The Aggregate & Sand Producers Association of Southern Africa (Aspasa) says surface miners are facing a growing number of challenges and calls on mine owners to get behind the association and become part of a unified voice for the industry.
“With profits under pressure as a result of ever-more onerous compliance issues as well as other challenges, it is increasingly beneficial to become a member of Aspasa, which has its members’ best interests at heart,” the association notes.
Aspasa director Nico Pienaar points out that there are 12 overarching services within Aspasa, which represent the voices of miners.
Meanwhile, Pienaar says technological advances are at the forefront of innovation that industry needs to come to terms with, especially in transport, with trackless mobile machinery, proximity detection systems (PDSes) and regulation relating to road transport being cases in point.
“New members will be brought up to speed on trackless mobile machines regarding risk assessment, the implementation of effective controls and traffic management and collision avoidance technology requirements.
“Proper risk assessments and traffic management plans, which should already be in place, outweigh the cost of Section 54 stoppages,” says Pienaar.
He adds that while PDSes are not yet fully functional, several such systems are being tested by Aspasa and its suppliers.
Aspasa also helps members technically, in terms of the quality of the aggregate mined and the final product sold, as well as providing information related to the production process.
Pienaar asserts that a mine should have a quality management programme in place that is audited regularly. Aspasa has developed such a programme with links to relevant methods, standards and specifications.
Further, of vital importance to members, and therefore to the industry as a whole, is Aspasa’s liaison with government. “An allied service is to ensure its members are legally compliant. The association’s liaison with government is evident in the stakeholders’ submission to the Mining Occupational Health & Safety Research Programme.
“Constant contact with government at all levels means members are kept up to date with legislation, permitting them to mine within the parameters set by the law. It also keeps mining communities informed,” highlights Pienaar.
Moreover, Aspasa is planning an environmental workshop on April 2, which will give members an overview of climate change legislation that will need to be complied with in future.
“On a day-to-day basis, Aspasa works with members on health and safety audits to try and achieve zero fatalities and avoid lost productivity owing to injury.”