SA Mining July/August 2022

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290 tonnes: hydrogen-powered hauler

30MW: Harmony solar plant


READ WHAT REALLY GOES DOWN IN SADC R39.90 (incl VAT) International R44.50 (excl tax)

WOMEN IN MINING Profiling success stories

Pam du Plessis Managing Director Invincible Valves

Explosive new blasting technologies GOING GREEN With zeroemission trucks

INVINCIBLE VALVES 40 years of growth




A booming market in explosive technologies.


38 SA mines drive sustainability initiatives.


Gangsterism threatens mine productivity Climate-proof roads


Finance and legal The NEMLA Bill will introduce a major shift in South Africa’s environmental legislation on a date to be fixed and proclaimed by the president.


Sustainability initiatives Between load shedding and ongoing fossil fuel dependency, mines are starting to make the shift to sustainable energy – we look at the complexity of the undertaking.



Women in Mining As we celebrate Women’s Month, we profile some of the women who have defied the traditional gender stereotypes of the industry. Are zero-emission trucks the future of sustainable mining? Power-agnostic trucks, massive hydrogen-powered haulers and other unique innovations are paving the way for a green future.


30MW: Harmony solar plant 290 tonnes: hydrogen-powered hauler


Out of Africa

Are zero-emission trucks the future of sustainable mining? 290 tonnes: hydrogen-powered hauler

30MW: Harmony solar plant



READ WHAT REALLY GOES DOWN IN SADC R39.90 (incl VAT) International R44.50 (excl tax)

WOMEN IN MINING Profiling success stories

Pam du Plessis Managing Director Invincible Valves

Explosive new blasting technologies

With 40 years of history behind it, Invincible Valves continues to grow, investing in new facilities, as well as women and youth skills.

GOING GREEN With zeroemission trucks

INVINCIBLE VALVES 40 years of growth

To visit our website.








Rodney Weidemann Tel: 062 447 7803 Email:


Stacey Visser Tel: 011 280 3671 Email:

Rodney Weidemann


Good examples of these are the photovoltaic t seems obvious that the global climate is reacting energy initiatives from Harmony Gold, which to years of anthropogenic change in ways that has established an independent power producer for are not good for the human race. Therefore there the construction of the three PV plants. These plants can be little doubt that we need to make serious will have a total installed capacity of 30MW and will efforts to curb greenhouse gases and move deliver more than 68GWh of clean power. Anglo towards a more sustainable and renewable future. American, among other sustainable opportunities, A key way to curb emissions for mines lies in is working to champion the development of South moving to new forms of power for the various large Africa’s very own Hydrogen Valley as it seeks to find haul vehicles. Some 60% of diesel is consumed on uphill climbs, so using electric technology for this part ways to wean the economy off fossil fuels. Looking at equipment, crushing and grinding are of the haul can have a major impact on emissions. processes that are highly mechanical, consume large This drive towards sustainability in the mining amounts of energy and result in tremendous wear industry is gaining pace, as the reality of climate and tear to equipment. With the current state of the change hits home. Several proposed ideas to reduce world – a depressed economy, rising prices across emissions in large mine haul trucks are under way, the board and increasing inflation – reducing costs notably announced by the partnership between and driving greater efficiencies Komatsu and Cummins, as is paramount. Industry body well as Anglo American. The drive towards ASPASA offers some advice here. The former two have sustainability in the mining Something else that is signed a memorandum of changing (although not rapidly understanding to collaborate industry is gaining pace, as enough, in my opinion) in the on the development of the reality of climate change mining sector is the gender zero-emissions haulage balance. Long viewed as a equipment, in the form of a hits home. male-oriented industry, we are power-agnostic truck concept increasingly seeing women taking up positions in the that can run on a variety of power sources – including sector that have traditionally been associated with diesel electric, trolley, battery power and hydrogen men. fuel cells. In this issue, we profile several women who have Anglo, meanwhile, has unveiled what it refers to defied the gender norms prevalent in this arena to as the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mine haul succeed. Coming from different backgrounds, and truck prototype, capable of hauling some 290 tonnes. working in different areas of mining, they still have Continuing with this theme, the goal to reach a things in common – a determination to succeed, a net-zero emissions target by 2050, and the phasing willingness to learn from their peers and mentors, down in the use and reliance on coal and other and a passion for mining. inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies, means that the And on that note, let me wish all our readers a South African mining sector needs to also consider wonderful Women’s Month in August! ■ sustainable energy.


Shailendra Bhagwandin Tel: 011 280 5946 Email:


Ilonka Moolman Tel: 011 280 3120 Email: Tshepo Monyamane Tel: 011 280 3110 Email:


Neesha Klaaste Tel: 011 280 5063 Email:

SUB-EDITOR Andrea Bryce


Claire Morgan Tel: 011 280 5783 Email:


SWITCHBOARD Tel: 011 280 3000


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The Kibali Gold Mine’s investment in the Democratic Republic of the Congo now exceeds $4-billion. It has created a thriving regional economy in a remote part of the country, through partnering with and mentoring local entrepreneurs, uplifting host communities and upgrading essential infrastructure. Barrick president and chief executive Mark Bristow says Kibali is not only Africa’s largest gold mine, bit is also a global leader in automation, sustainability initiatives, clean energy and skills training. “Thanks to Barrick’s policy of local employment and advancement, 94% of Kibali’s workforce, including its management, are Congolese nationals. It is now also driving the employment of women in the traditionally maledominated mining industry, through targeted recruitment campaigns and development programmes designed to equip them for rewarding careers at all levels of the organisation,” he says. Kibali is on track to meet its full-year production guidance and has again posted an injury-free quarter. Its three worldclass hydropower stations are mitigating the impact of higher fuel prices and significantly reducing the mine’s carbon footprint. Bristow says the stations were built well before climate change became a priority issue, demonstrating Barrick’s longstanding commitment to sustainability in all its activities. Local sustainability projects include the construction of a world-class aquaponics farm and the erection of a vocational and technical training centre to promote capacity building in the community. Kibali also continues to invest in the future of Africa’s biodiversity through its support for the Garamba National Park which has seen a substantial increase in the giraffe population and the near elimination of elephant poaching. It is also sponsoring a project for the reintroduction of white rhino into the park, critical in the long-term campaign to protect this endangered species. “Kibali’s journey has created enormous value for all its stakeholders and it’s a standout example of what mutually beneficial partnerships can achieve. Moreover, its great gold endowment means that it has a long future ahead as an engine for economic growth and community development,” Bristow says.

NEW SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT FOR LESOTHO DIAMOND MINE WEC Projects, a local engineering, procurement and construction contractor specialising in water and wastewater treatment solutions, will soon complete the installation of a new WEC Model B packaged sewage treatment plant at the Mothae Diamond Mine. The mine is located in the Maluti Mountains, 214km from Maseru, Lesotho. It’s 70% owned by Lucapa Diamond Company and 30% by the Government of Lesotho. Rudolf de Koning, sales representative at WEC Projects, says, “The mine lacked a sustainable sewage solution. Producing 60m3 of domestic raw sewage per day, Mothae used trucks to dispose of the sewage at the nearest disposal facility, almost 130km away. “To reduce these high costs, WEC proposed the installation of its Model B conventional activated sludge treatment plant, with a daily capacity of 80m3, which allows for future upgrading and expansion of the mine operations.” The R3.2-million installation is a combined activated sludge and clarification treatment plant with a modular design to simplify the logistics around transport and deliver a smaller overall footprint. It also integrates a Wastemaster for screening, de-gritting, and oil removal to cope with fats and oils present in the sewage, which could adversely affect the aerobic process in the plant’s reactor. In addition to making the mine more environmentally compatible through the effective treatment of its domestic sewage, the plant also reduces the costs of transporting waste to the nearest disposal facility, saving the mine a significant amount of money every month.

Mothae mine’s newly constructed mine camp.




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Illegal mining and gangsterism threatens to bring the country’s mining industry to its knees unless its role players work together to eliminate these problems. This is according to the Aggregate and Sand Producers Association of SA (ASPASA), which says the SA mining industry is on the brink of catastrophe if immediate action isn’t taken. “Illegal mining puts undue pressure on surface mining companies that are already under pressure due to regulatory, economic and spiralling input costs on their mines. In contrast, illegal miners seem to operate with impunity above the law and bypass regulations to undercut the pricing of legitimate miners,” says ASPASA director Nico Pienaar. This, he says, is unsustainable and has led to the demise of many of the smaller and more marginal mines. Of huge concern is the increasing violence of mine invaders and gangsters, who are even kidnapping mine managers’ wives and demanding massive ransoms. Killings and threats are becoming the order of the day, and require urgent attention. “We are asking our members and other mines to contact us with information about the situation in their areas. The information will be used to create a field report, which will provide insights on the prevalent trends (including criminals’ modus operandi), the economic impact and the effectiveness of law enforcement efforts. This may be submitted to us to enable authorities to develop strategies on how to deal with the issue of illegal mining.”

Nico Pienaar.





The vulnerability of South Africa’s primary road network to severe flooding and climate change-related incidents has been thrust into the public domain in recent months, notably via the devastating floods in KwaZulu-Natal. There’s a clear need to make the country’s road network more resilient to climate stress factors, such as flooding and extreme temperatures, says Solomon Kganyago, COO of the Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concessionaire. “This can be primarily achieved through comprehensive maintenance to extend the lifespan of road networks that were built many decades ago. We need to adapt to materials and construction methods that are in line with countries experiencing similar weather patterns,” he says. “If this is not done in a planned and pro-active manner, the climate will continue to cause substantial disruptions to transport networks and lead to soaring costs for future repairs and rehabilitation of vital road arteries.” Early and preventive action saves both money and lives in the long run. If the road network is not adequately maintained, the costs will eventually accrue to the entire economy. Regular maintenance and timeous upgrades of roads have a multiplying effect on downstream economic activities. “What is needed is a national approach to coordinate ongoing research of new materials and innovative construction methods that can mitigate the impact of adverse weather conditions on roads. We believe the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research can play a leading role in this regard, in collaboration with the Department of Transport,” says Kganyago.


A significant new development in AECI Mining Explosives’ product offering is the development of its Powergel X² range, designed for surface mining applications where extreme blasting conditions such as hot blast holes and reactive ground, or a combination of both, exist. *Only available in certain regions.




40 years of going from strength to strength

With 40 years of history behind it, Invincible Valves continues to grow, investing in new facilities and technologies as part of its ongoing evolution to become the ultimate one-stop shop of choice

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By Rodney Weidemann


t takes guts, application, hard work and skilled employees to enable a business to last for decades. Having been in the industry for 40 years, Invincible Valves certainly has its share of such qualities, notes managing director Pam du Plessis. She says the company was launched in 1982 as a reconditioning business, but has evolved significantly since then, growing into a leading supplier of local and imported valves and accessories for multiple sectors. “As an approved supplier to all major industries within South Africa, we maintain expertise and experience across a broad spectrum of industries and applications, along with a wide range of products. In fact, Invincible Valves is Africa’s largest stockist of Saunders and Insamcor products,” she says. “In addition, the company offers a comprehensive range of local and imported valves and accessories for the mining, petro-chemical, power generation, water, sewage and general industries. This is further supported by the business having agents placed in all major centres around the country, as well as servicing all four corners of the globe.” Having long operated out of facilities in Knights, Germiston, Invincible Valves has crafted a reputation for quality and delivery, says Du Plessis. The business is recognised as the key in-house rubber lining service for the valves, pipes and fittings used by many of the current South African valve manufacturers. It




Hall 9 Stand No. E10

Visit Invincible Valves at Electra Mining also provides a complete service, repair and reconditioning offering for all types of valves.


“We are particularly excited about the new facility we recently acquired, also in Knights, which will be developed into a bigger and better reconditioning and rubber lining facility. The original offices will now house only stock. “The improved space will enable us to add more stock to our floor as well, making it more accessible to the industry by being able to offer quicker turnaround times.” This new facility is part of Invincible Valves’ ongoing evolution in its quest to be the ultimate one-stop shop of choice

for customers around the globe. In addition, says Du Plessis, the company has diversified, moving with the times to meet its clients’ unique demands and specialised requirements. She says when it comes to project-based work, this isn’t limited to the supply of valves and ancillary products, but encompasses pumps and other related products as well. “As one of the largest stockists of valves in the country, we are able to service industry efficiently and effectively. We continue to reinvest in stock, thereby continually increasing our range, while also keeping larger quantities of ‘fast movers’ in order to immediately satisfy customer needs,” > she says.


“ “We believe in treating our customers with respect, while continuously growing the business through creativity, invention and innovation. Moreover, we integrate honesty, integrity and business ethics into all aspects of our business functioning, while crafting long-term relationships with our customers and clients. In this way, we can provide exceptional customer service, while at the same time delivering quality, innovation and advanced technology.” New technology is currently being introduced to streamline Invincible Valves’ efficiency in quoting and generating bills of material. This is a really exciting time, suggests Du Plessis, because – as a selfconfessed techno-junkie – she says she has always dreamt of these kinds of tools being implemented to assist the team in becoming more efficient and being able to streamline its processes. “The implementation of this new technology – which includes not only the latest upgrade for the IT infrastructure, but also custom-made software – will enable Invincible Valves to provide faster quotations to all its customers.”


“While Invincible Valves offers a wide range of high-end valves and ancillary products, it is also its customer service that has earned




the business its stellar reputation within the industry. We are recognised for our commitment to offering training, after-sales service and maintenance to our clients.” She points out that with agents around the globe, and specifically in Africa, Invincible Valves engages, vets and then extends its knowledge, to ensure top-class agencies for the brand. Furthermore, as a past winner for both Africa and the Southern African Development Community of the award for Africa’s most influential woman in business in the engineering sector, Du Plessis is passionate about empowering women and enabling female-owned businesses in Africa. She says Invincible Valves places great emphasis on creating opportunities for both men and women from surrounding communities in those regions where they either have or are developing agencies. In fact there’s a training centre at the organisation’s main offices. This uses the latest media to train not only the company’s own teams, but also students who come to the company through learnerships, as well as entrepreneurs and selected agencies. “At Invincible, we welcome interns, because from our point of view, they offer a complete generational mind shift and thus offer us exciting ideas, new thoughts and crazy concepts.

As one of the largest stockists of valves in the country, we are able to service industry efficiently and effectively. – Du Plessis

Training is essential.

“So we benefit from their input, and at the same time we teach them about the company culture and educate them in other skills as well. This creates a positive give and take, enabling them to discover what they are most passionate about. “As we move into the post-COVID era, Invincible Valves is excited to be showcasing its product range and solutions – in person – at the Electra Mining event in September of this year. We will offer visitors a hands-on introduction to valves and other products in our scope of supply, as well as celebrating our 40th birthday. “Also, in line with our focus on developing the next generation of skills, we will be offering a bursary to one student within the engineering sector,” she says. ■

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Partner and Carma Rossouw, Candidate Attorney at Webber Wentzel

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he recent enactment of the National Environmental Management Amendment Act IV (NEMLA IV) will introduce changes to the rectification process, detailed in section 24G of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) and section 22A of the Air Quality Act. The rectification provisions of NEMA have a sordid history. They have been abused by some developers in the past, even though such applications are risky, given that they are the subject of an administrative fine and do not limit the risk to the contraveners of being prosecuted for the underlying criminal offence. Section 24G gives contraveners of NEMA and the Waste Act the opportunity to apply for after-the-fact rectification of the unlawful commencement or continuation of listed activities under NEMA and the Waste Act. The legislature amended section 24G in 2008 and 2013 respectively to tighten the risk associated with these applications and deter the abuse of these provisions. The most recent proposed changes to section 24G by NEMLA IV follow the same trend. In terms of NEMLA IV, it is proposed that the applicable competent authority must – as opposed to may – direct the contravener to immediately cease its unlawful activities, pending a decision on the rectification application, except if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the cessation will result in serious harm to the environment. This small




change in wording may appear insignificant, but the stoppage of a contravener’s operations may have an enormous, if not disastrous, financial effect on its business. When multimillion-rand projects are at stake, the stoppage of operations (either in construction or operation) could cause costs to skyrocket. Developers would therefore be wise to conduct proper due diligences to check what authorisations are needed for a project and then ensure that the applications that they submit are robust and cover all listed activities required. NEMLA IV will also require contraveners to undertake appropriate public participation to bring their unlawful conduct to the attention of interested and affected parties and give them a reasonable opportunity to comment on the application. These proposed amendments are in line with the legislature’s intention to tighten the rectification process. NEMLA IV will extend the scope of section 24G rectification applications. “Successors in title” and “persons in control” of land on which a listed activity under NEMA or the Waste Act has been unlawfully commenced will be permitted to submit a rectification application. Currently only the guilty person who carried out the unlawful activity without the required environmental authorisation or waste management licence can apply. The proposed changes will empower successors in title, such as the purchaser of a business, to

The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect SA Mining’s editorial policy.

The NEMLA Bill finally became an act on 24 June 2022, and will introduce a major shift in South Africa’s environmental legislation on a date to be fixed and proclaimed by the president

“ Innocent successors will remain vulnerable to having operations shut down while the rectification application is being processed. – Rapson and Rossouw

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clean up any historic irregularities it may have inherited from the previous owner. Unfortunately, this imminent amendment does not incentivise innocent successors in title to clean up someone else’s unlawful conduct. Innocent successors will remain vulnerable to having operations shut down while the rectification application is being processed (which seems unfair) and to paying administrative fines. It is unfortunate that exemptions were not included in NEMLA IV for successors, to encourage clean-up operations. The maximum administrative fine will also be increased from R5-million to R10m. NEMLA IV proposes to overhaul section 22A of the Air Quality Act in the same way as described above, for listed activities under the Air Quality Act. Notably, however, it has not extended the scope of section 22A applications to include “successors in title” and “persons in control” of land. Nonetheless, the largely welcome changes to be introduced by NEMLA IV to NEMA section 24G, and the Air Quality Act section 22A, demonstrate the continuing efforts of the Legislature to tighten the rectification process to combat abuse. n



DRIVE SUSTAINABILITY INITIATIVES As the mining sector faces a growing need to decarbonise, many organisations are implementing renewable solutions, paving the way for a net-zero future By Benjamin van der Veen


he goal to reach a net-zero level of emissions by 2050, and the phasing down of the use of and reliance on coal and other inefficient fossil fuels, calls for significant changes in South Africa’s mining sector. While these changes may have seemed difficult, Demetrios Papathanasiou, global director for energy and extractives: international practice at the World Bank, says achieving net zero as quickly as possible is imperative to avoid the effects of climate change – which could be devastating to the continent. “The solution is to find more ways to collaborate between the government, the private sector and the financiers,” he notes. There are certainly major efforts being made by some of the big mining companies. Harmony Gold and Anglo American seem to have no problem in finding solutions and funding to accelerate the local mining sector to a net-zero and sustainable future.


Earlier this year, Harmony Gold announced that it had concluded a new syndicated multi-tranche, multi-currency loan facility aimed at sustainable development, as well as a power purchase agreement facilitating Phase 1 (30MW) of its renewable solar photovoltaic (PV) energy initiative. This first phase of Harmony’s renewable energy journey consists of a 30MW solar energy plant in the Free State. In Phase 2, the company will build an additional 137MW of renewable energy at various longer-life mines, while Phase 3 is in the planning stage and, according to the organisation, progressing as anticipated. Harmony expects Phase 2 of its renewable energy project to deliver over R500-million per annum in electricity cost savings, once it reaches total production in FY25. Phase 1 of Harmony’s decarbonisation strategy will see an independent power producer construct three PV plants that will in total provide the 30MW capacity. They will

South African mines will have access to a reliable supply of energy, without having to stop operations during load shedding. – Lane




deliver more than 68GWh of clean power to Harmony’s Free State operations, mitigating 65 000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in their first 12 months. In total, 1.3TWh of clean energy are expected to be delivered over their 20-year lifespan. The solar plant projects were jointly developed by Harmony, alongside Energy Group, a specialist adviser and investor in industrial clean energy projects in Southern Africa, and BBEnergy – a South African engineering company specialising in solving complex engineering problems in the energy and water fields. The project was funded by a project finance debt solution from Rand Merchant Bank, with the support of African Clean Energy Developments, equity-funded by African Infrastructure Investment Managers and Mahlako Energy Fund. The plants rank among the most prominent solar PV plants for private offtake in South Africa to date, and the first energy is expected to flow from the plants in March 2023.


To further understand the impact of this solar plant project, Andrew Lane, Energy, Resources and Industrials leader at Deloitte Africa, explains three significant benefits that mines will experience when using solar PV plants: “The first benefit … is the reduction > of the mine’s carbon footprint. In addition,

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■ ■ ■ ■ ■

they should also experience lower operating costs. Lastly – in the context of South African mines – they will have access to a reliable supply of energy, without having to stop operations during load shedding.” Harmony isn’t the only major mining group to announce renewable energy plans this year. Anglo American announced it had partnered with EDF Renewables to secure a 100% renewable energy supply for its South African operations. Anglo American signed a memorandum of understanding with EDF Renewables to work together towards developing a regional renewable energy ecosystem (RREE). The ecosystem is expected to meet Anglo American’s operational electricity requirements in South Africa through the supply of 100% renewable electricity by 2030, thereby supporting the resilience of the local electricity supply systems and the broader decarbonisation of energy in the country. The company has already secured 100% renewable electricity supply for all its




operations in South America, resulting in 56% of our global grid supply expected to be sourced from renewables by 2023. In South Africa, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are abundant, but there is a limited renewable infrastructure to harness them. This partnership with EDF Renewables is designed to lessen its current grid supply in South Africa, the largest single source of its Scope 2 emissions. The RREE aims to support South Africa’s decarbonisation ambitions and the country’s Just Energy Transition, creating a sustainable and inclusive future. Furthermore, the RREE will draw on South Africa’s natural renewable energy potential to develop a network of on-site and off-site solar and wind farms, among other opportunities, offering 24/7 renewable energy to Anglo American operations. Anglo American anticipates that several partners will provide equity financing for the RREE, and the RREE attracting debt financing typical for high-quality energy infrastructure projects.

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In South Africa, the Department of Science and Innovation and the South African National Energy Development Institute, in partnership with Anglo American, Bambili Energy, and ENGIE, are looking into opportunities to create a Hydrogen Valley. It will stretch approximately 835km from the platinum group metalsrich Bushveld geological area in Limpopo, along the industrial and commercial corridor to Johannesburg and the South Coast to Durban. A feasibility study for South Africa’s Hydrogen Valley published in October 2021 identifies three hubs: Johannesburg, extending to Rustenburg and Pretoria. Durban, encompassing the city itself and Richards Bay. Limpopo province centred around Anglo American’s Mogalakwena platinum group metals mine. These hubs will have a fundamental role in integrating hydrogen into South Africa’s economy and establishing South Africa and its abundant renewable energy resources as a strategically important centre for green hydrogen production. Nine key pilot projects have also been identified across these hubs and are recommended to be prioritised by developers. They span the transport, industrial and construction sectors.

The partnership is expected to bring several benefits to South Africa and the region, including: ■ Implementing 3-5GW of renewable electricity (solar and wind) and storage over the next decade, thereby increasing total grid supply resilience. ■ Supporting the decarbonisation initiatives of governments across Southern Africa. ■ Stimulating the development of new economic sectors, local production and supply chains. > ■ Furthering decarbonisation aims.

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The Anglo American project will contribute to the country’s energy ambition towards furthering the development of decarbonised energy. – Bensasson

As Mark Cutifani, chief executive of Anglo American, notes: “We are targeting carbon neutrality across our operations by 2040 and we are making good progress. “The signing of this memorandum is a significant further step towards addressing our on-site energy requirements – the largest source of our operational emissions. Our partnership with EDF Renewables to address our Scope 2 footprint in South Africa complements our FutureSmart Mining™ programme’s reduction of our Scope 1 emissions through low and zero-emission technologies.” Bruno Bensasson, EDF Group senior executive vice president for Renewable Energies and chairman and CEO of EDF Renewables, adds: “The EDF Group is delighted to take a step forward with Anglo American towards this ambitious




partnership. We are committed to supporting industrial players by providing a low-carbon competitive electricity that substitutes fossil energies and improves wider social and environmental issues. “This project is also contributing to the country’s energy ambition towards furthering the development of decarbonised energy. It is in line with EDF Group’s CAP 2030 strategy, which aims to double its net renewable installed energy capacity worldwide (hydropower included) from 28GW in 2015 to 60GW in 2030.” When asked about what renewable energy was best for sustainable energy generation for daily mining operations, Deloitte’s Lane stated that solar and wind in South Africa’s climate were the most viable options. He said using hydrogen fuel cells was only a viable energy option when placed inside hybrid fuel cell vehicles.

At the recent African Mining Indaba in Cape Town, Anglo American Platinum spoke about its prototype of the world’s giant hydrogen-powered mine haul truck (see page 38/39). The truck is designed to operate in everyday mining conditions at Anglo American’s Mogalakwena platinum mine in South Africa. The technology demonstrates the sector’s commitment to the energy transition. The 2MW hydrogen-battery hybrid truck, generating more power than its diesel predecessor and capable of carrying a 290-tonne payload, is part of Anglo American’s nuGen™ Zero Emission Haulage Solution. nuGen™ provides a fully integrated green hydrogen system, consisting of a production, fuelling and haulage system, with green hydrogen to be produced at the mine site. n



There can be little doubt that the mining industry faces many economic challenges. Organisations in the industry clearly need to do all they can to reduce costs and drive greater efficiencies

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he crushing and grinding industry has, like any other sector, undergone periods of innovation, which lead to improved efficiency and improve the liberation of valuable minerals. However these processes remain highly mechanical, consume large amounts of energy and result in tremendous wear and tear. With a depressed economy, rising prices across the board, increasing inflation and political instability, organisations in the industry need to do all they can to reduce costs and drive greater efficiencies. Talking about some of the sector’s challenges, Nico Pienaar, Aggregate and Sand Producers Association of South Africa (ASPASA) director, points out that when faced with a situation where one needs to tighten the proverbial belt, common sense should prevail. “Due to staggering fuel prices the country is currently facing, we at ASPASA are advising members to think about their existing processes and how they can improve these. Stay aware of the new technologies being made available and of the improvements to current ones. “Other basic ways to save costs and reduce equipment used on-site can also be adopted, such as shortening the distance to the crusher, instead of choosing to use loaders,” he says. Leveraging various forms of green technologies and other renewable sources could also help, although it’s important to

do a proper cost-benefit analysis first, to ensure adoption of these new solutions will actually save money. Pienaar takes a similar view, pointing out that it is certainly worth considering “the benefits of these various new technologies – most especially electric and hybrid machines where these are feasible”. “In terms of green technologies, there is a definite move towards improved efficiency. Organisations are achieving this through the careful pairing of the equipment to the job at hand – cost efficiency depends on having the best and most efficient equipment for the job.” Of course, investing in new technologies, even ones designed to save costs, is something that needs to be done carefully and with due consideration. Any spend

on equipment needs to be justified, and obviously needs to be made according to the budget of the specific project. Any decision on a major investment in new technology, of course, is one that should be undertaken in consultation with the relevant experts. Pienaar notes that it is also important for mines to consider the different stages of mining and to determine the best solution. “Such a decision is usually undertaken in conjunction with the relevant equipment suppliers. These are the players who have the deep technical knowledge and requisite experience to provide sound advice. After all, when it comes down to it, all applications are different – there is no onesize-fits-all solution that will suit everybody,” he says. ■







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specialist. In the post-mining phase, there is often a need to mill a raw product down into a finer material – something that requires the installation of heavy machinery, along with the expense and skills required to keep it operational. Add to this the time, effort and cost of both the process and of the maintenance required to keep such an outfit operational, and it is easy to see why many organisations seek out a company that can process minerals for them on a toll basis. According to Andrew Wenger, CEO at African Pegmatite, toll milling services for customers are a very specialised field, requiring heavy machinery like ball mills, roller millers, hammer mills, granulators, dryers, attritors, crushers, screeners and many other pieces of equipment, depending on the material being dealt with at the time. “There are many parameters to consider when milling,” suggests Wenger, “such as hardness, nature of product, desired output size, input size, abrasiveness of the material, moisture, dry bulk density, along with numerous other factors. “At African Pegmatite, our focus is specifically on milling virtually any dark material down to size. We mill dark material only – including carbons, irons, chromes, manganese, and certain slags, among others – as our environment is specifically geared towards these darker materials.




He explains that the process of milling materials in large tonnage is not an easy thing to achieve, particularly when it comes to hard substances like the hard slags made of chrome, manganese and vanadium. African Pegmatite has thus positioned itself as a specialist for milling minerals and metals that other organisations would not want to.

Milling is a process that requires heavy machinery, lots of power, and the knowhow as well as longterm experience to deliver such volumes on a regular basis. – Wenger


he need to mill materials into a finer grade is important, as is the desire to avoid the high cost of machinery involved – hence the outsourcing of this task to a

“Remember, this is a very heavy industry with a lot of wearing parts, expensive machinery and high electrical costs. It is a process that requires massive machinery, lots of power, and the the know-how and long-term experience to deliver such volumes on a regular basis,” he says.

“Therefore, it should not be surprising to learn that we have a team of maintenance people that is almost as big as the production environment. Their role is to consistently fix, repair and prevent the machines from going down. Since the one thing we cannot do is mitigate wear – as this is essentially our core business – we put the time in to make sure we have the best technology in place to do the job most effectively and consistently.” Asked about the sustainability of an industry that consumes so much electricity from a coal-based electrical generation system, he notes that the company has now implemented two solar power projects at its plants, with the aim of producing more of its own greener electricity. “We are pleased with our growth in recent years. The company was originally heavily reliant on a single product, in a single sector, for around 70% of its business. Thanks to the team’s hard work and proactive approach, we now service five core sectors, as well as many new products, with the organisation also exporting to some 44 countries globally. “How do we differentiate ourselves? At African Pegmatite, we have over half a century of experience in the mineral processing industry and have dealt with some of the hardest materials one can mill. We also have the experience and the machinery to assist businesses with the processing of the required minerals from their raw form, in order to have them ready for the customer to add into another process further downstream,” says Wenger. ■

Specialised Milling by African Pegmatite

African Pegmatite has been at the forefront of toll milling and the grinding of all types of products since 1971. Specialising in the milling of dark materials such as iron ore, manganese, chrome, slag and many others, African Pegmatite uses stateof-the-art, in-house, custom equipment to deliver reliable results in large volumes to cater to an array of precise specifications.

With over 50 years’ experience in providing specialised milling and processing services to the mining and manufacturing sectors, African Pegmatite is a one-stop shop for highperformance industrial materials such as colourants, minerals, and a variety of compounds to customers in the brick, glass, ceramic, water filtration, solvent extraction, refractory, foundry and agricultural industries.

With its vast experience, insight and network of contacts, African Pegmatite offers the very best in quality, service and efficiency. It has been ISO 9001 accredited since 2002 and has also met the 2015 standard. The recent installation of two phases of solar electricity has lowered African Pegmatite’s costs in processing minerals, while also achieving a greener imprint in its processing systems.

With a focus on ultra-fine milling, African Pegmatite uses a highly specialised air swept classification system to perform toll milling of materials down to 98% below 45 micron and provides the ideal solution for customers requiring milling of materials between 1000 metric tons to 2000 metric tons a month.

African Pegmatite’s equipment is designed to achieve the exact specifications of each customer, in the most efficient and accurate way. Specialised machinery used by African Pegmatite for toll milling include ball mills, roller mills, cone crushers, roller crushers, attritor mills, vertical impact crushers, screens and drying facilities.

African Pegmatite strives to remain at the forefront of the milling industry, supplying the very best available materials to its valued customers.



LEAD THE WAY FOR MENAR COMPANIES Menar is empowering businesswomen around South Africa one supplier at a time


enar’s group of mining companies – Canyon Coal, Kangra, Zululand Anthracite Colliery (ZAC) and Sitatunga Resources’ East Manganese – strongly support the principles of inclusivity and diversity, along with women suppliers. “Local women-owned suppliers are an important part of Menar’s procurement value chains,” says Menar group procurement manager Simon Andrews. He notes in particular that a key element of the mining logistics process is the hauling of coal from the mine to the nearby coal sidings, for the product to be delivered to the Richards Bay Coal Terminal, the Multi-purpose Terminal or the RBT Grindrod Terminal in Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal.


Canyon Coal works with several local, black women-owned coal haulage suppliers. These include QQS Engineers and Associates Consulting Engineers and Royal Pros Services. “This is in line with the company’s commitment to go beyond the transformation guidelines set out for the mining sector,” says Andrews, “with a strong focus on the development and empowerment of black women-owned companies, as well as youth-owned businesses.” QQS Engineers and Associates was established in 2008 by MD Lerato Mahlangu and has been transporting coal from Khanye Colliery in Bronkhorstspruit, Gauteng, since February 2021. She notes that she lived near mines and “owned a few trucks that were being used to transport goods around Gauteng, so it was a natural progression to diversify into coal transportation.” Mahlangu says companies like Canyon Coal play an important role in closing gaps between local companies and larger transportation businesses by integrating them into its supplier network. Her goal is to own a fleet of at least 20 trucks, operating across coal transportation and other sectors too.




QQS Engineers and Associates’ Lerato Mahlangu.

Mumnkosi Projects and Services’ Cynthia Nkosi.

Thanodi Spares and Stationery’s Peggy Theo.

OZT Logistics’ Zinhle Zondi .

Bronkhorstspruit resident Joyce Maite Nkosi is a director at Royal Pros Services, which has transported coal from Khanye Colliery to the Bronkhorstspruit siding since March 2020. “My husband and I established the company in 2018,” says Nkosi, who plans to grow and add more trucks. “With the opportunity given to our company by Canyon Coal, our goal will definitely be accomplished.”


Mumnkosi Projects and Services is a level 1 BEE, 100% black women-owned company located in Donkerhoek, Mpumalanga, that specialises in professional transport and construction solutions. Director Cynthia Nkosi is from the community near Kangra mine. Founded in 2014, the company has been providing cleaning, gardening and civil engineering services to Kangra since 2015. Nkosi says there are challenges in being a woman entrepreneur but it is also very rewarding. “I am committed to upskilling my employees through bursaries and sponsorships. We also support people with disabilities in Driefontein, by sponsoring

them, cutting the grass at their institutions and providing cleaning services to them free of charge.” Thanodi Spares and Stationery is a level 1 BEE, 100% black women-owned company located in Kuruman, Northern Cape, that supplies cleaning materials to East Manganese. Director Pesalema Peggy Theo established the company in 2015 and now runs two shops. “I identified a gap in the market to provide essential services, including an internet café to cater for people from the surrounding villages, as well as stationery and furniture. I am happy that East Manganese supports me as a local business,” she states. OZT Logistics is a level 1 BEE-accredited, 100% black women-owned company based in Melmoth, KwaZulu-Natal. Director Zinhle Zondi says the company provides road maintenance services and supplies water tankers to ZAC, having worked with them since 2019. She advises women entrepreneurs to stay focused at all times. “You need to be aware that even though there will be obstacles in life and business, you mustn’t lose focus. If you do, you will lose money and profits, and everything will just go downhill.” ■


PUTTING THE “HUMAN” BACK IN HUMAN RESOURCES New president of the South African Collieries Human Resources Association (SACHRA) Janine Olivier talks about improving workers’ lives and advancing the role of women in the mining sector

Janine Oliver.





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“ We should be asking how we can grow women into positions that will strengthen the organisation as a whole. – Olivier

anine Olivier took on the role of president at SACHRA at the start of July and is human resources (HR) manager at the Thungela-owned Zibulo Colliery. Thungela, the largest coal exporter in the country, was certified as a Top Employer in South Africa by the Global Top Employers’ Institute early this year. SACHRA, a forum for HR professionals in the coal mining sector, gives members an opportunity to grow in a field that is often seen as a support function. However HR has a critical strategic role to play in any organisation’s success, she says. “As HR, we’re responsible for attracting the right talent and then developing and retaining that talent so that we can take our business forward. “At the same time, we must give our people every opportunity to reach their personal and professional potential.” Added to this, she believes, positive people practices have the power to influence behavioural safety. “It’s up to us to ensure that our people can bring their best selves to work so that they can be safe and productive. Are they happy and healthy? Do they feel rewarded and that their work is meaningful? Are they responsible and accountable? And, if not, what are we as HR professionals doing about it?” During her presidency Olivier will be building on the work the mining sector has done to create an enabling environment for women. She notes that if the industry hopes to increase the participation of women, it is imperative that they are seen to occupy senior positions. “The question is no longer whether women can achieve success in mining. They’ve been doing that for years. Now it’s more about how we can grow women into positions that will strengthen the sector as a whole.

“HR has a crucial role to play here too, especially in changing gender perceptions. We need to have programmes in place to help women grow their careers, while still being able to focus on their families. While equality and parity have not yet been achieved, we have seen a tangible uptick over the last

decade; we simply need to continue on this path,” Olivier concludes. In her role at SACHRA, she’s on a drive to grow the association’s membership by attracting bright, diverse and dynamic new talent and putting a fresh new face on a body that has been serving the industry for more than 20 years. ■


IS POWER Lindiwe Nakedi.


t has often been said that women are capable of doing anything, but Lindiwe Nakedi takes this to a whole new level. She describes herself as a wife, mother, and owner/MD of Gubhani Exploration, a surface exploration diamond drilling company started in 2009. On top of this, she served as chairperson of Women in Mining South Africa in 2017 and 2018, and is now a board member and patron. Nakedi is also co-founder and director on the board of Women In Mining Business, and in 2018 she was selected as one of Top 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining by Women in Mining UK. “My husband, who was working at the time as an exploration geologist for Sasol, sparked my interest in the industry,” says Nakedi. “I loved the huge scale of mining operations, something that still fascinates me today. However, the main reason we chose to start the business was to work towards our vision, which is to make a difference in people’s lives. After all, drilling is a very lucrative business, so it enables us do that.

As the first black female to own a surface drilling company, Lindiwe Nakedi wants to be a role model for young women everywhere

“I am a very adaptable and teachable person, which is a good thing as I did not study anything mining or engineering related. Instead, I saw an opportunity to learn something about which I had no clue. This gave me the opportunity to build relationships, by accepting the fact that people would feel the need to educate me when they got the chance. This worked for me too as, after all, knowledge is power!”


Nakedi believes that there is enough room for everyone in this industry as the mining pie is large enough, referring to this mindset as an “abundance mentality”. She quotes Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People: “Have an abundance mentality – if you think and believe there is more, there will be more,” adding that this means there is no need to scramble for opportunities. “I also feel that men are now more accepting of the increasing number of women professionals and business owners in the sector, as we have proved our

knowledge, resilience and passion,” says Nakedi. “They recognise that we add value and make a positive impact in the industry, and that ultimately our purpose is the same as theirs: to help others grow.” Nakedi is firm in her belief that women need to be present in every area of the economy, in order for young women to see what is possible and feel aspirations. “I also believe that what I do isn’t just about me; I have a responsibility to the other young women who come after me. Being the first black female to own a surface drilling company is great, but it is important that other owners follow and hopefully find it a little easier to become whatever they choose. “My advice to women entering this sector is to understand that opportunities are vast if you are willing to ask questions and learn. Also, be willing to start right at the bottom, and remain committed and professional in your work ethic and attitude, as this is what will speak loudest for you,” says Nakedi. ■

Women need to be present in every area of the economy, in order for young women to see what is possible. – Nakedi

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PLUNGE Noluthando Zulu has worked her way from under the ground to the top of her own mining company

Noluthando Zulu.


wala Mining MD Noluthando Zulu was born in raised in Durban. She was not exposed to the mining industry or any mining professionals until the day, at the age of 17, when she saw a picture of Patrice Motsepe on the cover of Business Times with the headline: “Mining tycoon Motsepe now worth R8 billion”. “For the first time in my life, I saw a different image of mining compared to what I had grown up seeing on TV,” says Zulu. “It was not the miner who was living in terrible conditions in a hostel; instead I saw a person who looked like me, thriving through their participation in the industry. “The result was me considering the different careers I could follow in the mining sector, and becoming a geologist. I studied Geology at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, completing my undergraduate and honours degrees.”


Zulu started her mining career as an underground production geologist at Royal Bafokeng Platinum, where she worked her way up the ranks in the geology department.




A desire to understand the entire value chain and the business of mining saw her transition into the financial sector, as an equity analyst covering mining equities. “I spent the bulk of my career in the financial sector at the Public Investment Corporation, as part of a team managing the listed mining fund. I was honoured to be given the opportunity to work as an executive assistant to the group director of Anglo American South Africa for two years, before taking the plunge and following my dream: to be a well-rounded leader of my own organisation. Today I am the MD of Dwala Mining, a junior mining and services business established in 2014 with my business partner, Nompilo Sindane.”


Asked what unique attributes she thinks women bring to the industry, Zulu says that while she can’t speak for others, she believes her relationship-building and networking skills have assisted her greatly in winning people over and getting them to buy into a common goal. “Focusing on people’s humanity, by simply greeting with a warm smile and giving a big congratulations and

thank you when they have done well, or gone above and beyond what is required, was my ‘superpower’ when managing people underground.” Zulu believes that the mining industry is better thanks to the inclusion of women. She hopes that through their engagement with female peers, men in mining will recognise that women are intelligent, strong and competent. “With Dwala Mining, Nompilo and I were two young female geologists who took a leap of faith after 10 years of building careers within the mining industry. I hope our story of courage and self-belief inspires young women to believe in themselves and grab the opportunities that lie before them in the same manner we did. “To young women, I say: There is no industry that is reserved for men and there are no rooms where women don’t belong. We have to educate and equip ourselves with the relevant skills, search for opportunities and take advantage of all the amazing local pro-women policies. In the end, the pie is massive, and we as women need to get involved and take our share,” she says. ■


While seeing women engineers still surprises some people, Saryx Engineering Group CEO Ingrid Osborne is doing her best to destroy stereotypes

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ngrid Osborne briefly worked for a boss following her graduation, but it wasn’t long before she founded Saryx Engineering Group with Julie Mathieson – her long-time friend and business partner. “Julie and I wanted to create a version of a company that we would be proud of, that suited working women, especially in the engineering world. A business that was perhaps aware and cognisant of the challenges that working parents face when trying to build a career, while also being a present parent,” she says. An electronic engineer by trade, Osborne studied for her Bachelor of Electronic Engineering at the University of Stellenbosch, and did her Honours at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. “Julie and I have always had very similar ideas on where we would like to go, and the financial challenges that engineering projects come with. It can be a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Creating our own internal suite of products provided much-needed stability and continuity. The success of these solutions can be measured by the fact that it is available in 14 countries, and Saryx is in the process of expanding the business into the United States.” She is not one for grouping women together with stereotypical attributes, suggesting instead that each individual has their own set of attributes. Nonetheless, , she believes the inclusion of women powerfully changes the conversation. “With anything, the moment you have someone different in the conversation, it changes the discussion and provides a different perspective. And this is very important when it comes to engineering. All engineers, simply stated, are professional problem solvers – so having new ideas and alternative perspectives is critical for innovation and problem solving.” Perceptions of women in engineering haven’t really changed all that much, she says, even though there are no barriers to women studying engineering. Many men and women still seem surprised when a woman declares that she is an engineer.

I believe that the inclusion of women powerfully changes the conversation. – Osborne She points to studies, including one by ResearchGate, in which professors evaluated the application of an undergraduate science student who was applying for a science manager position. The only difference in the application was that the gender of the applicant was changed. Professors of either gender judged a female student to be less competent and less worthy of being hired than the identical male student, and also offered her a smaller starting salary and less career mentoring. It is these perceptions that need to be changed, says Osborne. “So I guess seeing women succeed in the engineering world starts to change these biases we have, and hopefully will start to encourage women to enter into engineering with confidence and certainty. It’s always

good if you can see someone else like you has succeeded already, as it makes it easier to believe that you can too – and you can!” And what words of advice would she offer women considering a career in this field? “It takes hard work. The course is tough and takes dedication and grit, so engineering must be something you really want to do. It is still a male-dominated industry, but that’s okay – there are plenty of male engineers who are great to work with; and in all honesty, your attitude will determine your work experiences. “Most importantly, make it something you love. You will spend an extraordinary amount of time at work, and you need to love what you do in order to stay in the industry,” she says. ■





DETAIL-ORIENTED, RESILIENT AND INVESTED IN RELATIONSHIPS Chantal Murdock, law firm NSDV’s Mining Regulatory Compliance director, believes that women need to embrace their own strengths


hantal Murdock’s career started at C Bekker and Associates, where she believes she received “the best legal training any candidate attorney could ask for”. Her principal entrusted her to help him with a few disputes relating to mining rights granted under the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act – and her fascination with mining began. “Once I completed my articles and practised as an attorney for a short while, I joined the late Kevin Pietersen at his own niche firm (Pietersen Inc.), which specialised in mining and commercial law. Kevin gave me an opportunity to join the Hogan Lovells mining department.” She enjoyed mining law “because it touches so many facets of the law and is always developing”. She spent five years at Hogan Lovells before “hearing about the waves that NSDV was making in the industry. The rest, as they say, is history”. “I started in March 2020 with NSDV as a senior associate in the mining team. I was incredibly nervous as I was completely unsure of myself. But director Lili Nupen was

so supportive of me (even when the world went into lockdown) and kept motivating me to embrace my career and the experiences that I had been so fortunate to have had. Under her guidance and leadership I have grown tremendously in confidence (and I believe, ability too), having been promoted to director last year.” As a director in the mining team, she says her current role centres around reviewing associates’ work, training, managing workflow and engaging with clients. It carries with it great responsibility, but is very satisfying and rewarding, she says. “I am detail-oriented, resilient and deeply invested in my relationships with people. This has not only helped me to remain openminded and adaptable to change, but has also taught me to be ‘mentally tough’ and keep going until I get the necessary results – something which I believe transcends gender prejudice. “I am testament to the fact that women (and men) supporting women has definitely assisted the legal industry over the past few years in making substantial progress in closing the gap between genders in the legal

I am testament to the fact that women (and men) supporting women has definitely assisted the legal industry over the past few years. – Murdock




Chantal Murdock.

industry. There is, however, still significant gender prejudice against women in mining at an operational level.” She notes that the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy has recognised this, and has indicated that it’s in the process of drafting a mining sector Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Strategy. “This is an opportunity for a me as a female lawyer to encourage other young women, by assisting them in engaging and commenting on the strategy, so that it can be developed to cater specifically for our needs. “If I were to offer a word of advice to women either seeking a career in, or wanting to join, the mining industry, here it is: although there will be challenges, embrace and nurture your own strengths as a woman – and don’t take ‘no’ for an answer.” ■



Two new technologies entering the market are designed to make blasting less dangerous By Benjamin van der Veen


afety and good fragmentation are two parameters of principal significance in any blasting process, says Ashlin Pillay, Initiating Systems product manager at AECI Mining Explosives. “By introducing an increased level of autonomy to the blast hole tagging process, a global positioning system enables faster blast deployment, greater accuracy and increased efficiency. The significance to the customer is improved safety and fragmentation. “Uniform fragmentation to the customer’s desired size contributes massively to efficient blasting and offers increased efficiency throughout the beneficiation process,” he says. These words set the stage for some of the most recent innovations and developments in blasting and explosive technology. Both AECI and Omnia’s BME have developed and released cutting-edge technologies that will ensure that blasting in both large and small mines is safer and more accurate, resulting in sustainable and efficient mining. This feature looks at AECI’s PowerBoost technology and Omnia’s BME AXXISS Titanium™.


AECI Mining Explosives has launched its new PowerBoost booster. PowerBoost is described as a global industry first, something that will transform the explosives sector, due to its use of non-explosive raw materials in its manufacture. “Moving away from conventional industry practices of combining explosives mixtures of PETN, TNT and/or RDX in the manufacture of explosives boosters, AECI’s new PowerBoost booster creates a powerful booster from nonexplosive raw materials,” says Hazel Bomba, AECI Mining Explosives product manager. “We have been working on developing the PowerBoost booster for some time, with a keen objective to commercialise alternative technologies to meet the growing market demand for boosters worldwide.” PowerBoost technology pivots away from the industry norm by eliminating the use, management, handling and storage of traditionally used explosives-based mixtures, which come with high costs in regulatory and legislative obligations. “We’ve managed to successfully introduce a simplified, safer manner of manufacturing boosters, while still providing a premium offering to the market,” she adds.

An ongoing concern within the global mining explosives industry is the risk inherent in storing and transporting bulk explosive material. Paramount to AECI Mining’s vision is an acute focus on rendering the explosives value chain safer. The PowerBoost technology contributes to this quest, explicitly enhancing the safety surrounding the manufacture of explosives. Additionally, decoupling the booster raw materials from the established supply chains for global TNT and PETN has strengthened AECI’s ability to supply boosters into the market.


Safe and efficient blasting has taken a leap forward with BME’s launch of AXXIS Titanium™, one of the world’s most advanced electronic blast detonation systems. BME managing director for the Southern African Development Community Ralf Hennecke has hailed the solution as a significant advance for the company’s everevolving technology offering, securing BME’s position among the leaders in electronic delay detonator design. “The new release raises the bar globally > for the electronic detonator market,” says








further refinements in safety, accuracy, flexibility, ease of use and speed in preparing each blast.”


Safety remains the watchword, incorporating a Swiss-designed application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chip in the BME detonators, delivering several benefits. The ASIC gives the system more internal safety gates against stray current and lightning, enhancing safety levels and allowing for safe logging and testing. “A unique innovation is the use of dual capacitors and dual voltage, allowing us to conduct low voltage logging, to avoid any chance of detonation. Blasts are initiated by a robust and encrypted blast command, ensuring that detonators receive their respective commands and fire as planned.” He emphasises further that the detonator will only react if it receives the correct, encrypted firing sequence from the blasting equipment, not from any other source. “We have developed AXXIS Titanium™ to be resistant to electro-magnetic pulses (EMPs) caused by the blast, which can affect the accuracy of detonators or even cause them to fail,” he says. “Intensive tests in conjunction with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research have shown that our detonators can withstand a significant EMP

“ Blasts are initiated by a robust and encrypted blast command, ensuring that detonators receive their respective commands and fire as planned.

– Brits

Hennecke. “This flagship product reflects our continued focus on digital advancement on mines, and is designed to seamlessly integrate with BME’s software systems and handheld digital tools.” AXXIS Titanium™ improves safety levels and manufacturing quality through enhanced communication with the detonator during manufacturing, to avoid defects. Performance is raised through the increased blast duration per detonator, more units per blasting box and precise firing accuracy. “Most importantly, the system was built for the blaster and blast engineers who work with the product every day,” he notes. “The robustness of the wire, the easy-to-use interface and the improved integration will improve efficiency in terms of time, data and reporting.” As the latest generation of BME’s popular and well-proven AXXIS system, Titanium™ takes blasting safety and flexibility to a new level, according to Tinus Brits, BME’s global product manager for AXXIS. The company has, over the decades, made regular advances in the performance, safety and reliability of this innovative solution, he says. “This latest iteration builds on the achievements of the AXXIS GII™ model and improves many of the features that have served our customers so well. These include

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PowerBoost pivots away from the industry norm by eliminating the use, management, handling and storage of traditionally used explosivesbased mixtures. – Bomba

without any impact on their timing.” The accuracy of the detonation delays has been further fine-tuned, he continues, reaching a 0.02% firing accuracy for consistent and quality blasting that results in better rock fragmentation and consistency. He highlights the positive impact this has on the efficiency of crucial mine measurables like loading rates and crusher throughput. “This in turn helps mines improve their carbon footprints as they pursue increasingly vital sustainability targets,” says Brits. “In this way, BME’s technology innovation is closely aligned with the Omnia Group’s ongoing focus on sustainability, which prioritises zero harm and positive impact to build a better future.” ■

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EXPLOSIVE OPPORTUNITIES for Africa and women in mining


naex Africa is making waves on the continent – not only with its innovative technology that is transforming the mining industry, but also with its passion and drive to empower female employees. Enaex Africa is one of the largest explosives companies in Southern Africa. It’s focused on the mining industry and is a subsidiary of Enaex Group – one of the top three leading mining explosives companies in the world. It has introduced innovative technologies that are helping the local mining industry to increase efficiency and improve safety. Enaex was founded more than 100 years ago in 1920, and is part of a large, dynamic Chilean conglomerate with a strong longterm investment approach, called Sigdo Koppers Group. Enaex manufactures and supplies explosives to the mining industry and provides premium blasting services to prominent mining companies around the world. As part of its global growth and development strategy, the company identified Africa as a key mining region that forms a strategic pillar in the success of its global expansion plan. South Africa was chosen as the most relevant country to establish this new development as the




gateway to starting operations in Africa. In parallel, during 2017, Sasol South Africa commenced with a detailed asset review to ensure all assets in the company’s global portfolio delivered against stringent financial metrics and were aligned with the company’s growth strategy. In line with this review, Sasol’s explosives business was identified as having substantial growth potential that could be unlocked

through collaboration opportunities, including the possibility of partnering with a world-class explosives brand. This strategic opportunity was identified and enabled by a team led by Enaex Africa’s CEO, Francisco Baudrand. In June 2019, after a robust evaluation process and successful identification of an explosive partnership opportunity by Baudrand, the organisation was selected as

“ Enaex’s operations focus on protecting the environment and the people on the ground.

AFRICAN EXPANSION Enaex Africa has grown its operations in: ■ South Africa ■ Namibia ■ Lesotho ■ Botswana

Francisco Baudrand, CEO of Enaex Africa

the preferred strategic partner to create a world-class explosives business in Africa. In July 2020, Enaex Africa commenced operations as the majority shareholder and controlling partner. The current shareholding includes Enaex with 51% of the shares, Sasol South Africa with 23%, and Afris, as a BBBEE partner, with 26%.


Enaex Africa has quickly expanded operations in South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Botswana, with deliberate targeted and successful growth strategies, and aims to grow further in the short term in other regions and countries on the continent. It has stayed

true to its roots, having shared the culture and essence of the Enaex Group. The local entity is changing the way the mining industry looks at its workforces, placing the people at its core. Enaex Africa is driven by the principle Baudrand lives by – to humanise mining and to empower individuals, especially women, in the industry. The mining sector has always been a tough industry. Therefore it has become increasingly important to protect customers and employees. The group has developed its own fully teleoperated blasting solutions, which Enaex Africa is determined on implementing in South Africa and across the rest of the

continent. It’s the first blasting company in the world to conduct teleoperations in the explosives industry. This exciting and innovative breakthrough for the blasting industry took place inside an Anglo American mine in Chile. Enaex has also executed the first ever trial on teleoperations in an underground mine. This strategic and innovative approach has been the first step in humanising mining, by ensuring that people can be removed from the first line risk in the blasting process. The first hi-tech electronic detonator assembly plant will be launched in South Africa in late 2022, allowing local manufacturing instead of imported electronic initiation systems. This expansion is focused on implementing the safety value of “LIFE” in each process. It will reduce costs and offer a faster and more competitive route to African markets. >






The company sees itself as the vehicle of growth for the whole continent, one that is successfully being driven by the CEO, who has a desire to empower Enaex’s people. To do this, they are given the necessary resources required to grow and upskill themselves. This has been the pinnacle of Enaex Africa’s journey, as Baudrand is focused on enabling young professionals to be promoted and placed in more important roles within the organisation where they can make an impact and be challenged. With Baudrand’s passion to empower employees, special focus has been placed on young women in the mining industry. Baudrand and the Enaex Team have implemented a training programme that aims to hire newly graduated female mining engineers. This allows them to take supervisor-level roles in a short space of time, facilitating women’s representation in operations in the mining service industry. “I have a passion for the growth and development of our people, putting special




Enaex Africa took on the challenge of implementing its safety value – “Our Priority is LIFE” – in the organisation, encouraging a safe way of life in the workplace and at home. The value is visible in all actions and procedures of the business, including its ambitions to bring teleoperated trucks and robotics to SA, and to implement further safety measures through new innovative technologies.

It is vital to upskill young professionals – especially women – in this industry. focus on women within the industry, so they can take the lead on gender equality, through time, in the mining sector,” he says. Baudrand’s achievements are based on his own personal values: to impact and change the lives of others. As CEO, he has guided the implementation of a corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme that focuses on people, and on giving them the opportunity to empower themselves. He is dedicated to implementing an early childhood development programme that will focus on holistic assistance through infrastructure development, teacher training and educational delivery improvement. This will upskill young people, and prepare them

to contribute positively to society, offering the next generation opportunities to enhance both their futures and the lives of their families. Through such CSR initiatives, Enaex Africa has been able to support the fence line communities that surround the mining areas. It is the company’s ultimate vision to become the leading provider of mining explosives in Africa, while at the same time being a driving force in upskilling young professionals – especially women – in mining. Its safety-first values ensure that operations are dedicated to protecting both the environment and the people on the ground – through teleoperations, upskilling and empowerment. n





adapting to the prevailing conditions. Furthermore, notes John Martin, VP: Southern Africa at Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group, the perennial challenge of finding and maintaining access to best cost-per-hour performing tyres for the mining application remains a never-ending pursuit. “Testing and proving new and alternative products or new technology should still be a standard procedure on any mine. It serves as a means to identify opportunities to positively contribute on an ongoing basis, in a manner that’s aligned with the mine’s tyre management strategy,” he says.

A full service tyre offering positively impacts cash flow and dilutes operational risk.


yres are vital to mine operations, and obtaining the toughest, most appropriate, most sustainable tyres plays a major role in both cost and ESG considerations. There are many pressing mining challenges that organisations face across the various stages of tyre life. First it’s important to have access to a selection of brands, as well as understand the compound specification of the range of tyres available on the market, in order to start with a tyre that has a reasonably good probability of

“There are also ongoing operational decisions as to what tyres to repair, and when to repair them, as well as considering the possibility of retreading off-the-road (OTR) tyres, and the value that these lifeextending decisions and actions can bring.” Throughout the lifetime of the tyre, adds Martin, mine owners will be mindful of their respective commitments to environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. This will drive decision making as to how best to deal with their tyres throughout their operational life cycle, as well as the tough decisions around how to deal with end-of-life tyres, and how these tyres are disposed of in an ethical manner. “From a Kal Tire perspective, we have access to the performance data of many thousands of tyres and can therefore best advise in the initial stages of mine > planning and development as to what







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Innovation remains a core function of the group. tyre has the best chance of succeeding in the environment. We also maintain close relationships with all significant tyre manufacturers, as a means to access new products and technology that can potentially benefit such mining operations.” Explaining what a full-service offering means, he says it’s the ability to provide a range of all-encompassing services, starting at the point where a tyre leaves the manufacturing unit, through to the ethical recycling of the carcass at the very end of the useful life of the tyre. The service is initialised with optimised planning and forecasting of tyre-related products, as a means to positively impact on customers’ cash flow, as well as diluting operational risk, specifically in remote operations in Africa. “A comprehensive tyre-management strategy needs to be agreed between a mine and its service provider, with key performance indicators, which could include maximising mine operational performance and/or minimising tyre costs. Management systems should then be comprehensive in their capability to capture every aspect of the tyre’s life, including repairs, retreading and all related cost and performance data,” Martin says.


Once the tyre has fully contributed to the defined strategy, and has exhausted all opportunities for repair or retreading, it can be retired for recycling. As part of its services, where a Kal Tire recycling plant has been established, tyres can be recycled in an ethical manner, further contributing to the circular economy and supplementing the customer’s ESG targets.




“It’s important to note that risk is present in many forms for any mining operation. However, one way that Kal Tire can contribute to minimising its customers’ risk profiles is through providing highly competent OTR tyre-management specialists,” he says, adding that Africa has a shortage of skills for the growing mining footprint on the continent. “To this end, Kal Tire’s Learning Management System is a standardised training system that is fully aligned and endorsed by the Tire Industry Association (TIA), which is used to develop team members to a consistent global standard, and can be applied in any mining operation with confidence.” A core component of Kal Tire’s service strategy is to ensure that the customer extracts the maximum potential value from all tyres used on site. This philosophy on its own is a means to reduce the carbon footprint of the client, as fewer tyres are used during the course of the mine life. This combined with repairs and retreading can significantly contribute to reducing the carbon footprint. “For Kal Tire, safety and sustainability are interdependent concepts that are applied throughout the company, as part of the service offering to its customer base. One aspect of sustainability is evident in its local employment policies, where Kal Tire employs – as much as is practically possible – from local communities in and around customers’ operations,” he says. “These team members are trained in a managed and measured fashion, of which health and safety training is inextricably intertwined in all the training modules, creating a sustainable skills development

■ ■

Gravity Assist System (GAS) – designed to support heavy tools like torque guns, reducing muscle strain and fatigue. Ultra Repair™ technology – enables repairs to OTR tyre injuries that would otherwise be scrapped. Tire Operations Management System (TOMS) – innovative technology providing on-site realtime decision making capabilities.

John Martin.

platform from which both competence and safe working practices can be honed. Customers can therefore benefit from using our team members, who in turn contribute to customers’ ESG commitments.” There is only one globally recognised authority for safe work practices and training, continues Martin. This is the United States-based TIA, of which Kal Tire has been a member of good standing for almost 20 years. This has allowed Kal Tire to bring world-class OTR management standards, including safe work practices and globally consistent training standards, to all local markets in Africa and around the globe. “Innovation remains a core function within Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group, and all our innovations are recognised as contributing positively to both safety and productivity, while improving the cost efficiency of customers’ operations.” ■

Expect more sustainability

Solving the challenge of scrap tyres in a way that’s ethical and sustainable could be around the corner for Southern Africa. After opening a thermal conversion OTR tyre recycling facility in Chile that converts scrap tyres into its base elements, Kal Tire hopes to bring this scalable solution to other regions.


ARE ZERO EMISSION TRUCKS THE FUTURE OF SUSTAINABLE MINING? Power-agnostic trucks, massive, hydrogenpowered haulers and other unique innovations are paving the way for a green future

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By Rodney Weidemann


he drive towards sustainability in the mining industry is gaining pace, as the reality of climate change hits home. Several proposed ideas to reduce emissions in large mine haul trucks are under way, notably pursued by Anglo American and a partnership between Komatsu and Cummins. The latter two have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on the development of zeroemissions haulage equipment. This follows on Komatsu’s announcement last year of its power-agnostic truck concept for a haulage vehicle that can run on a variety of power sources. These include diesel electric, trolley, battery power and hydrogen fuel cells. The company notes that working with Cummins, a long-term partner, is complementary to its development of the power-agnostic truck. According to Hermann Hollhumer, general manager – Mining Operations South Africa at Komatsu SA, mining dump trucks, which traditionally run on diesel and are a huge part of a mine’s operations, obviously emit greenhouse gases, and efforts are required to reduce these. “The first part of the process was




to determine how to transition from diesel-powered trucks, as these vehicles are the single biggest diesel consumer within the mining production chain. This determination was made in light of Komatsu’s commitments to creating value through technology innovation to empower a sustainable future – we aim to halve our emissions by 2030 and be carbon-neutral by 2050,” he says. Explaining the concept and development of these trucks, he says the best proxy is to look at the motor vehicle industry, like the Toyata Prius, that offers hybrid capabilities in that it has a normal engine, as well as a battery pack. “So for us the hydrogen power module component should be complemented with renewable energy solutions to truly reduce GHG. Cummins – as a power unit specialist – is developing the power-agnostic truck concept, leveraging our experience in the control systems and safety elements required to get the power to the drive train and wheels. “Having already developed electric trucks, which are easier to retrofit with this new technology than existing mechanical trucks and already have certain relevant systems built in, we are well-positioned to

provide conversion advice. Ultimately, we are really excited about the potential this offers to positively impact sustainability, significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and have a massive positive impact on the environment,” he says.


Anglo American also recently unveiled what it referred to as the world’s largest hydrogenpowered mine haul truck prototype, designed to operate in everyday mining conditions, at its Mogalakwena PGMs mine in Limpopo. It has been reported that the 2MW hydrogen-battery hybrid truck, which generates more power than its diesel predecessor, is also capable of carrying a 290-tonne payload. The new truck forms part of the company’s nuGen™ Zero Emission Haulage Solution (ZEHS). nuGen™ provides a fully integrated green hydrogen system, consisting of production, fuelling and haulage system, with green hydrogen to be produced at the mine site. Speaking to the company’s focus on sustainability, Chief Executive Duncan Wanblad notes that nuGen™ is a tangible demonstration of its FutureSmart Mining™ programme.

“ For us, the hydrogen component must be complemented with renewable energy generation. – Hollhumer

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“With diesel emissions from our haul truck fleet accounting for 10-15% of our total Scope 1 emissions, this is an important step on our pathway to carbon-neutral operations by 2040. The mining industry is playing a considerable role in helping the world decarbonise, both through its own emissions footprint and the metals and minerals that it produces, which are critical to low-carbon energy and transport systems,” he says. “Over the next several years, we envisage converting or replacing our current fleet of diesel-powered trucks with this zeroemission haulage system, fuelled with green hydrogen. If this pilot is successful, we could remove up to 80% of diesel emissions at our open-pit mines by rolling this technology across our global fleet.” In addition, points out Natascha Viljoen, CEO of Anglo American Platinum, PGMs play an essential catalytic role in many clean-air technologies, including related to

hydrogen production and hydrogen-fuelled transportation. “As part of our market development work, we have for some years been working towards establishing the right ecosystem to successfully develop, scale up and deploy hydrogen-fuelled solutions. “Hydrogen has a significant and

wide-ranging role to play in achieving a low-carbon future – particularly as an energy carrier enabling the development of a renewables-based power generation system. We are excited about the potential of nuGen™, among other opportunities, as we work to champion the development of South Africa’s Hydrogen Valley,” she says. ■




Monitoring load distribution on bridges is a key safety measure. Using internet of things solutions means a formerly manual process can be automated and improved




Mechanical indicator on the bridge bearings.


here is little doubt that the internet of things (IoT) offers organisations the potential to implement “smart” solutions. These make life easier and more convenient, help to improve and streamline processes, and ensure information is received in good time, where it was previously unavailable or difficult to acquire. Smart solutions are highly personalised, but always begin with an object and a sensor. An important area in which sensors facilitate smart monitoring is in power measurement, where pressure sensors are employed to measure and record load distribution on bridges. The volume of traffic on our roads is an unknown quantity and the growing proportion of trucks and other heavy vehicles places increasing load strain on bridges. At the same time, it must be understood that the ground is not a static feature, since plate tectonics cause everything on the planet to move and the ground beneath our feet to change daily. These two variables will inevitably cause the load distribution on a bridge to shift. Therefore, in order to ensure continual safety, it is necessary to monitor and identify changes in the load distribution on an ongoing basis. This is done by using smart sensors.

It is vital to monitor changes in the load distribution on an ongoing basis. – Keller Previously, bridge loads were displayed using a mechanical indicator on the bridge bearings, something that had to be read onsite. To deliver the kind of smart information required continuously, Keller has focused its attention on this central supporting element of the bridge, choosing to integrate a networked pressure measurement solution into the bearing. The bridge transfers the loads to an elastomer cushion, while between the pressure sensor and the elastomer, there is a layer of grease. This functions as a pressure transfer medium, and makes it possible to measure the internal pressure, due to loading. This change in pressure is determined by a pressure transmitter with a customer-specific design that integrates perfectly into the bridge bearing.

The GSM module then reads the data directly, via a digital interface, and sends a warning message to those responsible, depending on the measured value. The use of stainless steel-covered pressure sensors with an especially long service life guarantees decades of reliable measurements and functional safety. There can be little doubt about the importance of digital transformation and the benefits offered by the IoT. In the example we are discussing here, the application of IoT-based sensors and solutions means that bridges can now be reliably and continuously monitored for the kind of changes in load distribution that genuinely pose a threat. Thus, should the data indicate it, these bridges can rapidly and easily be closed to maintain the highest levels of safety. ■

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TO DEMONSTRATE UNIQUE DIAMOND FINAL RECOVERY SORTER TOMRA Mining will showcase its sensor-based sorting solutions at the Electra Mining 2022 exhibition in Johannesburg, conducting live demonstrations for the first time, illustrating its unique advantages for diamond operations. “The Electra Mining show is the perfect platform for us to showcase TOMRA’s advanced mining solutions,” says Corné de Jager, diamond segment manager for TOMRA Mining. “These will be demonstrated to the decision makers attending.” The company will demonstrate the Final Recovery sorter with fine kimberlitic or alluvial ore, together with diamond powdered tracers in a Final Recovery and Sort House application. Visitors will be able to experience first-hand the sorter’s capability to produce an ultra-high diamond-by-weight concentrate with an exceptionally low yield. This is achieved through a proprietary ultra-high-resolution sensor, advanced new image processing, and high-precision ejector valve system. “The sorter offers 100% diamond detection within the specified size fraction and > 99% guaranteed diamond recovery with appropriate feed material preparation. Plant managers and operators will appreciate this user-friendly, compact and easy-to-operate and -maintain sorter,” he says.


LAUNCHES HENDRINA COMMUNITY CSI PROGRAMME July is widely known as the birth month of the late former President Nelson Mandela. In celebration and recognition of this great leader, Liberty Coal has kicked off its Nelson Mandela Month campaign at a community social investment (CSI) initiative in its host community of Hendrina, Mpumalanga. The programme is aimed at empowering the immediate Hendrina community, with particular focus on the youth, with skills and advantages that will put them in good stead in the job market. It forms part of Liberty Coal’s ongoing commitment to conducting sustainable mining operations that benefit Optimum Coal Mine’s host communities to make a difference in the fight against unemployment. The key driver of this initiative will see 20 beneficiaries participate in a Code 10 and Code 14 driver’s licence programme, which will allow them to drive any vehicle up to 16 000kg with a trailer of up to 750kg. Another 20 community members will undertake an articulated dump truck operator training programme. Furthermore, 100 school uniforms will be provided.

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