Challenging operational conditions owing to the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hasn’t stopped Khanye Colliery from achieving record mining and plant throughput volumes.

In June 2020, 204 480 tons of run of mine was processed by the Khanye processing plants. This surpassed the previous highest throughput achieved by the mine in May, when the plant washed 186 342 tons of run of mine coal.

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Khanye’s two processing plants comprise a 110 ton per hour dense medium separator processing plant and a larger 400 ton per hour Larcodem plant, which was commissioned in early 2019.

In August 2020, Khanye produced 210 620 tons of run of mine, which is a new mining record, significantly surpassing the previous record of 202 696 tons mined in February.

“This is testimony to the increasing throughput ramp-up process that the mine has been undertaking since it commenced operations in January 2018,” states Khanye Colliery General Manager Guy Thompson.

He highlights that the mining and plant teams’ experience and dedication ensured that downtime and production losses were very minimal.

“All this was achieved while complying with strict health and safety protocols. Standard Operating Procedures were put in place to effectively and seamlessly implement the new health and safety policies.

All members of the team bought into the strategy and were totally dedicated to ensuring full compliance with these requirements,” Guy points out.

Japie Kleinhans, Ingwenya Plant Manager at Khanye Colliery, who has over 35 years of coal processing industry experience adds: “Employees were trained on COVID-19 response protocols, including screening during working hours, and they are complying.

Non-compliance constitutes a work place offence. The company also provides all employees with masks and sanitisers. We monitor the situation on a daily basis while encouraging transparency and accountability at all times.”

He states that the plant’s 68-member team is very well supported by Canyon Mining Services, who produced good raw coal product which made it easier to be processed through the plant.

“We were also superbly supported by our engineering team, who ensure that equipment is well maintained, breakdowns are quickly dealt with and our machinery runs optimally. Pre-emptive maintenance and correct usage of plant equipment have all contributed to ensuring minimal breakdowns occurred,” Japie highlights.

Mining commenced at the opencast Khanye Colliery in January 2018 through the use of truck and shovel mining methods. The remaining life of mine is 14 years at annual run of mine production target of 2.4 million tons per annum.