors, seemed to be on the path towards recovery. 2022 Theme The theme of the 2022 Investing in African Mining Indaba is ‘Evolution of African Mining: Investing in the Energy Transition, ESG and the Economies’. The event organisers say this is aimed at to “inspire new approaches, spark conversations and encourage partnerships that will truly transform mining on the continent”. A significant platform for over 27 years, the Indaba will this year expand its industry-leading content to include a Green Metals Day, a Host Buyer Programme and an Infrastructure & Supply Chain content stream. The investment battlefield has also been reimagined as the Innovation & Research Battlefield to encourage collaboration between the mining industry and academia. Investing in African Mining Indaba


nvesting in African Mining Indaba is the largest mining investment event in Africa. With a proven track record of bringing together Ministers, senior Government representatives, Mining Companies, Mid and Junior Miners, Investors, professional services as well as mining equipment and service providers, Mining Indaba is the place to meet everybody who’s anybody in the African and global mining industry. It is the must-attend event that drives the mining industry forward, provides attendees with an unmatched access to the entire value chain and the most influential players in African mining for four days of high-quality content, deal-making and networking opportunities

FEATURE Dump truck bodies for mining projects

‘Greening’ the dump truck body Strides that Hybrit has made demonstrate that ‘green’ dump truck bodies could be a viable alternative for industry under pressure to ditch ‘dirty’ business practices.

A dump truck body made of ‘green’ steel


t appears dump truck manufacturers are not taking their foot off their pedal in their efforts to ensure that their vehicles are as environmentally friendly as possible. They stop at nothing in exploring avenues through which they can meet this objective. Fascinatingly, they have spotted an opportunity in the steel used in manufacturing dump truck bodies. Traditional steel out of kilter Traditional steel used in manufacturing truck bodies is out of kilter with the current realities, in an environment where decarbonisation is now a core part of the business mandate. In the process of removing oxygen from iron ore, coal is used. This is one of the factors that have made the steel industry to be ranked amongst the dirtiest, said to account for about 7% of global carbon emissions. Thus, seeking

alternative cleaner processing techniques is the viable option for them to sustain their operations in a low-carbon environment. ‘Green’ steel Hybrit, a joint venture of two companies, is trialling the production of ‘green’-steel, which involves treating iron ore using ‘green’ hydrogen instead of ‘dirty’ coal to remove oxygen. Coal, a fossil fuel, is ranked as one of the highest polluters. Sweden’s SSAB, partnered with utility, Vattenfall, and miner, LKAB, to produce the first fossil-free steel by substituting green hydrogen for coal. For now, only small amounts of alloy are produced, as the process entails higher operating costs than carbon intensive methods. It is estimated that the global steel industry needs investments of $30 billion for the next 30 years to fully decarbonise.

Pilot delivery First steel plates made last year were delivered to Volvo in August. The car manufacturer unveiled the first electric vehicle made with green steel. Weighing 8 tons, the electric dump truck has a virtual driver and is meant for quarries and mines. So far, other deliveries of green steel have been made to Mercedes-Benz and Cargotec Oyj of Finland. It’s still early days but strides that Hybrit has made demonstrate that the ‘green’ dump truck body will have a niche market in the dump truck body market. Credit for some information: a report by Bloomberg

Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022 11

FEATURE Conveyor backstops

Informed decisions, reduced downtime It is important for a mining company to assess all of the key factors relating to conveyor backstop so that a well-informed purchasing decision can be made. This ensures uptime and improved safety when a backstop is in use.

Backstops are key in conveyor safety and productivity


n materials handling, achieving optimal conveyor safety does not come any cheap. But wrong decisions can result in a mining company paying more than it should. This often happens with tools like backstops used in conveyors. This is because, as safety mechanisms, backstops serve two critical purposes – as anti-rollback devices to prevent reverse movement of fully loaded belts in inclined conveyors, as well as on flat overland conveyors to prevent severe shock loading on start-up. For instance, material can spill resulting in huge damage to vital components of a conveyor system.

A conveyor backstop

If in other areas, a mining company can get away with wrong decisions in equipment procurement, in conveyor belt backstops, it can be hazardous, as well as very costly. For this reason, it is important that mining companies make informed decisions when selecting suitable backstops. Of course, the fact that there are hundreds of brands out there poses a huge dilemma for plant engineers. Key considerations Leading backstop manufacturers design backstop units installed on the mine site to last at least between 15 and 20 years, during which minor repair or replacement is needed. Ill-informed decisions can result in backstops needing repair and replacement within short intervals. At best, this could prove costly when one factors in downtime to processes that need the services of conveyors, above and beyond repair and replacement costs. At worst, a fault can result in an accident, leading to damage to equipment, in addition to fatalities.

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From the foregoing, it is important for a mining company to assess all of the key factors relating to conveyor backstop so that a well-informed purchasing decision is made. Ultimately, this ensures uptime and improved safety when the backstop is in use after installation. On their part, the manufacturers (suppliers) should create a maintenance plan, encompassing annual inspections of backstops and brakes.

Mining specific conveyor backstops Backstopping solutions include low-speed, high-speed (internal) and high-speed (external) backstops. Typically, low-speed backstops are installed directly on the pulley, high-speed backstops mounted onto the gear box of the conveyor drive. They work together to stop product rollback on a stopped conveyor or in case of drive failure. Backstopping products are commonly used on inclined conveyor drives and bucket excavators in both open pit and underground coal, copper, nickel, gold and iron ore mines, processing plants, amongst others.

FEATURE Software for Plant, tool and equipment rental businesses

Superior Control, Timeous Execution, Improved Cost Management and Efficiency Plant, tool and equipment hire software provider, inspHire, is Kerridge Commercial Systems’ comprehensive rental management software business that enables rental companies to service their clients efficiently. With a vast array of features, inspHire ensures transparency throughout the rental process - from the point where the item is hired out to the actual measurement of profit and cost to it.

inspHire software has enabled Kwick Access to fully digitise its fleet - automatically streamlining the booking systems for clients (Image: Kwick Access Rentals).

By Jimmy Swira


or companies that provide plant, tool or equipment hire solutions to an array of businesses like contractors involved in construction, mining, oil and gas projects and various other industries, sound rental equipment management is paramount. With activity in these sectors increasing, contractors are going to need more tools, and the ability of equipment rental companies to manage their inventory will be severely tested. Thus, as conventional rental management techniques may fall short, rental solution providers have to seek alternative systems that have proven to be more efficient. This is what Kerridge Commercial Systems, is advising equipment rental companies in Africa. The company suggests that rental companies must consider switching to software which

addresses the limitations of conventional rental management methods, with multiple capabilities. This also means one system to manage all of your business’ operational functions to streamline processes, increase efficiencies and cut costs. This is based on the evidence it has gathered from multiple customers in this industry, including client feedback on the performance of inspHire. Limitations of conventional rental management software The Sales Director at Kerridge Commercial Systems states that inspHire software has specifically been engineered to meet contemporary needs of rental equipment companies. The software was developed after thoroughly observing the inherent shortcomings of conventional software, when deployed in challenging conditions, and how they impacted on the equipment management.

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With projects increasing, the limitations of conventional rental management techniques may impact on the ability of service providers to serve customers effectively – on time and ensuring the right tools are available. According to the Sales Director, conventional rental management solutions are limited and reliant on spreadsheets and information that is out of date or not accurate. More to the point, there is no transparency throughout the rental process from the point where the item is taken to the actual measurement of profit and cost to it. inspHire software fills the void One aspect that is highly regarded with inspHire is versatility. inspHire is highly respected for a number of factors, mainly: flexible working locations, one version of the truth and accurate locational and operational information for more insightful decision making. Besides, the software allows for custom system setup to ensure it

FEATURE provides the best feature benefits for your business. Vast array of capabilities Fully comprehensive rental management software solutions, like inspHire, make it easy for you to track your quotes and orders at every stage of the rental process. inspHire’s capabilities are enabled by the following popular features: • Hire, sales order processing, procurement, cash functions, invoicing & workshop • Asset Tracker & Google Maps integration with Telematics integration for Meter reading updates straight into inspHire • inspHire’s Corporate Edition solution offers a fast and reliable rental management software solution that will improve the bottom line, reduce admin and cut manual data entry. • It also provides a range of flexible features helping you improve the cost and efficiency of your logistics management and movement of your workforce and equipment. • Reduces admin and cuts manual data entry. • The planning & scheduling functionality ensures that your teams are in the right place at the right time, with all the necessary documents needed. • Customisable Reports - Extensive business intelligence dashboards and customisable reports give you the tools needed to gain a clear understanding of how your business, operations and rental equipment are performing. The software enables you to make informed business decisions. • WebPortal, Accounts Payable Automation, Electronic Invoicing (EDI), Document Storage, Smart View Reminders, Dashboards, Email Marketing Integration

processes with less effort and maximise equipment utilisation. •

Improved cost management and efficiency Eventually, through its features, inspHire improves the bottom line by improving the cost management and efficiency of logistics management and movement of workforce and equipment.

and PAT Testing. Multiple features, tangible operational benefits Undoubtedly, multiple features of the fast and reliable software can offer equipment rental companies immense benefits. Mainly, the tangible benefits that an organisation gains are superior levels of control and timely execution of tasks, which improves the bottom-line. • Superior control Through a full suite of features that enable managing multi-company, multi-lingual and multi-currency operations, inspHire delivers a superior level of control. • Timely execution The enterprise rental management solution also provides configurable functionality that corporate organisations would expect. Dramatically reduce the time it takes to process orders. Deploy features and functionality across your rental business that will help your team manage

Advice to rental companies This is a trying time for equipment rental providers, as they have to make firm decisions on which rental management systems would suit them best. There are hundreds of equipment rental management solutions out there on the market ready to be cherry-picked by the enduser. There are both upsides and downsides to this development. The upside is that the end-user is spoilt for choice with a wide variety of products. On the other hand, the downside is that there could be concerns about the integrity of some of the products. Thus, based on this, the Sales Director urges equipment rental companies to be prudent in the procurement of ERP software, by choosing a reliable partner and product. “Choose a partner with a track record and longterm pedigree.” Referring clients to inspHire, he enunciates: “We are passionate about the rental sector and providing the very best service and solutions to our global user base. Celebrating our 29th anniversary demonstrates our dedication and attention to detail, and has resulted in us becoming a recognised premier supplier of software services to the rental sector all over the world. We invest heavily in internal training and product development to ensure our range of services and products remain at the forefront, meaning your trust and investment in inspHire never goes out of date.”

Project case study: inspHire Sets Kwick Access on Course to Fulfilling its Vision


wick Access Rentals, a company established in 2015, bought the inspHire software solution in 2021. Kwick Access is an ambitious women owned company that services the construction industry, with Work-At-Height Rental Solutions, to ensure that contractors comply with the Occupation Health and Safety (OHS) Act. Specifically, the company provides short term rental and service to contractors involved in HVAK, Electrical, Signage, amongst others. Kwick Access offers the following range of Work At Height equipment: Trailer Mounted Boom Lifts • Articulating Boom Lifts • Scissor Lifts • Vertical Mast Lifts • Material Hoists • Fully qualified operators • In House owned Vehicles and Trucks to save on delivery costs The company’s vision is to become the largest

service driven, female-owned and operated Access Rental company in Africa, focusing on a green initiative, by only offering battery and electric powered MEWPS. Hence, the aim was to engage a rental management solution provider who would play a key part in enabling the company to successfully embark on a mission to realise this vision. The previous system Unfortunately, their previous system, though cloud-based, fell short, as it was not in line with Kwick Access Rentals’ goals. And so, this necessitated engaging another company for the appropriate hire business management system. Kwick Access Rentals’ Marketing Manager recounts: “We had built a relationship with our previous supplier with the view of developing our own booking system, taking into account the exponential growth within our own business over the past 12 months. However, the developmental side of our supplier was not necessarily in line

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with our goals.” The management team at Kwick Access Rentals was delighted to partner up with InspHire and further said “We wanted a userfriendly system that offered you a full overview of your fleet at a click of a button. We believe that we have identified the right booking system which has the ability to integrate with an Internet Of Things (IOT) and accounting system.” – and inspHire ticked all the boxes. So far, the decision has paid off - the company is satisfied with the performance of the new enterprise software. “It has enabled us to fully digitise our fleet thereby automatically streamlining the booking systems for our clients,” the Marketing Manager enthuses. Kwick Access Rental hopes to build an enduring relationship with Kerridge Commercial Systems as it services industries with relevant rental equipment solutions.

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FEATURE XRT Sorting Technology for Diamond Mining

XRT Sorting Technology for Diamond Mining The COM XRT 300 /FR, TOMRA’s new generation machine, is touted to revolutionise the global diamond industry by simplifying flowsheets and vastly increasing efficiency in sorting. This technology has the potential to transform the diamond industry by simplifying flowsheets and vastly increasing efficiency. The company sees clientele in Africa benefiting massively from adopting the machines.

TOMRA’s COM XRT 300 /FR installation at Letseng Mine

By Jimmy Swira


ai Bartram, new Global Sales Director at TOMRA, may be new in his position, but he has the DNA of TOMRA’s work ethos embedded in him. Small wonder, he calls rejoining the company ‘home coming’. “It actually feels like I am coming home again. The welcome at TOMRA has been overwhelming and I have enjoyed every day since I’ve been back. TOMRA has managed to preserve the strengths of the past and combine them with the progressive and sustainable concepts of a modern company.” Leaving TOMRA for a stint somewhere and coming back has given Bartram a fresh perspective. Now he appreciates the vast opportunities in an environment that allows rare talent to thrive and contribute to the development of the most potent sorting technology in the mining market. Bartram is delighted to be spearheading the roll out of TOMRA’s latest technology in Africa, where there is huge need, especially in diamond mining. He is confident that, equipped with a

Kai Bartram, Global Sales Director TOMRA Mining

wide range of features, the COM XRT 300 /FR. will meet contemporary needs for efficiency of sorting in flowsheets. Simplifying flowsheets The COM XRT 300 /FR is a new generation machine that has never existed before in diamond sorting. Bartram is certain that the

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technology will revolutionise the diamond business. “The machine’s performance values speak for themselves. We believe this technology has the potential to transform the diamond industry by simplifying flowsheets and vastly increasing efficiency.” The COM XRT 300 /FR increases performance to another level. It is a great example of how TOMRA’s XRT technology is constantly evolving, with new sensors and evaluation methods ensuring great detection and sorting efficiency. TOMRA strives to provide a solution and not merely introduce a product. Hence, it has gone to great lengths to widen the service the machines render to clients beyond sorting. The company has adopted digital platforms to support customers and manage connected equipment. The “TOMRA Digital” Department looks at optimising the user experience and the efficiency of sorting with the TOMRA INSIGHT platform, explains Bartram. “With all sorters connected to the cloud, it is possible to evaluate all

TOMRA Visual Assist is an Augmented Reality tool for remote assistance

available information with powerful algorithms. The information will be displayed on a sorting dashboard, which is accessible from anywhere remotely. Even a smartphone can be turned into a powerful control unit, enabling the client to reduce downtime, maximize throughput, and optimise output quality,” The TOMRA Visual assist has incredible capabilities. Bartram demonstrates its convenience: “With TOMRA Visual assist our service team will be with you at your machine. Whether you use a smartphone or advanced smart glasses, via Augmented Reality the customer technician or operator receives all information to work on the machine. TOMRA Visual Assist also connects our experts on specific applications or technical issues with the Field Service Engineer on site.” Reducing environmental impact As a company that has made the values of Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) a core part of its operations, TOMRA is very specific about contributing to reducing the environmental impact of mining operations. “There is no question that every single sorter used in mining contributes to CO2 savings. Our

TOMRA is always forward-thinking when it comes to improving the performance of its technology. Through a vibrant Research and Development (R&D) Unit, it strives to develop and constantly improve machines to be able to give clients the most cost-effective and efficient sorting. Currently, it is investing heavily in AI and remote serviceability with augmented reality.

Sorting in flowsheets The cloud-based data platform, TOMRA Insight, turns sorting machines into connected devices that generate valuable process data

machines do not use a lot of energy and do not require water or chemicals. Massive benefits Bartram is certain that Africa’s diamond mining sector will benefit massively, given the urgent need for value-adding sorting technologies. “We expect to use these technologies to implement more projects in southern Africa, helping the industry save resources and costs to become more efficient and sustainable.”

Flowsheet from the beginning and feasibility studies It may have taken time, but now TOMRA prides on witnessing mining companies using sensor-based technology in the flowsheet from the beginning and feasibility studies. The approach was considered unusual initially and frowned upon. Now, there has been an increase in its uptake. “In my eyes, the mining industry has changed dramatically. Today, we see junior mining companies and global players test sorting for their new projects in order to reduce capital expenditures or attract investors,” Bartram recollects. Sorting has become a proven part of the processing technology and key stakeholders now understand the major impact it can have. With the suitable technology, often sorting can turn marginal projects into profitable ones. TOMRA at Electra Mining 2022 The TOMRA Mining Team will be at the Electra Mining in September in Johannesburg from 5 to 9 September. The COM XRT 300 /FR will be on display at TOMRA’s booth. Clients will have the opportunity to see it first-hand at the booth and observe how it works. In addition, the clients will be able to see TOMRA Insight platform and get an understanding of its huge potential for their operation.

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FEATURE Prestressed-steel sectional tanks for Water Storage

Premier Prestressedsteel Prestanks Prestank, Structa’s flagship pressed-steel sectional tank, is hot-dip galvanised for corrosion control in accordance with SANS 121 (or ISO 1461) galvanizing standards. The robust tank offers extended maintenance-free life when water with aggressively corrosive properties needs to be stored. It ticks all the boxes in requirements for mining-specific water storage tanks.


here has been an increased need for water storage solutions for mining projects in remote areas in Africa in the past eighteen months. Naturally, the preference is for water storage tanks that are robust enough for extreme environments. This is not least in the persisting drought conditions.

when water with aggressively corrosive properties needs to be stored.

Press-stressed sectional storage tanks Thanks to innovations in engineering, there are numerous liquid storage tanks on the market for mining houses to explore for their respective projects. One of the storage tanks types that have proved their worth – and continue to do so – in tough conditions are pressed-steel sectional tanks, earning the trust across industries. Structa Technology’s Prestanks Pressed-steel sectional storage tanks is a niche area where Structa Technology has excelled, emerging as one of the highly regarded providers. Based in Gauteng Province in South Africa, steel tank manufacturer, Structa Technology, a member of the Structa Group, provides robust temporary or permanent water storage installations for mining projects. The company is renowned for the fabrication of the premier Prestank. For over-40 years, consistently, the Prestank brand has been widely esteemed for being a hygienically safe, cost effective and reliable water-storage solution. Meticulous engineering Meticulous engineering has made Structa Technology’s high-quality Prestank suitable for rugged demands in the mining sector. It is fabricated in accordance with SANS guidelines

and meets South Africa’s hot-dipped galvanising requirements. Typically, all Structa’s pressed-steel sectional tanks are hot-dip galvanised for corrosion control in accordance with SANS 121 (or ISO 1461) galvanizing standards. Uniquely, the thickness of the hot-dip galvanising coat on the Prestank is applied within a range of 80 to 100 µm. This is more than five times what is regarded as the standard thickness of zinc on pregalvanized corrugated steel cylindrical tanks. This treatment ensures that extended maintenance-free life

20 Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022

Why the Prestank sectional tank design A mining company is rest assured of the following main benefits by choosing Prestank: • It features a variety of construction elements and an infinite range of sizes and configurations to meet clients’ specifications. These include walkway options and staircases, as well as roof options. • The profile panel sections provide excellent strength properties and are structurally sound for storing water. The stand is designed strictly in accordance with SANS 10160 for structural loading and SANS 10162 for structural steel design. Tanks mounted on steel towers above ground level have an aesthetically pleasing appearance. • Another significant advantage of the sectional tank design is that it facilitates easier handling and transportation over long distances to remote areas, regardless of the final dimensions of the assembled unit. • On-site assembly is quickly achieved without the need for sophisticated tooling methods. Minimum maintenance is required as the galvanised steel panels resist weathering from the elements while maintaining the integrity of the water it holds and protecting it from most forms of contamination. Access to the water tank can be restricted by means of a lockable, ventilated access cover, providing safety and peace of mind for clients.

A customised turnkey solution Structa Technology offers a customised turnkey water storage tank solution spanning the design, manufacturing, material selection, corrosion protection, supply, delivery and erection of the tank over and above commissioning. The engineering team always guarantees to the clientele that Structa Technology goes all out to deliver a project on time, within budget and to the expected (quality) specifications. “We are always pleased to assist mining companies and organisations in other industries with products and services that contribute to water storage solutions in South Africa and Africa. “We have always elected to see the glass as half full during a downturn in the industry. Just like after a lull which greeted the hard lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, we are looking forward to supplying our storage tank solutions to clients involved in both greenfield and brownfield mining projects,” they explain in a brief to Mining Business Africa. The Structa Group of companies comprises four subsidiaries, which are active in the manufacturing and supply of structural steel products for the water, electrification and telecommunications infrastructure, mining, petrochemicals and industrial sectors.

Successful delivery to projects

S • • • • •

ome amongst a growing portfolio of projects to which Structa Technology has supplied Prestanks to include: Styldrift Marengski mine Rustenburg Northam Platinum Booysendsdal UG2 mine De Beers Venetia mine in Limpopo Coal of Africa mine, Vele coal mine in Mussina Amplats Bafokeng Rasimoe mine Rustenburg

Furthermore, Structa has supplied Prestanks to mines in Zimbabwe and Angola, in addition to Sasol (Timane gas pipeline project) in Mozambique. Structa also offers a quick erecting range of circular tanks which can be applied in a variety of roles in mining applications.


he range, branded as Circotank, is manufactured from galvanized steel sheet cold rolled with a stiffening profile. A Zincal version is currently being tested for application in corrosive areas. The tanks utilise a PVC liner which hugely improves the speed and quality of build, resulting in a reliable product. Liner

replacement is possible thus resulting in ease of maintenance and longevity. Circotank is offered in two size ranges, being a Maxi-range covering tank sizes of 100,000 litres up to 1,5 million litres and a Midi range covering a very user-friendly range of 5,000 – 20,000 litres. The Maxi-range is aimed at large scale water storage projects, with typical application in industrial water storage such as fire tanks and process tanks. The tanks are transported in pre-rolled segments, thus allowing for compact transport and easy off-loading. They are erected on concrete ring beam foundations and require reasonably simple earthworks before erection. Erection is done with a strake lifting system that requires no craneage. This all adds up to a very economical total cost per cubic metre water storage. Structa has well trained teams available to install the Maxi range. The Midi-range fills a gap not covered by typical moulded plastic tanks and would find good application where users need storage between 5,000 and 20,000 litres, often on stands to provide distribution pressure. These tanks are transported in segments and can be assembled on top of stands if required. This eliminates usage of cranes in difficult rural applications. Structa supplies package systems of tanks and stands, ready for assembly, even by the user.

sustainable & long term



Pressed Steel Sectional Water Tanks Prestank tank capacities range from 1 500 litres to 4.2 million litres designed to SANS 10329:2004 guidelines and SANS structural codes. Our Hot Dipped Galvanising units are easily transported and assembled on even the most remote sites.

+27 (0)16 362 9100

Specialists in the manufacturing of domestic and industrial water storage. Structa Technology is a Level 1 BBBEE Contributor, and is part of the STRUCTA GROUP of Companies

MEYERTON | Director: Rodney Cory | 082 575 2275

Manufactured in SOUTH AFRICA

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2022/02/17 16:21:51 Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022 21

FEATURE Valuation and Disposal of Redundant Mining & Construction Equipment

Getting The Right Value from Redundant Equipment The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted changes in the way valuation and disposal of redundant earth moving equipment is carried out. On its part, M&H Plant & Equipment is in a good stead to provide relevant solutions to ensure that the clients get the right value for equipment. The company regards the pandemic environment as an opportunity to innovate.

M&H Plant & Equipment deals in different brands of equipment for clientele in mining and construction sectors

By Jimmy Swira


&H Plant & Equipment offers a turnkey solution in valuation and disposal of redundant equipment in the mining sector. Regularly tailored to suit the contemporary needs of mining companies, the turnkey solution ranges from the inspections to documenting sales packs for the marketing and then the handling of the disposal process. Currently, the mining sector is turning the corner from the depression the COVID-19 pandemic had induced. M&H Plant & Equipment states that it has never been more perfectly placed to handle demand for its services from

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clientele in Africa and other regions. Conrad Smith, the managing director and founder, particularly emphasises the trust the company has built, which has resulted in building and broadening its client portfolio. A reputation built on trust Smith urges mining companies to exercise prudence in how they carry out valuation and disposal of their equipment. He highlights the significance of engaging a company with relevant knowhow to ensure that they earn the deserved value from their transactions. He hastens to state that, thanks to its excellent services to clientele globally, MHS

M&H Plant & Equipment services clientele in the mining and construction sector in the African continent, Australia and the Americas.

has built a reputation that places it ahead of competitors in equipment valuation and disposal. Whereas there are doubts about the capability of companies based in Africa to deliver products to the expectations, international clients esteem MHS as a trusted go-to supplier. This is a source of great pride to the company and gives it impetus to constantly seek better ways of serving the needs of clients. “International clients need the comfort to know the equipment they have paid for will indeed arrive. When buying equipment from Africa, international companies often leave an egg nest amount to cover (pay only a percentage of the cost) for the potential liability of nondelivery. However, when buying from MHS Plant and Equipment they have comfort to pay the full market value knowing we have experience in what we do, thereby, the mines benefit,” Conrad gushes.

now looking to replace or add to their fleets. Nevertheless, strikingly, the challenge is the supply of new equipment. This is given that OEM’s are not carrying stock of new equipment, due to factory production slowdowns during Covid and factory delivery dates being pushed out. Succinctly, supply is not keeping up with demand. What is more concerning, though, is that the pricing of new equipment is increasing at an alarming rate, Smith indicates. “We are not sure how sustainable the increase can be with current market rates being paid by the mining houses to contractors.” There is a recurrent cycle in mining which has a bearing on the demand for equipment. Usually, mining houses decide it is better to operate mines themselves, then years later, they prefer a contractor to come in and mine on their behalf or a large portion of the mine.

While MHS waits for the certainty of opportunities in the mining sector, observing developments with keen interest, Smith is glad to mention that, on the continent, business has been booming. “We excited to continue expanding throughout Africa, we have been working closely with Glencore and Mota Engil on various projects throughout Mozambique, Mali, Congo.” Translating experience into desired results MHS is not blind to the reality that there are a dime and a dozen companies that are constantly sprucing up their mining-specific valuation and disposal solutions. However, Conrad reiterates, ‘Clients can benefit immensely from partnering with MHS through experience gained from serving an extensive client base. Ultimately, we guarantee the desired results for the seller.” Based in Gauteng Province, South Africa, M&H Plant & Equipment services clientele in the mining and construction sector in the African continent, Australia and the Americas. It considers the pandemic as an opportunity to innovate and offer the most convenient and practical solutions in its asset valuation and disposal side of business.

In good stead, cautiously optimistic That the mining companies are recovering faster than originally predicted augurs well with the company’s plans for 2022 and beyond. The company is well-furnished to serve the needs of mining companies but it is cautiously optimistic due to trends that are emerging. Presently, many more contracts are coming to tender, which is a positive development in the equipment valuation and disposal business. Both mining houses and larger contractors are

Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022 23

We specialise in handling the entire disposal process, from the inventory inspection, valuations and marketing to the sales and delivery process, which entails getting top returns for your assets, handling all dismantling, land and ocean freight, as well as marine insurance.

Your procurement and disposal specialists. Offering a turnkey solution to mine or site closures.

Use our extensive international client base exposure to ensure the best possible returns for your assets.

Tel: +27 11 466 9293 | +27 82 781 9481 |

FEATURE Customised and flexible boiler rental solutions

Customised, Convenient Complete Boiler Management Solutions From its base in Cape Town, Combustion Technology has made its name in the sound management of steam boilers for clients in different industries. With opportunities opening up in the mining sector, the company is eager to provide its solutions to clients involved in projects in Africa in 2022 and beyond. The company offers customised steam boiler rental solutions and builds containerised steam boilers.

Combustion Technology’s rental solutions encompass steam production for short-or long-term periods on their site – depending on the client’s needs at the particular time.


ining companies have been ramping up production consistently since the last quarter of 2020. Analysts predict that this trend will continue in 2022 and beyond. It is in times like these, as mining companies are focusing on their core businesses, with limited capacity and expertise to manage critical equipment is overstretched. Unfortunately, this could have implications on output, when, unexpectedly, equipment failure occurs, resulting in huge revenue losses. Outsourcing Steam Boiler Management Grant Renecle, The Managing Director of Combustion Technology, points out that the situation could be worse when the equipment affected is steam boilers, which need special attention and unique expertise to manage. Hence, he advises that it would be wise for mining companies to consider outsourcing the management of steam boilers to a specialist

company with a proven track record in the area. The benefits would be immense: by relieving themselves of the liability that comes with managing equipment, mining companies could devote more resources towards their core business, increasing revenue. Extensive knowhow for uninterrupted operations Renecle affirms that Combustion Technology is well-equipped to provide a solution to mining projects to ensure uninterrupted flow of operations. This is based on the company’s extensive knowhow in the provision of modern, world-class and highly efficient environmentfriendly solutions to meet any combustion and heating challenge. “If you are looking for new ways to manage your Steam Boilers, it is time to leave it up to us,” he says, referencing the range of the company’s customer-centred solutions and the service guarantees that come with it.

26 Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022

Mobile Container Solutions Combustion Technology provides both rental and sale of custom-built containerised steam boilers. i.

Flexible and targeted equipment rental solutions While recognising that there are a number of players in the market, Combustion Technology believes that its unique approach to customer focus is what sets it apart from competition. The company offers flexible and targeted rental solutions that are adaptable to emergency and unexpected situations in equipment rental. The company’s rental solutions encompass steam production for short-or long-term periods on their site – depending on the client’s needs at the particular time. “Whether you are dealing with long maintenance operations or seasonal production peaks, we offer options to outsource your steam production for short- or long-term periods,” Renecle illustrates.

In particular, Combustion Technology’s boiler rental solutions have been developed bearing in mind all the industrial needs, spanning the following areas: • Lowest operating rental cost • 24/7 Boiler Management Service • Pre-Installation Consultation • Supply in Multiples of 2,000Kg/h of Steam • Delivery and Installation Support • Start-Up • Operator Training

Reliable service provider Ultimately, when a company rents or purchases a containerised boiler from Combustion Technology, it is engaging a reliable service provider. Guaranteed of the following: • Speed of Supply With rental, there is no investment required, the customer is able to make rapid and non-binding decisions on the boiler. It is ready for delivery and the customer is able to try the boiler before buying.


Custom-built containerised boilers Not only does the company rent, but also builds containerised boilers based on the client’s requirements, demands and specifications. Prominently, the containerised boilers have got the following specifications: • Unical BAHR 2000 Steam Boiler • Limpsfield LC 15 Dual Fuel Burner • Autoflame Control System • Lowest Fuel consumption of any Competitor • 2,000L Hotwell Tank • 1,500L Fuel Tank • Water Treatment System • Economizer • SANS 329 Compliant • Incl. all ancillaries (feedwater tank, fuel tank, stack, water treatment system, control panel & burner). Moreover, to ensure sound condition monitoring and eliminate or reduce downtime all mobile boilers include the Combustion Technology Boiler System Interface. The Combustion Technology Boiler System Interface enables 24/7 off-site monitoring of the Plant Performance and all boiler key functions.

• Energy Efficient Recognising that energy is one of the biggest factors in high operating costs in industries, Combustion Technology’s solutions consume 8-12% less fuel than any competitor. • Transparency When dealing with Combustion Technology, there is no hidden fine print. There are no nasty surprises, as costs are certain, which enables clear planning. • Guarantee Most importantly, the boilers are certified and comply with all statutory regulations.

Not only does the company rent, but also builds containerised boilers based on the client’s requirements, demands and specifications.

Committed to excellent delivery in 2022 and beyond Renecle reiterates Combustion Technology’s commitment to meeting customised needs in steam boiler solutions for clients in the African mining sector in 2022 and beyond. “We have the wherewithal to supply both customised rental and outright purchases in containerised steam boilers.”

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FEATURE Self-Propelled Modular Trailers for Transportation of Enormous Structures

The Smart Delivery of Heavy Loads The choice of the mode of transporting heavy equipment to a mining site could be the difference between delivering a project to the expected requirements or not. It has been established that utilising Self-Propelled Modular Trailers (SPMTs) guarantees that the transportation of heavy machinery from an OEM to a mining project site is safe, timely and cost-effective.

On an extremely challenging route, two major components weighing 380 and 320 t respectively had to be moved. And an SPMT did the job impeccably (Image: Goldhofer)


here is a lot of excitement in Africa at the moment with a number of mega power generation projects – both greenfield and brownfield - scheduled for implementation in 2022 and beyond. These projects will involve transportation of ‘abnormally’ heavy equipment like turbines, generators and related components that are too big or heavy for trucks from ports to sites where they would be needed. As ‘traditional transportation’ methods would fall short, SelfPropelled Modular Trailers (SPMT) would be a practical option. SPMTs have proved to be a convenient solution to transporting heavy loads in challenging conditions. Made of a grid of axles, self-propelled modular trailers (SPMT), sometimes referred to as self-propelled modular trailers, are platform vehicles with a large array

of wheels. Nevertheless, the trucks can be used to provide braking and traction for the SPMTs when on landscapes with descents and inclines. Recently, Mining Business Africa sourced information from business development divisions of major manufacturers that dominate the global SPMT market. The manufacturers (whose names cannot be mentioned to avoid vouching for their products) claim that their SPMTs have ‘unique’ features. However, markedly, their equipment shares common elements whose ultimate goal is to ease transportation of heavy equipment. Consequently, as they are placing orders for equipment from different OEMs worldwide, it is vital that mining companies are aware whether or not an SPTM can rise to the challenge in harsh conditions. It is essential for the mining

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companies to establish whether or not an SPTM has necessary features to be used in their specific field of applications, as well as the extent of the benefits they can get from it. Where SPMTs can be deployed Commonly, SPMTs are used for transporting massive objects such as oil refining equipment, cranes, motors and other objects that are deemed too big or heavy for trucks, both off and on-road. This is in longer distances where normally even the most robust hydraulic gantry or skidding system would not perform. Mainly, SPMTs are applicable in industries such as mining, oil and gas, shipyard and construction. In mining, open case operations in particular, they are used for transporting and offloading draglines.

An SPMT handling a task easily. Incredible! (Image: Goldhofer)

Besides, SPMTs can lend themselves to being customised to perform different functions specific to the client’s project. For instance, in combination with other heavy lifting systems such as a hydraulic gantry, SPMTs can be used to shift or move equipment like a generator to a position where it can be used in a wide range of on-plant projects. Features make SPMTs ideal Fascinatingly, the information indicates that, thanks to design and engineering, the SPMTs have a number of features which render extraordinary manoeuvrability and control, allowing for a vast array of applications in different conditions. • Manoeuvrability Chiefly, manoeuvrability is achieved through a number of features. For instance, wheels that can be rotated individually. Further, via switching ‘crab’ mode, SPMTs can be moved sideways, and rotated, carousel (rotating the whole configuration) via lifting cylinders – raising and lowering the load (loading and unloading). They also offer the flexibility of arranging two or more axle lines, each axle is controlled individually. Thanks to the modular design, the SMPT accommodates different configurations, depending on the load to be carried. Typically, the minimised height and slim design allow for easy operation in confined spaces. This makes them ideal for in-plant transportation at industrial sites where space is confined. The low height design is handy when it comes to loading and unloading. • Control Hand-hand remote controllers enable easy control. With the hand-held remote controller, the SPMT switches to different modes. This

feature eliminates the hiring of a specialised operator. Through an advanced braking system, the operator has careful control of speed.

their claim as a smart option in the niche of the transporting heavy equipment over long distances.

Massive benefits Reducing costs, increasing efficiency, minimising environmental footprint and enhancing safety are the main objectives of operations in the current mining environment from pit to port. Therefore, the benefits of SPMTs should be viewed from these perspectives. The ‘traditional’ method of transporting equipment, which involves disassembling, transporting the pieces, and reassembling on site is out of kilter with contemporary needs of the mining sector. With traditional methods, transportation is costly, time-consuming, may not be environmentally friendly as it may involve more trips, in addition it increases a safety risk. What’s more, the traditional method of carrying disassembled parts could expose the owner of the truck and equipment to the liability of public road damage where heavy loads are involved. Doubtless, there are many advantages to be had by switching from traditional transportation methods to SPMTs, mainly: • By widening the platform, eliminating the need to add more SPMT units. In this way, the self-propelled modular trailor (SPMT) transports the equipment in one piece to the new site; • There is stability of the load combination during transportation, enhances safety; and • One trip is more cost effective, in addition reduces the carbon footprint of many loads that would have otherwise needed more SPMTs and PPUs.

Rational decisions Unquestionably, companies have to set their priorities right and make rational decisions in a critical area of the transportation of heavy equipment for the brownfield and greenfield projects which they are embarking on in 2022 and beyond. If their objective is for a project to be delivered on time, within budget and to the expected quality standards, then the choice of SPMTs as a mode of transporting heavy equipment over a traditional method is a nobrainer. Ultimately, the ball is entirely in their court.

Due to the abovementioned factors, it is small wonder why, universally, SPMTs have staked

Solving a Heavy Load Challenge in Africa


lobally, consistently, there has been mounting evidence proving the efficacy of SPMTs in the transportation of heavy loads to projects located in remote areas. The examples are too numerous to be documented. However, what would be of interest in the African context is a project in Ivory Coast. An SPMT was used to transport 900 tons of equipment from a port to a power generation project site in Ivory Coast on behalf of a logistics company. To carry this monster of a load, an SPMT convoy, formed by eight axle lines, was combined side-by-side with other eight axle vehicles. In this way, a wide platform and a huge payload capacity was created for safe and effective transportation of the load.

Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022 29

Goldhofer: Offering regional transport solutions worldwide T he Goldhofer Transport Technology division delivers strictly user-oriented heavy-haulage solutions and a full range of dedicated accessories for on- and off-road operations with payloads of up to 15,000 tons and more. The broad-based product portfolio is tailored to the requirements and infrastructures of the various regional markets and guarantees full flexibility, even for unusual operations. In addition to trailers and semi-trailers for the construction, mining and haulage industries, Goldhofer supplies transport systems for the wind power industry and a range of heavy-duty combinations with and without hydrostatic drive for transporting oversized and ultra-heavy cargos. The product range comprises three product lines: • Towed Trailers Steered and unsteered trailers with 2 to 6 axles for payloads of between 30 and 80 tons

Semitrailers and low loader Steered and unsteered versions with or without dropdeck / flatbed. Semitrailers are available with 2 to 12 axles and can carry payloads of up to approximately 150 tons

• Modular heavy-duty vehicles These heavy-duty modular trailers are designed to move especially heavy and bulky loads. They offer great flexibility in the way of end-to-end or side-by-side configurations and can be used to carry payloads of up to 15,000 t. To make life easier for operators, these heavy-duty vehicles are also available with hydrostatic drive and electronic multiway steering. They come with an almost unlimited choice of accessories, from simple turntables to high girder bridges and much else besides. • Self-propelled vehicles Too long, too wide, too heavy? No way! When the heaviest loads require maximum

30 Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022

power, our hydro-mechanically or electronically steered self-propelled vehicles always provide the ideal solution. With enormous tractive pulling force, inclines are easy to overcome and flexibility in use is ensured by the ability to combine with other Goldhofer heavy-duty modules.

You can choose between an »ADDRIVE« - an intelligent solution which combines the advantages of a towed heavy-duty module with those of a self-propelled vehicle while also fulfilling the highest requirements in terms of variable application options, tractive pulling force, speed, availability and cost-effectiveness – or the PST/SL and PST/SL-E series of selfpropelled vehicles. For more information:

Local Community Engagement

Rethinking Local Community Engagement It is high time mining companies revised their approach to engaging with host communities in which their operations are. Evidently, the ‘conventional’ method has been overtaken by recent developments in industry. An alternative framework should be adopted. By Dr Allen Mutono


t is late afternoon in Prieska, Northern Cape and the town’s streets which have been quiet for most of the day suddenly stir to life. The local tavern strategically located at the main road into the town’s informal settlement has turned up the sound. Every few minutes some of the miners returning from their shifts walk into the tavern. While some don’t emerge others in the company of their favourite drink return outside and sit at the patio. The conversations outside are animated. Some members are planning to shut down all the roads leading to the new mining being built a few kilometres outside the town. The list of grievances is long; jobs, housing, health facilities, Covid - 19, the mayor is thrown in. This is not a regular sundowner. The unhappiness has been brewing since work started on the new mine in 2019. By late June 2021, local sentiments had achieved common ground. For the rest of the year, the town would be marked by a debilitating unrest. Community members vandalised the new mine’s installations, blocked access roads, destroyed infrastructure and the mine had to delay its development schedule. 2021 was a year of mixed fortunes for a town whose name sadly means “place of the lost shegoat” in Afrikaans. The happenings in Prieska are just a microcosm of the fraught relations that exist between mine owners and local communities in South Africa. A potent mix leading to perceptions of mining as either a curse or a blessing. In almost every major mining hub of the country, the existing tensions have in several cases flared into violence and waste. It is a disturbing phenomenon that exasperates authorities and investors. A report UNEARTHING THE TRUTH: HOW THE MINES FAILED COMMUNITIES IN THE SEKHUKHUNE REGION OF SOUTH AFRICA (Feb 2022) by the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, Amnesty International and Sekhukhune Combined Mining Affected Communities (SMAC) concludes that; mines are neglecting their responsibilities in the mining charter and are simply using social and labour plans as box ticking exercises for licensing purposes. An action the authors ominously notes is a ticking time bomb with dire long term consequences to the mining sector.

However, not all is lost as the Social and Labour plan provides a blueprint through which mine owners can develop meaningful engagement with the communities where they operate. What mining operators require as in yesterday is to seize this opportunity before things go out of control. Mining executives need to shift their community engagement paradigms away from ticking boxes to implementing purposeful Social labour plans designed for impact. Implementing for community impact can be useful if is designed in the concept of shared value. Micheal Porter (2011) advances that businesses need to create economic value in a way that also creates value for society by addressing local needs and challenges. Businesses must reconnect company success with social progress. “Shared value is not social responsibility, philanthropy, or even sustainability, but a new way to achieve economic success. It is not on the margin of what companies do but at the center.” Using our experience supporting mine owners to grow and sustain meaningful relationships, IALE Institute has pioneered the Community Purpose framework for mining communities. This accredited framework enables the Institute to work with stakeholders to design and implement programmes that enable the gainful participation of local community members in the mine’s business and social goals. The community purpose framework emphasises 5 key elements; 1. Mining with purpose The mine company’s reason for establishing a mine should be influenced by what local social problem will its existence solve. Looking beyond financial returns enables mine owners to arrive at local actions that are authentic, profitable and designed for impact. 2. Culture The mine needs to influence a local culture of embracing diversity, inflicting positive attitudes and behaviours among its workers and within the local citizens. Shared ideas and values lead to convergence of interests and spark local innovation. 3. Strategy Mine managers are well served when they observe for sources of differentiation by

addressing unmet societal needs and create a more sustainable business environment. 4. Operations Mining executives need to strongly link the local mine’s activities, methods, and approaches to local conditions that reflect unmet social needs and impedes community success. 5. PEOPLE Growing local talent should be a deliberate effort. Mines need to implement skills development programmes across sectors to grow local talent for the local economy. They need long term plans to grow teams that see the mine as an extension of their lives and homes. This framework works for different mining contexts and the Institute partners with various stakeholders to design and implement impactful social and labour plans that are rewarding to the investors while enriching local beneficiaries. About the author Dr Allen Mutono holds a doctorate in Technology and Innovation. He specialises in a diverse array of fields such as; entrepreneurship, local economic development, community engagements, digital transformation, skills development and energy. He provides professional consulting services to a broad spectrum of Clients who include; mining companies, parastatals, provincial and local government institutions in South Africa, He possesses a Bachelor of Honours Degree in Sociology, Master of Science Degree in Technology and Innovation and a Doctorate in the same domain. Dr. Mutono is a thought leader, conference speaker, facilitator and has written widely in the business world.

FEATURE Cabin Filtration & Pressurisation System for Surface Mines & Quarries

Clean Air for Operators in Enclosed Cabins Replacing an old HVAC unit and filtering system, which is malfunctioning, with Sy-Klone International’s advanced precleaning and filtration systems has proved to work wonders. It mininises the exposure of operators inside enclosed cabs of mechanised equipment to crystalline silica and respirable dust. When the NIOSH performed thorough analysis in projects, there was evidence that the air’s cleanliness had improved. Results showed an almost 10-fold reduction in respirable dust inside the enclosed cab.

Sy-Klone RESPA cab air quality system will provide clean filtered air for machine cabs HVAC systems (Image credits: Desert Engineering)


n all countries worldwide, legislation obligates mining companies to ensure that their workers are in a safe and secure environment. This necessitates the adoption of various measures and technologies that will enable them to fulfil this requirement. Regarding South Africa, the Mine Health and Safety (MHS) Act, which falls under the ambit of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), applies. Concerning cabin air quality, the international standard ISO 23875 is referenced. Sometimes, the measures or the technologies that mining companies

adopt may fall short, as it happens in protecting workers from exposure to crystalline silica and respirable dust. More often than not, this is the case with enclosed cabins of mechanised equipment such as bulldozers, loaders and haul trucks. Instead of offering protection, these ‘sheltered’ spaces could be a micro environment where operators would be exposed to the risk of exposure. Consequently, to mitigate the risks of exposure to their workers in enclosed cabins, mining companies have to invest in efficient technologies. One of the technologies

32 Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022

that have demonstrated their efficacy in this environment is filtration and pressurisation systems used in cabins. The significance of efficient filtration becomes comprehensible when the level of health risk which exposure to respirable dust brings is examined. Based on this, then methods and solutions to improve the air quality in enclosed cabs can be explored. Susceptibility to health risks Studies have indicated the alarming prevalence of silicosis in the surface mining operations worldwide,


commonly where there are coal mines. Consistently, from the data the correlation between exposure to dust in enclosed cabins without an acceptable level of protection and silicosis is noticeable. One of the countries in the world where thorough research in the area has been done is in the USA. In the USA, CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)conducted a study with the Department of Health Evaluation Sciences of the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, and the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) between 1996 and 1997. After 1,236 miners were screened for lung diseases at eight different surface mining operations, the findings determined that 6.7 percent of these workers were classified with at least category 1/0 silicosis. Whereas surface drills provided the highest risk of exposure, operators of other types of mechanised equipment were just as vulnerable, the findings deduced.

Filtration and pressurisation system failure NIOSH, in conjunction with mining companies, heating and air-conditioning companies, and cab-filtration manufacturers, undertook further research to establish why cases of silicosis were identified in enclosed cabins with filtration systems installed to improve air quality. Findings revealed that, in most cases, with respect to old equipment, the root of the problem would be with the HVAC unit and filtering system for the enclosed cab that have deteriorated over time. This may necessitate replacing or refurbishing. In another intriguing case, in most recirculation systems, the intake and discharge air vents are located at the roof of the cab. This creates two challenges surface. Firstly, some of the clean air goes back into the recirculation vent (intake), depriving the enclosed cab. Secondly, the operator is exposed to dust from three sources – from his own clothing, on the inside walls of the cab and the floor – as the

34 Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022

dust travels into the recirculation duct at the roof of the cab. Sy-Klone’s effective solution Replacing an old HVAC unit and filtering system, which is malfunctioning, with Sy-Klone International’s advanced precleaning and filtration systems has proved to work wonders in solving the challenge. When the NIOSH performed thorough analysis in projects, there was evidence that the air’s cleanliness had improved. Results showed an almost 10-fold reduction in respirable dust inside the enclosed cab. Sy-Klone’s RESPA-CF2 Fresh-air System, FFX2/CFX2 Recirculated Air System, RadialSHIELD ISO 35 H Filters (EN 1822 H13), and RESPA Advisor Monitoring System help clients meet the performance requirements outlined in ISO 23875. The uni-directional filtration and pressurisation system brings all the clean filtered air in at the roof of the cab and extracts all recirculated air near the floor. This ensures the highest air quality to the equipment operator. The fresh-air system provides

sufficient fresh-air intake and exchange to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) levels within an adequately sealed cab. It also continuously monitors pressurisation and CO2 levels. The built-in alarm alerts the operator when pressurisation or CO2 levels breach the permissible level. This ensures sustained pressurisation while maintaining uninterrupted HVAC performance. The Recirculation System supports recirculation efficiency and decay rate time. In general, the functionality of the Sy-Klone system serves two critical purposes. Firstly, the product filters the air of the cabin or office where the operator sits, consequently ensuring the supply of only fresh air to the area. The cab is pressurised to ensure no dust or other contaminants enter the cab while the equipment operates. While the operator is in the cabin, the air quality is monitored and the carbon dioxide levels are checked. This is to ensure that the operator is working in a healthy cab environment at all times. Secondly, the Sy-Klone pre-clean system, with a few adaptations, can be used to ensure that clean air is going into the engine of the equipment, which also prolongs the engine’s life span. On the whole, Sy-Klone International’s advanced precleaning and filtration systems is one of the solutions that mining companies in Africa can explore to ensure clean air for operators in enclosed cabins of their mechanised equipment. Easy to incorporate, the system can be considered for all new and retrofit systems in surface mining equipment. In Africa, the Sy-Klone system has been installed for clientele in the mining sector. Leading the way for integrated Solutions for Productivity and Safety – Probe Mining Group of Companies As escalating challenges erode profits, the pressure is on for mining organisations to achieve new levels of performance, efficiency and productivity, while maintaining safe and sustainable operations. Digital technology, with advances in sensor, monitoring, networking and real-time predictive applications, is creating a new environment and is making improved engineering efficiency, construction productivity and better safety outcomes a reality in integrated mining operations. Working together, these technologies can result in nextlevel performance enhancements

throughout the value chain, says Probe Mining Group of Companies CEO Gert J. Roselt. Through consolidating the miningorientated offerings within the Probe Group, the Probe Mining Group of Companies has now evolved to offer a comprehensive, strategic array of best-of-breed technologies, products and end-to-end Digital Mine Operation Solutions that can significantly improve the design of digital mines and data analysis. Probe’s integrated offering incorporates Operation Level 9 collision avoidance systems, the design and manufacture of safety solutions, air quality and gas monitoring, renewable energy, industrial solutions, air power, and other specialised solutions. The Group further provides auto electrical field services, batteries, spares & parts for off-highway vehicles (OHV) spares related to Komatsu drive systems, OEM harness manufacturing and Electrical Vehicle conversions. Roselt says visionary mining leaders have realised it’s time to transform how operations are conducted, rather than simply searching for incremental improvements. “We capitalise on the potential of technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT), big data and cloud computing to transform operations, better positioning mines to be able to address resource challenges and environmental pressures moving forward. Our investment in new technologies delivers secure and out-of-

the-box solutions, including uptime and remote monitoring, for more efficient and accurate exploration of operations. Our intelligent systems combine technology, people and processes to enable feedback loops, defining an organisation’s competitiveness and ability to change the industry landscape.” According to Roselt, integrated Solutions for Productivity and Safety, have delivered multiple benefits for mining clients, including: • Highly safe, sustainable and productive operations • More innovative, future-proof operational models • Reduced downtime through taking corrective action in advance • Improved resource and asset use and availability • Improved mining fleet use and control • Real-time visibility resulting in enhanced efficiency • Increased employee productivity • Reduced cost of ownership Professional installation and rigorous maintenance are essential to ensure customers experience minimum downtime. Complemented by a Field Services Division, Probe Mining Group of companies offers a fully integrated management solution, including on-site technical testing and implementation of equipment monitoring systems and charging facilities.

A cabin filtration system (Image: Sy-Klone)

Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022 35

FEATURE Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (inSar) for land surface deformation and subsidence monitoring

Radar satellite data enhances ground deformation surveys Monitoring of minor signs of land deformation and subsidence around operational and abandoned mines is always a challenge. However, it is always these unnoticed details that precede a catastrophe. That is why mining houses and related organisations in Africa can explore the possibility of using data obtained from Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) to enhance their monitoring capabilities. An analysis of the shortcomings of traditional techniques makes the adoption of InSAR more compelling. The inherent shortcomings could result in catastrophic lapses.

a Sinkhole on a road in Gauteng Province, South Africa

By Jimmy Swira


ecent events that have occurred in the global mining sector are sufficient to suggest that mining companies should adopt techniques to better monitor and manage the risk of land deformation and subsidence. The catastrophes at Samarco and Brumadinho tailings dams in Brazil come to mind on a global scale. In Africa, in South Africa in particular, there has been surface deformation – including sinkhole formation - reported countrywide, which has been attributed to mining activity or natural processes. This explains why in the City of Johannesburg sinkholes have been occurring in abandoned mining areas. In 2015, at the now abandoned Lily Mine in Mpumalanga a lamp room with three employees inside sank. The abovementioned events, as well as similar ones worldwide, highlight lapses in either the approach to land subsistence monitoring (the spatial distribution of surface deformation)

or inherent limitations in the techniques employed. These events can pose a safety risk to workers and in surrounding areas, over and above damaging to surface infrastructure such as roads, bridges, buildings, powerlines and telecommunication cables, amongst others. Increased obligation to enhance monitoring Due to this, worldwide, there is increased spotlight and obligation for mining companies or other organisations to enhance the monitoring of operational or abandoned areas. No doubt, there is a solid business case for mining companies to use data collected from Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) as a complementary method or an alternative to current techniques they use. From the data gathered, early detection of deformation can inform timely implementation of effective disaster mitigation techniques, land-use planning and land reclamation.

36 Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022

Shortcomings of ‘traditional’ methods There are numerous ‘traditional’ methods that have been deployed to monitor land subsidence. However, in this context, the common ones involve optical levelling or Global Positioning System (GPS) surveys, which can reveal deformations with sub-millimetre to sub-centimetre precision for localised areas. Unfortunately, as the two are only confined to measuring on a point-by-point basis, they are deemed, comparatively speaking, costly and time-consuming for data on a considerably dense two-dimensional (2D) benchmark grid. Moreover, regular monitoring, which should be the standard practice as far as surface subsidence goes, cannot be easily carried out, if at all, with the techniques. All the more, what rules them out is that they can only be implemented in the aftermath of major events. InSAR as an alternative InSAR mine subsidence measurement is a remote sensing technique that makes use of data acquired by space-borne SAR sensors. The data collected from monitoring and analysing the spatial distribution of the deformed surface can provide centimetre scale surface deformation measurements. Geologists can be able to obtain dense information relating to the deformation across a large area of interest efficiently and economically (with comparatively a high degree of accuracy). Noteworthy, while InSAR technique is gaining prominence now, partly courtesy of the aforesaid high-profile events, it has been on the deformation monitoring block for a long time. But previously, it was beset by limitations: InSAR satellites such as ERS or ENVISAT only log a specified area on average once a period.1

Now, thanks to access to advanced satellite data from the two Sentinel-1 radar satellites, InSAR can be used to routinely monitor changes in surface deformation of large areas consistently. The six-day repeat time interval, coupled with a small orbital tube, is just what the doctor ordered regarding the use of InSAR in surface deformation monitoring. In particular, with the Sentinel 1 mission, geologists are equipped with SAR data that enables them to detect hazards in mining areas of their interest in incredibly greater detail time and space, in near real time, than previously. Launched in 2014 and 2016 and funded by the European Union, the data from the two Sentinel-1 radar satellites is freely available. This is the principle of how it works: The radar beams scan in the range direction, then the movement of the platform in the azimuth direction completes the 2D imaging of the mining region. Then information is gathered, upon which an assessment is made. Case study in Africa (South Africa) There are massive opportunities for mining houses with open cast mining operations in Africa to utilise inSar in land subsidence monitoring application. Finding of trials in South Africa have illustrated huge promise, staking a claim for its application. In South Africa, a few years ago, researchers at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) researchers used InSAR to detect surface deformation over operational and abandoned underground coal mines.2 These mines employed ‘room-and-pillar’ mining respectively to extract as much coal as possible. This was done while ensuring support of the overburden. However, it was observed that, over time, the pillars will collapse and create subsidence at the surface. Using the data, the CSIR had been monitoring mine-induced surface deformation to identify areas associated with underground pillar collapse. The results showed that surface subsidence related to the collapse of pillars can be detected and measured as accurately as possible. This, in turn, illustrated that early warning of such dangerous developments, using long-term monitoring, could be possible. A team of researchers from CSIR and Stellenbosch University also used InSAR techniques to obtain data used to monitor surface deformation in backfilled open pit mines. Backfilling is a time-honoured way to rehabilitate decommissioned open pit mines. However, the risk with backfilling is that the varying settling rate can be a hazard to surrounding infrastructure and communities. For instance, monitoring has to be done consistently. Hopefully, the success from this study could be used as a model for design of long-term operational monitoring of rehabilitated postmining areas.

Devastating effects of Brazil brumadinho dam disaster

Cumulatively, evidence collected globally compellingly indicates that data from InSAR can greatly enhance surface subsidence monitoring. In complement with other surface subsidence monitoring techniques or an alternative, the technique can help mining companies assess the geotechnical risk persisting on an open mine, which may otherwise go undetected, better. Subsequently, appropriate steps can be taken to manage an identified risk proactively. Credits: 1. Wei Tang, Mahdi Motagh, Wei Zhan. Monitoring active openpit mine stability in the Rhenish coalfields of Germany using a coherence-based SBAS method. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 2020; 93: 102217 2. Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) surveys on the Possibilities of using InSAR in monitoring coal operational and abandoned coal mines

Detection of a sinkhole near South Africa’s capital


zimuth is a large-area system covering up to 150 km by 150 km. It uses data from satellite- borne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) sensors, which are able to measure the time delay and amplitude of the microwave signals returned from the earth’s surface. The deformation measurements are available on an Internet-accessible platform. A practical example of the system’s application was when it was used in the detection of the formation of a sinkhole in an unoccupied part of Centurion (south of Pretoria, South Africa’s capital) between June and August 2015. In this case, Azimuth detected a subsidence of 6.6 cm with a diameter of some 100 m. A visit by scientists on the ground confirmed the formation of a sinkhole. Information adapted for Mining Business Africa from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

The impact of the Brumadinho Dam collapse in Brazil: Surrounding communities suffered an incalculable loss.

Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022 37

FEATURE End-to-End Drill & Blast Contracting for Surface Mining & Civil Projects

End-to-End Consistency, Reliability and Quality Based in Pretoria, BOTSE DRILL & BLAST (PTY) Ltd guarantees mining companies in South Africa and the region that it is well-resourced to provide end-to-end drilling and blasting contracting services for any magnitude of project. The company is eager to be involved in surface mining projects that are being launched.

BOTSE DRILL & BLAST has drill rigs with a wide range of capabilities, which are well-maintained and can achieve 85% availability, ensuring high productivity.

By Jimmy Swira


ining companies could not have wished for a more perfect condition than a rebound in the global mining market. Once again, after a debilitating lull that greeted the hard lockdown, they are procuring different services and products that can enable them to increase production. And one of the critical services which surface mines and quarries, in particular, need is drilling and blasting. The convenience of one-stop service provider Steyn Janse van Rensburg, the Managing Director of BOTSE DRILL & BLAST (PTY) Ltd, the provider of end-to-end drilling and blasting contracting services, has been observing trends in surface mining with keen interest. He advises mining companies in South Africa and the region to utilise the convenience of one service provider offering a bouquet of one-stop solutions, especially in drilling and blasting services, which are allied. This is because, in drilling and blasting projects, there is a need for consistency in the adherence to best practice, which ensures that expectations are met in accordance with Safety, Health Environment and Quality (SHEQ).

For this reason, having one service provider consolidates these areas under one roof. Predictable outcomes, reduced costs van Rensburg recommends the services of BOTSE DRILL & BLAST to mining companies in need of end-to-end (turnkey) drilling and blasting services, emphasising that the company is well-placed to provide its services and products. “We work with Surface Mines and Quarries to develop the best rock drilling and breaking solutions for optimum results. From these partnerships, we endeavour to provide a fast, reliable, safe and efficient service delivery, which offers predictable outcomes, whilst reducing operating costs.” Exceeding expectations van Rensburg enthuses to state that, although only established two years ago, BOTSE DRILL & BLAST has been able to carve a niche in an area where there are long-established competitors. Even more incredible is that this feat has been possible during the time the industry is facing the effects of Covid-19. In particular, he mentions five elements that have made the company exceed expectations,

40 Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022

emerging as one of the preferred providers of end-to-end drilling and blasting services as: Relevant Turnkey Services, Adherence to Safety Health Environment & Quality (SHEQ), Continuous Improvement, and Adequate Resources.

Relevant turnkey services Botse’s concept of offering end-to-end (turnkey) solutions has turned out to be a winning formula. On the rationale behind the approach van Rensburg expounds that the company recognises that each client has their own requirements when it comes to drilling and blasting needs. That is why it approaches every project according to its own merits, he adds. BOTSE DRILL & BLAST turnkey services includes Rock On Ground (ROG) Services and Technical Services, with the possibility of being broadened as and when deemed necessary. The company’s vast array of Rock On Ground (ROG) Services covers the whole process from drilling of blast holes to blasting - planning and designing the drilling pattern to initiating the blast. Principally, its technical expertise on all opencast drilling and blasting operations, includes but is not limited to: blast designs, PPV and air blast monitoring, structural surveys and

DRILL & BLAST Surface Operations


ABOUT US Botse (Pty) Ltd was established in January 2020. We work with Surface Mines and Quarries to develop the best rock drilling and breaking solutions for optimum results. From these partnerships, Botse endeavors to provide a fast, reliable, safe and efficient service delivery, which offers predictable outcomes, whilst reducing operating costs. Botse PTY (Ltd) is a level 2 BEE contributor Our priorities are to take absolute accountability for results, to focus sharply on achieving targets and turning around poor performance, and to maintain excellent, ‘zero compromise’ safety standards.

We’ll Get It Done! OUR SERVICES

Drilling of Blast Holes

Blasting Services

Technical Services

Rock On Ground





blast audits. Besides, depending on the client’s needs, Botse is able to offer drilling or blasting services separately.

Adherence to SHEQ In addition to ensuring that a project is delivered on time, within budget and to the expected quality standards, Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) is a high priority in project planning and execution. An inhouse Safety System, which covers all necessary risk assessments and safe operating procedures, is utilised. “We usually work in close conjunction with each client to make sure that their specific requirements are met on the specific project. van Rensburg defines the value upon which the company is based: “There is nothing more important than protecting the health and safety of our employees and those who live and work adjacent to our operations.” Also, BOTSE DRILL & BLAST goes all-out in environmental preservation by keeping emissions from its activities within the legal threshold. This necessitates undertaking a number of vital steps, mainly: cutting down on its use of dangerous substances in favour of biodegradable versions of the products; prioritising the use of fuel-efficient equipment; ensuring that dangerous substances are handled and disposed of in an efficient manner; and complying with dust emission standards during its drilling and blasting operations. Sound environmental management practices is one of BOTSE DRILL & BLAST’s highly esteemed values. The company strives to keep the pollutants from its activities as minimal as practically possible. Where possible, use of biodegradable alternatives to toxic products is preferred, proper and efficient disposal of hazardous substances, and dust emission standards.

Continuous improvement BOTSE DRILL & BLAST’s approach to continuous improvement can best be summed up by the expression: “The only constant is change”. Where applicable, the organisation adopts latest technologies to improve the delivery of its turnkey solutions to clients. Through enduring partnerships with OEMs and other suppliers, the company acquires new technologies to ensure that it is abreast of current trends, most importantly to deliver the best possible services to the client.

Well-resourced The company owes its feats to a wealth of resources in the form of a thoroughbred skilled workforce and an inventory of state-of-the-art

42 Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022

equipment. In terms of machinery, BOTSE DRILL & BLAST has drill rigs with a wide range of capabilities, which are well-maintained and can achieve 85% availability, ensuring high productivity. Steyn applauds the company’s highly skilled blasters as the most invaluable resource. The blasters are well-versed in the process of priming, loading, tie and blast, who are widely experienced in the following areas: size of loaded material, location of mug pile, slope and quality of the main wall, and environmental consequences like vibration and air blast controls. BOTSE DRILL & BLAST is under the capable guidance of van Rensburg, who, as founder and director of the company, is responsible for drilling and blasting operations. With extensive experience spanning two decades, BOTSE DRILL & BLAST could not have been under a more perfect head. He has held several Senior Management roles at large opencast operations before starting BOTSE DRILL & BLAST in January 2020. He Holds a Surface Blasting Certificate and is a Graduate of GIBS Business School and UCT Management programs. Optimistic about prospects On the whole, Rensburg is optimistic about prospects for drilling and blasting business in 2022 and beyond. He believes that the project boom trend will continue in the long term, assuring potential clientele about the capability of BOTSE DRILL & BLAST to handle different scales of projects and deliver to clients’ expectations. This is based on the capacity that the company has built since establishment, as well as the combined wealth of experience of its employees.

FEATURE Drives for mining machinery

Great Dividends from Digitisation of Drives Reduction in unscheduled downtimes in motors - thanks to the early detection emerging risks (prediction of maintenance requirements) - can be identified through digital drive monitoring. Ultimately, increased equipment availability translates into enhanced productivity. Productivity gains from various processes cumulatively increase a mining operation’s revenue (the benefits can be reflected on the bottomline)

Typical example of a digitised drive (Image: Siemens)


he conventional status-oriented method of condition monitoring of drive technology for conveyors, hoists, grinding media etc has served the industry well, under the circumstances. But contemporary requirements, where machine uptime (availability) has to be guaranteed, dictate that other means have to be sought. The emergence of status-oriented maintenance, via digitisation, is the most

convenient development from R&D technologies that are designed to deliver safe, efficient, cost effective and environmentally friendly operations. Mining companies are able to proactively maintain machinery and equipment and detect changes timeously. Thanks to digitisation, predictive maintenance can be carried out more effortlessly than before – in fact it is getting

The capabilities of processors have increased in the scope of capabilities, resulting in the introduction of more features in variable frequency drives (VFDs).

easier. In this way, they are able to reduce downtime and increase plant efficiency. This has also gained traction drive technology for mining machinery, where it is bringing incredible changes. The capabilities of processors have increased in the scope of capabilities, resulting in the introduction of more features in variable frequency drives (VFDs). This is how it works: the drive controls the motor and uses the data gathered from the control to provide an update on the motor’s health. Reduction in unscheduled downtimes in motors - thanks to the early detection emerging risks (prediction of maintenance requirements) can be identified through digital drive monitoring. The digitisation of drives could not have come at a more perfect time. Data from motors can be used to optimise machine performance. Eventually, an operator can benefit from greater stability, flexibility and efficiency. Productivity gains from various processes cumulatively increase a mining operation’s revenue (the benefits can be reflected on the bottom-line).

Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022 43


PDAC 2022 Convention returns to Toronto in person and online


he international mineral exploration and mining industry is once again gearing up for the annual Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada’s (PDAC) Convention in Toronto, following its first virtual convention in 2021. This year signifies the return of the in person event from June 13-15, as well as an online portion from June 28-29. This is the first time in the PDAC Convention’s 90 years that it will be offered as a hybrid event, and a fitting way to honour the milestone. “The pandemic has had us on a rollercoaster over the past couple of years and the feedback we are consistently hearing from our stakeholders is that they want to get back to doing business in person, and for anyone connected to the mineral exploration and mining industry, that means getting together face to face for the PDAC 2022 Convention” said Alex Christopher, PDAC President. While the pandemic created challenges, it also demonstrated the resilience of the sector as it navigated health and safety, accessibility and supply chain obstacles, while conversations turned to the security of precious metals and the industry’s role in the transition to a low carbon future. “We have watched precious metals and gold prices soar to record highs, applaud conversations recognizing the industry’s critical role in the clean energy transition, and throughout the pandemic have watched companies offer support to Indigenous and remote communities where it may otherwise have not existed,” added Mr. Christopher. “This is just a small glimpse into the importance of the minerals industry, and as the world reopens, professionals—including analysts, executives, geologists, prospectors,


PDAC Executive Director Lisa McDonald

44 Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022

investors, students and government officials— need timely and relevant programming and short courses that can be tailored to their needs, and the PDAC 2022 Convention offers exactly that.” The PDAC Convention provides a platform for experts to connect and talk, learn and collaborate about the opportunities and challenges faced by the industry. Highly-acclaimed topics—such as Capital Markets, Indigenous, Student & Early Career, Sustainability and Technical—will return to in person and online programming, along with Short Courses, the seventh annual International Mines Ministers’ Summit (IMMS), Events & Networking, and a newly expanded Keynote Program for experts to present on commodities, the mineral outlook, innovation and new discoveries. More than 800 exhibitors will display their expertise and latest core samples in Core Shack, Investors Exchange, Prospectors Tent and Trade Show. But the excitement is not limited to only in person with an outstanding lineup of programming scheduled for the online portion. “It is important that we can offer the online portion of PDAC 2022 for a very important group of stakeholders across the world who want access to information directly from their home or office, and we are excited to be able to give them that,” said Lisa McDonald, PDAC Executive Director. “But it is the in person element that is being craved this year and we can’t wait to welcome the world’s mineral exploration and mining industry to PDAC 2022 after all this time, we’ve certainly missed everyone.”

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FEATURE Electrolyser System (Hydrogen Solution for Fuel Cell Powered Haul Truck

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Solution for Powering Haul Trucks Technologies that have been touted as the biggest thing have been a dime and a dozen, but, in many cases with the exception of battery electric vehicles – so far, nothing has materialised beyond the hype. Hydrogen cell powered vehicles are promising to be one of the most viable avenues through which mining and construction companies can move towards achieving the goal of carbon neutral operations from pit to port. So far, two projects – one at engineering firm in the UK and another at the world’s biggest producer of platinum group metals in South Africa – are very encouraging.

Mckinsey report on emissions from industry notes that mining industry alone contributes about 7% of global emissions (Climate risk and decarbonisation – What every mining CEO should know). So, the burden is on mining companies to leave no stone unturned in cutting emissions in their operations from pit to port. Every avenue has to be explored as much as possible. The quest for a zero-emission solution presents an invaluable opportunity for achieving carbon neutrality.

JCB hydrogen fuel cell powered excavator (Image courtesy JCB Group)


f ever mining companies have been dithering in their decisions to transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy technologies so as to move closer to the goal of carbon neutrality, then the outcome of COP26 (the Glasgow Climate Pact COP26) makes a compelling case. COP26 obligates the world to work together in the singular objective of reducing climate change. In its review on COP26, the United Nations notes: “In perhaps the most contested decision in Glasgow, countries ultimately agreed to a provision calling for a phase-down of coal power and a phase-out of “inefficient” fossil fuel subsidies – two key issues that had never been explicitly mentioned in decisions of UN

climate talks before, despite coal, oil and gas being the main drivers of global warming. Many countries, and NGOs, expressed dissatisfaction that the language on coal was significantly weakened (from phase-out to phase-down) and consequently, was not as ambitious as it needs to be.” As a matter of fact, to industries, the outcome of COP26 means that climate change and decarbonisation pressures are real, and cannot just be wished away. This puts the pressure on industries like mining, oil gas, construction, which are ranked as the highest culprits (producers of pollution), to be seen to be doing their part. with regard to the mining sector,

46 Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022

Reducing diesel – a great opportunity Mining companies are numerous exploring means of minimising, or if possible, eliminating the use of fossil fuels. And diesel being a major source of energy in mining operations presents a great avenue to achieve this. The mining industry has identified haul trucks as an area through which they can minimise emissions cut the GHG emissions from off-road vehicles to zero. This is through changing from using diesel powered haul trucks to those powered by cleaner-energy powered versions. In major mining operations, diesel powered vehicles can account for as high 70% of emissions in major mining operation; on average it can hover between 50-60 precent. Like for like replacement Considering how the exertion which dieselpowered haul trucks undergo, mining companies would need a like to like replacement from the standpoint of heavy-duty performance. specifically, this could be a solution that would not compromise productivity, while reducing or cutting emissions. Specifically, this could be in the areas of comparable mobility, the convenience of fuelling infrastructure, power, and safety performance to diesel. Noteworthy,

from a safety standpoint, a cleaner worksite more especially in underground mine. Interestingly, even before the ‘binding’ Glasglow agreement, some mining companies had taken already the plunge by introducing the cleaner energy option of battery electric vehicles (BEV) to their fleet of vehicles. Another option mining companies that is attracting the interest of mining companies worldwide are haul trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells. Gathering from recent developments in the market, impressively, this trend has been gaining traction. The beauty about the emergence of rising to prominence is that it increases broadens options which mining companies can utilise to reduce emissions produced from their haul trucks. Hype or substance? There have been cases where some technologies have been hyped as the next big thing, set to revolutionalise clean energy transition, but, so far, nothing concrete has not yet materialised on a commercial scale. The biggest snag has been a suitable system, safe and robust enough for the mining vehicle taking into account the topography of mines - uneven roads. This is with the exception of BEVs.

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The Ground-breaking trials of hydrogen cell One may ask: Is hydrogen the real deal? If recent evidence from various projects is anything to go by, switching to hydrogen celltechnology is proving to be one of the most viable sources of cleaner energy for haul trucks used in mining and construction. There are two ground-breaking trials of hydrogen fuel cellpowered haul vehicles on a commercial scale that are worth documenting. From construction sector perspective, it is a 20-tonne excavator, the 220X, in use at UK-based mechanical engineering firm, JCB, while Anglo American has set the pace at its Mogalakwena mine, the largest open pit platinum group metals mine in the world. UK-based mechanical engineering firm, JCB is now using a fuel cell powered 20-tonne excavator, the 220X, which is touted as the construction industry’s first ever hydrogen powered excavator. The JCB’s inclusion of the excavator as part of its fleet is part of its quest to reduce emissions by using zero and low carbon technologies. A hydrogen-powered haul truck is currently being trialled at Anglo American’s Mogalakwena mine, the largest open pit platinum group metals (PGM) mine in the world. On successful

deployment, other the trucks are expected to be deployed at other Anglo-American operations across the world. Anglo American is aiming to achieve carbon neutrality across its global operations by 2040. Currently, large trucks account for over 70% of diesel consumption on-site, switching from diesel to hydrogen would help move the company closer to its goal. The hydrogen cell powered truck has generated a lot of interest in the mining sector. One of the features that are worth mentioning is the hydrogen tank system designed to power the world’s largest mine haul truck. It is designed to safety and cost effectively store enough hydrogen at high pressure power the fuel cells. The hydrogen tank system will drive a fuel cell that will ensure that Anglo American zero-emission from material handling. Anglo American plans to generate hydrogen from electrolysis on site. The next eighteen months would be interesting to observe progress in introduction of hydrogen fuel cell powered technology in haul trucks. In the May-June 2022 Edition, will illustrate how Nel Hydrogen is working together with Anglo American in the development of hydrogen fuel cell powered haul trucks.

2/11/22 5:06 PM

Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022 47

FEATURE Chemical dewatering agents for mineral processing

Enhanced Filtration, Increased Throughput Chemical dewatering agents have proved effective in offsetting common shortcomings in mineral aggregate filtration, enabling mining companies to meet moisture level targets and increase throughput.

Filter cake from sludge dewatering


nalysts have been raving about how mining companies are set to record bumper increases in revenue due to rising global commodity prices. But that notion is based on the assumption that key elements in critical phases like mineral processing have been followed to the hilt. The objectives of increasing grades and recoveries of mineral aggregates environmentally friendly, safely and cost effectively would have been scrupulously implemented. Yet, in reality, missteps (poor planning and execution) in the filtration processes could be the difference between increase and reduction in revenue. As far as filtration goes, fine margins can make a huge difference.

Reports indicate that even the use of advanced filtration technologies such as decanter centrifuges, screw presses and belt presses, amongst others, does not offset poor implementation of filtration. Unfortunately, moisture levels that do not meet the threshold (low or high) are frequently encountered. Most often, this is attributable to overlooked factors that impair the process of filtration. So, if mining companies are to achieve efficient filtration, they have to seek sustainable ways of managing these methodically. And one of the sure-fire techniques is the proper use of chemical dewatering agents in filtration processes. Chemical dewatering agents – which include surfactants, flocculants, polymers,

48 Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022

sulfonates, and sulfates – are mostly used to control moisture levels and increase throughput in filter applications. That is why mining companies must be more particular about the nature of the dewatering agents and the way they apply them (dose). Why chemical dewatering agents have become important There is increased obligation on mining companies in the way they undertake their filtration processes. This is due to the rising cost in operating costs which is impacting on, growing scarcity of viable ore bearing rock, in addition to stringent environmental laws and regulations.

Cost effective application and efficiency Mining companies can only make the most of their rising global commodity prices if they improve efficiency and contain costs. However, the rising oil prices, as a result of the Ukraine War will offset any envisaged increase in profit. Another noteworthy aspect is that skyrocketing energy costs lend more credence to the need for sound application of filtration processes. This is considering that filtration is an energy-intensive process. When poorly implemented, the process results in consumption of more energy, which translates in further expenditure. This necessitates that mining companies leave no stone unturned in their efforts to improve efficiency and contain costs from every available avenue. One of the available avenues, as regards filtration, would be in the sound application of chemical dewatering agents. •

Environment Social and Governance (ESG) Environment Social and Governance (ESG) is no longer an option but an integral part of their operations, with points earned from sound reporting used as a factor in determining access to capital. ESG regulations and rules bind mining companies to be accountable for the impact of their activities on the environment, host communities, and adhere to good governance values. Pertaining to environmental friendliness, disposal laws stipulate sustainable measures governing the disposal or reuse of sludge. Usually, untreated or inadequately treated sludge contains organic chemicals, toxic metals, chemical irritants and pathogens, which may cause several diseases. When disposed of, the waste disrupts aquatic life and poses serious health hazards in water bodies. Alternatively, the use of technologies that leave a small footprint on the environment is highly recommended. For instance, from a filtration perspective, using a more environmentally friendly (less hazardous) chemical dewatering agents would be preferrable to xanthates. Xanthates include sodium ethyl xanthate (SEX), sodium isopropyl xanthate (SIPX), sodium isobutyl xanthate (SIBX) and potassium amyl xanthate (PAX). • Health and safety Xanthates may be effective in keeping moisture at a normal level, but they may pose health and safety risks. Studies conducted in various countries show the dangers of Xanthates exposure to human health. Moreover, there is a high safety risk attached to high moisture content of transported mineral products (commonly called Transportable Moisture Level (TML)). When a ship is carrying ore with a high moisture content (beyond the TML), there is always a risk of foundering. In the past 30 years, at least 24 accidents that occurred were attributed to cargo liquefaction.

Mistakes in dewatering application For effective filtration, mining companies have to identify the common lapses that impair filtration and result failure to meet moisture level targets. More often than not, the following factors have an impact on the outcome - changes in feed rate (fluctuations on the milling feed rate and grinding media), chemical and mineralogical composition or particle size distribution. The ensuing dewatering deficiencies can impede the subsequent processing steps. A case in point is in iron ore pelletising operations, where moisture levels below 9% are required for pellet formation. Too much or too little water creates a narrow moisture range for optimal process conditions. With reference to the particle size distribution, small particle size becomes increasingly difficult to dewater. In order to address these challenges, a mining company may be prompted to increase capital expenditure (CAPEX) or additional resource allocation towards process modification to have additional or larger filtering capabilities. In most cases, the scenarios are not predicted earlier in the design. Above and beyond, while this task is being carried out, there would be operational downtime, resulting in loss of productivity. Addressing dewatering shortcomings Addressing dewatering shortcomings can either pose a challenge or an opportunity, depending on how a mining company handles it. There is a saying which goes, “A bad carpenter blames their tools”. Most often, dewatering failure, which is reflected in high moisture content, is as a result of poor selections

and execution of processes. This is considering that there are complex variables associated with dewatering. Demonstrably, the targeted level of dewatering mineral aggregates is attainable where the feed rate is consistent, particle size distribution and mineralogical composition. Nevertheless, it has been consistently proven that the proper use of chemical dewatering agents is a viable option to keep production stable during periods of challenging scenarios in dewatering. For dewatering aids to produce the desired output, precision is critical. Chemical dewatering agents should be applied at correct points. This is given that different dewatering aids have varied processes and intensities, which considerably affect the performance of mineral sludge dewatering. Numerous gains There are numerous gains from correct use of chemical dewatering agents in mineral aggregate filtration. Dewatering agents ensure a predictable, cost-effective operation where there is little to no requirement for CAPEX or additional resource allocation. Also, achieving moisture target - reaching the dewatered state is within shorter cycle times, increasing filtering productivity. Generally, what a mining company gets from a chemical dewatering agent is an operational resource that enables a safer, stable and reliable process, with noticeable reduced production costs through filtration. Effective filtration is one of the avenues available at the disposal of mining companies to ensure that they make the most of high commodity prices.

A dewatering agent

Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022 49



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FEATURE Focus on Dry High Intensity Rare Earth Roll Magnetic Separator

Rare Earth Roll Magnetic Separators: An Eriez Case Study Eriez built and commissioned the world’s first 80-inch Dry High Intensity Rare Earth Roll Magnetic Separator to satisfy unique minerals processing application requirements. The supersized Rare Earth Roll Magnetic Separator was successfully installed at the customer’s site and findings of the industrial mineral upgraded by the equipment has exceeded the expectations of both Eriez and the customer, even at higher than design feed rates.


By Jose Marin he demand for higher purity industrial minerals continues to grow as new applications are released throughout the world. What does this mean to the producers of industrial minerals who proudly produce their products, but find that the production run from yesterday will no longer suffice? Companies that do not want to get left behind must drive technological advances to produce newer, more state-of-the art equipment. Equipment advancements give companies the keys to unlock doors to new applications in changing markets. Magnetic separation is an important technology that can help make significant improvements in products and minerals by delivering increased recovery. Like most technologies, magnetic separation equipment manufacturers are constantly searching for improvements and efficiency gains in all possible processes to stay relevant and remain on the cutting edge. One vital piece of equipment is the Dry High Intensity Rare Earth (RE) Roll Magnetic Separator. The following discussion identifies current trends and lists its technological improvements.

Newly designed Model RE 80-3 Roll Separator, non-magnetic repass configuration

52 Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022

Next Generation RE Roll Separator (High Intensity Magnetic Separator) Rare earth roll separators effectively replaced the induced magnetic roll separators (IMR) because of the equipment’s simple and compact design and low power consumption. Its performance was as good as or better than that of the IMR. The early models were manufactured with Samarium Cobalt Rare Earth magnets and the maximum roll width at the time was the 40 inches (1 m) wide. Those units evolved into the 60 inch (1.5 m) and Eriez is now pleased to announce the development of an 80 inch (2 m) wide RE Roll. The 80 inch wide RE Roll is completely re-designed to bring the RE rolls to current engineering design standards. The housing has been simplified by making it “bolt-on” construction as compared to the conventional welded construction. The cantilever assembly has been re-designed with fewer components and a more rugged design. Bearing replacement has been simplified so operators do not struggle with the weight of a magnetic roll that will stick to any metallic part on the machine and nearby area. The belt tracking mechanism has been simplified to make the belt replacement procedure even faster than the previous models, but the Kevlar

belts are still the longest lasting belts. Belts with diagonal splices as well as finger splices are also available. The Rare Earth Roll, generating peak magnetic field strengths approaching 24,000 gauss, is very effective for concentrating or removing weakly magnetic minerals from a dry process stream. The Rare Earth Roll magnetic separator is designed to provide peak separation efficiency and is typically used when a highpurity product is required. The roll is constructed of discs of neodymium-boron-iron permanent magnets sandwiched with steel pole pieces. The steel poles are magnetically induced to the saturation point of approximately 24,000 gauss. Magnetic roll diameters are typically 3, 4, and 6 inches, although separators as large as 12 inch diameter are available. The separator is configured as a head pulley in the separator. A thin belt, usually from 5 to 20 mils thick is used to convey the feed material through the magnetic field. When feed material enters the magnetic field, the non-magnetic particles are discharged from the roll in their natural trajectory. The paramagnetic, or weakly magnetic, particles are attracted to the roll and are deflected out of the non-magnetic particle stream. A splitter arrangement is used to segregate the two particle streams.

Performance Exceeds Expectations Eriez built and commissioned the world’s first 80-inch Dry High Intensity Rare Earth Roll Magnetic Separator to satisfy unique minerals processing application requirements. The supersized Rare Earth Roll Magnetic Separator was successfully installed at the customer’s site and findings of the industrial mineral upgraded by the equipment has exceeded the expectations of both Eriez and the customer, even at higher than design feed rates. The Eriez Rare Earth Roll Magnetic Separator provides maximum efficiency in the separation of weakly magnetic particles for product purification applications. Eriez applied sophisticated finite element analysis in magnetic circuit design to produce an energy-free separator capable of generating the exceptionally high field-strength needed to remove unwanted fine iron contaminants. All Eriez Rare Earth Roll Magnetic Separators incorporate the highest strength and best quality magnet material. They combine the best engineering and operational features to provide excellent performance with hassle-free operation, inspection, and maintenance. Predictive Maintenance Eriez Service devised predictive and preventive maintenance programs for its products. Eriez believes that customer service does not end

when the sale is made. No matter what Eriez product is purchased, customers continue to receive follow up service calls and notice of scheduled maintenance. Testing of magnetic separators should be a regular occurrence, especially in harsh, high temperature and wet environments. Jose Marin is Director—Minerals and Materials Processing at Eriez. He can be reached at 814-835-6000 or Eriez is recognized as the world authority in separation technologies. The company’s magnetic separation, metal detection, material handling, fluid recycling and advanced flotation technologies have application in the mining, processing, packaging, food, recycling, aggregate, plastics and metalworking industries. Eriez designs, manufactures and markets these products through 13 international subsidiaries located on six continents. For more information, visit www. or contact Eriez World Headquarters, 2200 Asbury Road, Erie, PA 16506 USA at +1 814 835-6000 or

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Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022 53

FEATURE The Slope Stabilisation and Rockfall Protection Solution

History of Geobrugg

Thanks to the aluminium zinc coating on Geobrugg’s mesh (MINAX, TECCO, DELTAX and SPIDER), the mesh blends into the landscape. Geobrugg’s drape systems can provide the same level of protection as a conventional protective covering but use only half as many nails. This can significantly reduce the total project cost and the installation time.

Minax blast-on mesh - Before blast


eobrugg’s head office is located in Romanshorn, in the eastern part of Switzerland. The BRUGG Group is one of Europe’s largest steel rope and associated product manufacturers. The office in South Africa has been in operation since 2012 and is located in Lanseria. Their team of dynamic people can provide technical support on various flexible rockfall mitigation systems. Not only does Geobrugg offer highly specialised know-how, but they rely on more than 65 years of experience in steel wire processing. Geobrugg’s high tensile steel mesh and systems are performance guaranteed and go through rigorous testing and certification processes. MINAX mesh for underground mines Geobrugg offers an alternative design solution to the mining industry with its light-weight steel wire mesh, MINAX, which offers superior strength qualities to other mesh types. Full-scale dynamic tests done in Wallenstadt (Switzerland) had been done in collaboration with universities and mines from all parts of the world. These test results have been confirmed locally by institutes such as the CSIR and SGS South Africa. These tests have found that MINAX mesh used in combination with suitable anchors have

offered a huge step towards solving situations where protection against dynamic load is imperative. The use of the high tensile steel wire (min 1770 N/mm2) and the flexibility of the chain link mesh allows the support systems to be applied in areas with very high static and dynamic stress. Geobrugg’s mesh can be used as an alternative to mild steel mesh and lacing, is less labour intensive and does not require the use of lacing. The application of Geobrugg’s MINAX mesh (3mm or 4mm wire diameter) provides a solution for high energy demands up to 60kJ. Further advantages of Geobrugg mesh is the ease of handling and storage of the products. The special coating of the mesh offers corrosion resistance of the products in

Minax blast-on mesh - After the blast

54 Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022

the mining environment and ultimately a longer lifetime in comparison to galvanized welded or mild steel chain link mesh. The use of MINAX mesh in underground operations has been shown to increase the productivity of mining development. The MINAX mesh offers at least three times higher tensile strength compared to mild steel wire. Blast-on mesh Installing an 8mm cable on the leading edge of a mesh sheet, helps to absorb the velocity of the blast. The mesh sheets can be used as permanent areal support in narrow reef mining. Uncontrolled fall of ground between bolts can be eliminated with the installation of the MINAX blast-on mesh. It also reduces the time spent on inspection and barring following re-entry after blasting. Their team makes sure that sufficient training is provided to ensure the mesh is installed correctly. Geobrugg has specially designed round spikeplates that can be used instead of flat washers. These round spikeplates helps to improve the load transfer between mesh and bolts making it a complete system. Mesh sheets are connected with T3 Connection Clips. There is no need for additional bolts, or overlapping mesh – no mesh wastage occurs.

Slope stabilization and rockfall mitigation for open-pit mines Rockfalls pose a real threat to the health and safety of mine workers. Work stoppages imposed by the authorities are costly in terms of lost production. Fortunately, Geobrugg’s improved rock support methods can reduce the losses of both life and money. Geobrugg recognizes that, in complex situations that involve potentially dangerous conditions, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. That is why they analyse every hazardous situation before developing customised or entirely new solutions with the help of a range of software products that have been verified and calibrated in tests that replicate real-life conditions. The right system specifications will provide reliable protection against rockfall, debris flow and other natural hazards. Geobrugg solutions (rockfall barriers or drape systems) protect workers against rockfall, as well as protection of access roads, production installations and buildings. The high tensile steel wire offers high energy absorption capacity and long life with low maintenance. The rockfall barriers offer protection against maximum energies up to 10 000 kJ. The barriers are easy to install and simple to maintain. Energy categories for the GBE rockfall barrier series bear the CE conformity marking. Geobrugg’s barriers have a considerably smaller carbon footprint than concrete or steel constructions. Attenuators for passive protection Hybrid rockfall barriers are installed as passive protective measures. The barrier intercepts the rockfall and absorbs the energy while the drape enables the rocks and other debris to roll into a catch zone in a controlled manner. Attenuators offers a moderately controlled form of slope protection. A cost-effective solution In many projects, geotechnical engineers are faced with challenges and always want a solution that offers less time on site with fewer materials and with the least impact on the environment. Solutions need to be effective while minimising the disturbance of the environment. Thanks to the aluminium zinc coating on Geobrugg’s mesh (MINAX, TECCO, DELTAX and SPIDER), the mesh blends into the landscape. Geobrugg’s drape systems can provide the same level of protection as a conventional protective covering but use only half as many nails. This can significantly reduce the total project cost and the installation time. If you need a specialist solution for geohazards, then Geobrugg is the answer. Reference projects can be found at www.

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Mining Business Africa | March - April 2022 55

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Advertiser’s index Botse Drill and Blast..............................................................41

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Envass Group of Companies..................................................05

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Geobrugg Pty Ltd...................................................................57

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Mining Business Africa (MBA) is Pan-African bi-monthly publication that focuses on latest developments in mining and allied industries in Africa. The publication covers the scope of critical activities from pit to port – mineral exploration (prospecting), mine planning and development, extraction, mineral processing, storage transportation, as well as beneficiation. Mining Business Africa provides the desired mileage for companies looking to promote their products and services to a specific niche clientele in the African Mining Sector. Subscribers are located or at least involved in projects in South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana and Nigeria. MBA is published by Media Icon, a company manned by personnel with a combined experience of 30 years in the publishing space.

TO ADVERTISE | CALL: + 27 10 055 3356 | Email:


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Underground spike plate

Geobrugg Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd Stand 660 | Lanseria Corporate Estate c/o Amelia and Electron Lane | 1739 Lanseria | South Africa T +27 11 794 3248 |

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