Pretoria-based engineering firm Thuthukani Engineering has designed full service shaft hoisting infrastructure for Philippines-based gold miner Philsaga Mining Corporation, which is owned by Australian mining company Medusa Mining.
Following a drive to expand its reach internationally, Thuthukani was tasked with the design and drafting of the headgear, shaft collar and winder house for a new service shaft at Philsaga Mining Corporation.
The project started in 2015 and was carried out in cooperation with winches and winders manufacturer Tech Edge Group and engineering company WJ Engineering. Thuthukani provided the infrastructure design, while Tech Edge undertook the building of the winder. WJ Engineering fabricated all the infrastructure components.
Thuthukani technical director Erik de Jongh states that this project is testament to the skills and expertise of local engineering firms: “We have proven that we can provide mining infrastructure for remote clients with minimal ‘hand holding’.”
The infrastructure components were fully fabricated and tested in South Africa before being disassembled and transported to the Philippines, where they were installed at the mine. According to De Jongh, the project was rolled out smoothly, on time and with few installation problems.
“All the infrastructure components were delivered to and installed at Philsaga in mid-2016, except for the winder, which was commissioned and delivered in early 2017,” says De Jongh. He adds that the headgear, shaft collar and winder house are all performing according to specification, having been operational for several months.
Using the Philsaga Mining Corporation project as an example of its capabilities, Thuthukani is canvassing in the Philippines for future projects. “We feel that there is tremendous potential in the area and a need in that market for the kind of expertise that firms like ours have to offer. In terms of operational enhancement, there is a need in the South African market, but, in terms of capital investment in new infrastructure, there is greater potential overseas,” states De Jongh.
He adds that the nature of the South African mining industry makes local engineers uniquely equipped to deal with any type of mining landscape. “The shaft sinking and vertical shaft expertise really lie in South Africa. It would be safe to say that no other country mines to the deep levels we do in South Africa – this gives us great potential to serve large mining companies overseas, as there is a wealth of experience here that can be leveraged.”
Further, local mining companies can be best served by the professional auditing and inspections of mechanical and structural mining equipment that Thuthukani offers, says De Jongh. This is critical to establishing whether a component can be upgraded, repaired or refurbished, or whether a full retrofit of outdated infrastructure is needed to ensure compliance with the relevant legislation and sector requirements.