By loading, transporting and offloading draglines for opencast mining clients in one piece, global engineered heavy lifting and transportation specialist Mammoet says it is driving project feasibility by saving its clients time and money.
“This approach hasn’t been [applied] yet to mines in Africa, but Mammoet is actively pursuing mines to showcase this way of relocating draglines,” Mammoet marketing and communication adviser Maruzaan Odendaal notes.
She explains that the African mining sector is conservative in its approach and labour intensive.
“This solution shifts the way of thinking completely and saves mining clients immense amounts of time, which, of course, results in huge cost savings.”
The market in general is quiet, Odendaal highlights, noting that this is especially so for the company’s “very unique” service offering.
“At this point in time, our focus is on growing our footprint throughout Africa as we see there is a lot of potential, especially in greenfield projects in segments, where we have years of experience.”
The company’s equipment relocation approach limits downtime, improves uptime and overcomes bottlenecks to increase production efficiency, says Odendaal.
“Traditional equipment relocation methods consist of disassembling the dragline and transporting it in pieces to be reassembled at the new site, or it ‘walks’ itself to the new site; however, our self-propelled modular trailor (SPMT) transports the equipment in one piece to the new site,” she points out.
The traditional methods are costly and time-consuming, owing to specific route requirements, long-distance challenges, disassembly and reassembly, Odendaal says, emphasising that the use of multiple lines of SPMTs to relocate a 3 500 t dragline over 35 km of desert for private-sector coal company Peabody Energy’s El Segundo mine, in New Mexico, in 2013, was the company’s first challenging project involving the relocation of a dragline of this size.
In 2014, Mammoet took on the relocation of four draglines, ranging between 3 000 t to 5 443 t, for electricity generator Luminant Energy, in Texas, in the US.
In September 2016, Mining Weekly reported that the company launched its SPMT widening adaptor for high and wide loads at the Bauma 2016 trade fair, in Germany. The SPMT widening adaptor allows for increased track width of a split SPMT, thereby widening the loading platform without the need to add more SPMT trailer units to safely execute the transport of large loads, such as transporting cargo from mines to port.
In heavy transport, high and wide loads with a high centre of gravity – such as large pipe rack modules – are typically transported on multiple rows of SPMTs. Connecting more SPMT trailer units side by side creates a wider loading platform, ensuring stability of the load combination during transport and enhancing safety. However, in many cases, this increased load capacity, as a result of the additional trailer units, is not required.
Identifying room for improvement, Mammoet designed the widening adaptor, which allows for variable spacing of split SPMT trailers and power pack units (PPUs). This allows for more cost-effective transport of specific loads and reduces the carbon footprint of loads that would otherwise need more SPMTs and PPUs.
In addition to relocating draglines, Mammoet is also capable of moving rock trucks and hydraulic shovels, and moved a 570 t CAT 6060 shovel for a South African mine in February.
This project, Odendaal explains, included the relocating a 570 t shovel over a distance of 11 km from one excavation site to another.
“If the machine drove itself to the new site, it would damage the mine’s haul road – which includes public roads – and itself, as it is not designed to travel that distance Odendaal adds, explaining that Mammoet’s solution saved the client the cost and time to repair the damage to the public road and the mine’s haul road.
Mammoet’s Southern Africa head office is based in Bramley View, Johannesburg, with branch offices in Secunda, in Mpumalanga, Sasolburg, in Free State, Richards Bay, in KwaZulu-Natal, and Cape Town, in the Western Cape.
“We do, however, operate in all countries in the Southern African Development Community region and have resources globally,” Odendaal concludes.