International demand for electrical machinery and equipment is outstripping supply and resulting in longer lead-times, which is proving economically and operationally detrimental to the mining industry. In order to alleviate the situation and meet burgeoning demands, leading Brazilian manufacturer WEG is increasing its global exports and boosting its capacity by building new production lines and factories.
A South African company specialising in the supply and maintenance of electronic mine safety equipment, Booyco Electronics, has introduced an active proximity warning system for earthmoving and mining vehicles to warn operators when they approach risky work zones.
Spurred on by encouraging exploration, drilling and bulk sampling results, British-based international diamond exploration and mining company River Diamonds Plc is about to embark on a trial mining phase on its Panguma Dykes project in the west African country of Sierra Leone.
The company provides innovative solutions to the mining, minerals, ports and industrial sectors. Its core platform is cooperation agreements with worldleading technology and knowhow providers.
ELB Engineering Services has four technology clusters in the company — Bulk Handling, Pneumatic Conveying and Associated Equipment, Modular Process Plants, and Life Extension Services. The demands from the global market on world-class expertise have taken their toll on the South African resource pool, and to this end ELB has opened a technology / engineering centre in Germany, providing machine and rebuild design capability backed by a design office. This office allows ELB to augment its in-house capability with the best machine design ability.
TWP Holdings Limited CEO Nigel Townshend says that the company is going through massive expansion, driven largely by the booming demand for resources. “To achieve sustainable growth we need to follow the trends and needs of new and existing clients as they shift their search for metals and minerals to underexplored parts of the world and at greater depths than ever before,” he adds.
Research and development specifically aimed at more cost-effective management of mine water usage has led local water treatment specialists, TAG Water Systems/MC Process, to design a new turnkey water treatment system, the first of which has been commissioned in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“Clean potable drinking and process water, to run the plant, was the motivation to develop a dual purpose system.” says TAG managing director Rogan Roulstone. “To meet the criteria we designed a dissolved air flotation (DAF) system with a combined potable drinking water treatment unit that recovers process water unfit for human consumption, but suitable for re-use in the plant,” he adds.
DCD-Dorbyl Heavy Engineering has been commissioned by various divisions of Outotec – a leading global provider of process solutions, technologies and services for the mining and metallurgical industries – to produce no fewer than 19 ball and SAG mill shells for customers in three African and six overseas countries. This is a set of orders which will take the company well into 2008, according to marketing manager Bennie Bosch.
According to the judges, the plants – which were installed and commissioned at Snap Lake, near the Arctic Circle, and Victor, in Canada – demonstrated De Beers’ ability to accomplish a uniquely challenging task in the most arduous physical conditions.
“It is hard to imagine a more inhospitable site to build a plant than one close to the Arctic Circle, where temperatures are known to plummet to minus 50 degrees,” the judges pointed out. “Not only was special steel suitable for such conditions required, but working conditions were gruelling and the logistics proved to be a nightmare,” they added.
It is the Lerala diamond mine, situated in eastern Botswana some 80 km south of Selebi Phikwe, and developed by Brisbane-based specialist diamond explorer DiamonEx Limited, which is listed on both the Australian and Botswana stock exchanges.
“After completing our feasibility study and applying for and obtaining our mining lease, we started construction less than a year ago, and our first production will be happening in the new year,” says managing director Dan O’Neill. ‘‘We will ramp up to full production by the end of Q1 in 2008,” he adds.