Kumba Iron Ore has launched its R1 billion investment for heavy mining equipment facilities at its Sishen operation.

This came after a review conducted in 2010 revealed that the maintenance facilities and outside storage capacity was insufficient for current equipment needs at the Northern Cape operation. The new facilities are aligned with the Life of Mine plan for the operation. The Life of Mine is the expected number of years that an operation has to mine which extends until such time that the final block of ore is extracted.

“The project aim was to find an optimised solution to cater for the additional service demands. We also needed to ensure the sustainability and improvement of safety and operational standards. To achieve this, we investigated the bulk infrastructure for the new tyre workshop and associated services because the development of new infrastructure is an essential part of future expansion,” says Hamish Riddet, project manager of TWP.

The workshop is big enough and has adequate crane capacity to accommodate the new Komatsu 960E mega trucks, which are now being used at the operation. The haul truck fleet can be increased from a total 75 to 156 as well as the size and load carrying capacity of haul trucks. The new tyre workshop with tyre removal bays, storage areas and other bulk facilities are essential for future and secondary fleet expansion.

“The new contractor-built and maintained facilities will drive efficiencies at the operation as it provides additional maintenance capacity to the existing haul-truck and tyre handling workshops. This project has also helped to create several new jobs,” says Andrew Loots, head of the steering committee and former general manager at Sishen mine.

“We are confident that these new facilities will cater for the additional service demands, which will add to the mine’s sustainability and productivity.”