A joint venture between Parsons Brinckerhoff Africa (PB) and RSV Enco has formed an integrated team with Xstrata Coal South Africa to compile a feasibility study for the Tweefontein division.

Xstrata Coal South Africa has initiated a project to optimise its Tweefontein operations, situated close to Witbank in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province. The project covers mine planning, design and construction of a new coal-handling and preparation plant and supporting infrastructure including a new rail balloon and load out facility. This was after a pre-feasibility study delivered a viable business case to Xstrata Coal justifying this project proceeding into feasibility.

The next stage of this process entails development of a full feasibility study for the project that will include feasibility level design, cost and schedule estimates and a project execution plan. In this regard Xstrata Coal has separated the feasibility into various packages with the two main ones being the coal handing & preparation plant and the supporting infrastructure. The latter was further separated into two parts, civil infrastructure (water management, earthworks, piling and roads) and mine infrastructure (civil, electrical, services and structures).

PB and RSV Enco have progressed a strategic relationship to service the mining sector in Southern Africa, and developed a plan to work together in the future. The two groups complement each other in the Southern African region which will bring value to Xstrata Coal in excess of that from either one of the individual organisations.

The joint venture will be able to bring an alternative perspective to the pre-feasibility design and previous infrastructure element designs. The benefit of an integrated stand alone team that covers this project is that solutions for particular elements are developed with due consideration for other associated or dependent elements of the project. Another feature of the joint venture’s proposal is that a virtual design and construct model can be developed that identifies and allows mitigation of potential interface and clash issues.

The PBA / RSV Enco / Xstrata Coal South Africa team says it wants to complete the project feasibility study and obtain approvals to commence earthworks for the Tweefontein optimisation project in the dry season of 2011. A preliminary schedule indicates that this is achievable.