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Consulting Engineers News

Conference cornerstone of geophysics industry

By: Nadine James     20th October 2017 The fifteenth biennial South African Geophysical Association (SAGA) conference and exhibition has become a cornerstone of the geophysics industry within the African region, says SAGA conference committee chairperson Reece van Buren. “No other event caters for our science quite like this one and... 

Rise in DRC exploration activity expected

20th October 2017 With the improvements in the copper price, mining interest will soon be returning to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), says mining consultancy SRK Consulting country manager Susa Maleba.   “In fact, for explorers wanting to initiate drilling programmes, time is running out,” says Maleba.... 

Rise in DRC exploration activity expected
EXTENDING LIFE The sulphide resources underlying the oxide resources at Kinsevere have the potential to extend the mine life to 2033

General uptick in West Africa mining as commodity prices improve

By: Ilan Solomons     20th October 2017 There have been a number of recent positive developments in West Africa’s mining industry, such as in Mali, where two new mines are scheduled to be commissioned by the end of this year. This is according to engineering and scientific consultancy SRK Consulting Ghana country manager John Kwofie,... 

General uptick in West Africa mining as commodity prices improve
Photo by SRK Consulting
JOHN KWOFIE SRK has been engaged in aspects of iron-ore projects in Cameroon, bauxite in Guinea and diamonds in Sierra Leone and Guinea in recent years

ECSA renews Wits School of Mining accreditation

By: Dylan Slater     20th October 2017 The accreditation of University of the Witwatersrand’s (Wits) School of Mining Engineering has been renewed for another five-year cycle by the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA).  

ECSA renews Wits School of Mining accreditation
CUTHBERT MUSINGWINI Renewal of the Wits School of Mining Engineering’s ECSA accreditation illustrates the high standard of the school’s standard

South Africa spending less than its peers on mining research and development

By: Mia Breytenbach     20th October 2017 While South Africa had increased its investment in mining research and development (R&D) since 2014, the country’s investment was still below that of its peers, delegates heard during a panel discussion on ‘Technological Innovation and Advancements in the Mining Industry’ at the Joburg Indaba... 

Materials handling software enhanced

By: Dylan Slater     20th October 2017 New haulage functionality for underground mine operators will be built into the upcoming version of Australia-headquartered consulting and technology company Deswik’s software – Deswik.Suite.  

Gamsberg zinc project a thumbs up for South Africa amid investment slowdown

By: Mia Breytenbach     20th October 2017 Amid low levels of capital project activities in South Africa, the $400-million Gamsberg zinc and lead project, in the Northern Cape, has become the largest mining project under execution in the country. “Commentators have noted that this significant investment in the South African mining... 

Gamsberg zinc project a thumbs up for South Africa amid investment slowdown

CoAL settles major liabilities, transitions into coal producer in 'extremely positive year'

By: Mia Breytenbach     13th October 2017 Following an “extremely positive and transformational year” in which South Africa-focused Coal of Africa Limited (CoAL) achieved significant milestones, such as settling significant liabilities and transitioning into a coal producer with the acquisition of the cash-generative Uitkomst colliery,... 

Hybrid solar systems punted as the way forward for sub-Saharan Africa mines

By: Dylan Slater     13th October 2017 Factors such as limited and unreliable energy transmission and distribution grids, across many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, have created a dependency among large industrial and mining houses on diesel and heavy fuel oil (HFO) to provide a reliable energy supply, says renewable-energy... 

Hybrid solar systems punted  as the way forward for  sub-Saharan Africa mines
DEGRUSSA PLANT The off-grid hybrid power plant at the DeGrussa copper/gold mine, in western Australia features a solar PV plant, lithium-ion battery facility and a diesel power station

Investor appetite for mining projects can be whetted by accurate project scopes – DRA

By: Schalk Burger     10th October 2017 To attract investment, it has become necessary for organisations to complete projects under budget and well ahead of schedule, diversified engineering multinational DRA Global CEO Wray Carvelas says. While investment appetite seems to be returning to the mining sector as investors look to unlock... 

Civil society bodies resisting plan for a coal mine in Mpumalanga

By: Mia Breytenbach     6th October 2017 A coalition of eight civil society and community organisations, represented by the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER), which is resisting a proposed coal mine inside a declared protected environment and strategic water source area in Mpumalanga, has stepped up its resistance with further legal... 

Civil society bodies resisting plan for a coal mine in Mpumalanga
Photo by Victor Moolman
CONTESTED COMMODITY Various legal proceedings are under way to oppose the proposed 15-year Yzermyn underground coal mine

Gigantic SA-made ore scrubber destined for Sierra Leone mineral sands mine

By: Mia Breytenbach     29th September 2017 Mechanical process equipment and solutions provider MechProTech has completed the manufacturing of one of its largest pieces of mining process equipment – the multimillion-rand, Titan 3596 mineral ore scrubber – which will be delivered to a mineral sands mine in Sierra Leone. MechProTech focuses... 

Gigantic SA-made ore scrubber destined for Sierra Leone mineral sands mine
Photo by Duane Daws
SIZABLE PROCESSING Titan 3596 mineral ore scrubber is used to wash and break up alluvial gravels, clay and sand

Mining-focused drone data service company gets Ghana licence

By: Dylan Slater     29th September 2017 Drone data service provider Rocketmine has received the first commercial remotely piloted aircraft system operating certificate (ROC) in Ghana.  

Platinum-group metals producer aiming to increase fuel cell demand

By: Simone Liedtke     22nd September 2017 To increase demand in the fuel cell (FC) industry, platinum group metals producer Impala Platinum (Implats) aims to take its Impala Platinum Refinery off the State-owned power utility Eskom grid and power the refinery using FC technology, with commercial operation of its first phase aimed to... 

Platinum-group metals producer aiming to increase fuel cell demand
FAHMIDA SMITH The development of the 8 MW fuel cell is an exciting development in Implats’ move towards a carbon-neutral fuel source at its refinery

Minerals processing business bullish about future, despite industry challenges

By: Nica Schreuder     22nd September 2017 Based on substantial growth over the past 12 years, mining and industrial services provider Fraser Alexander’s minerals processing business intends to double its revenue within the next three to five years, says Fraser Alexander minerals processing GM Jaco Scholtz. “We are particularly proud of... 

Minerals processing business bullish about future, despite industry challenges
ALL ENCOMPASSING Fraser Alexander is able to service clients across the coal washing and processing value chain

Companies find use for abandoned underground coal mines

By: Nica Schreuder     22nd September 2017 Forsaken underground coal mines are increasingly being reopened using opencast mining methods, according to independent mining advisory group Ukwazi senior mining engineer Adriaan Strydom, who tells Mining Weekly that this practice is effectively enabled through increased mechanisation. While an... 

Companies find use for abandoned underground coal mines
Photo by Bloomberg
SECOND CHANCE The trend of returning to underground mines and turning them into opencast mines is a cost-effective alternative to exploration

Real-time analysis aids coal mining efficiency

22nd September 2017 To avoid incorrect plant control decisions and plant inefficiencies, technologies that measure mining process streams must be implemented directly and in real time. Australia-based bulk materials monitoring company Scantech uses real-time analysis technologies to measure conveyed bulk materials... 

Real-time analysis aids coal mining efficiency
REAL-TIME EFFICIENCY The COALSCAN 9500X is installed on the conveyor and only takes up one metre of belt space

Rail company unlocking coal export potential

22nd September 2017 According to South African rail, port and pipeline company Transnet, increasing rail capacity in South Africa is critical for unlocking coal export opportunities, both for neighbouring African countries and for the domestic market. The rail utility discussed its approach to increasing rail... 

Rail company unlocking coal export potential
PROPOSED PROJECT To relieve pressure on the Ermelo–Richards Bay line, Transnet Freight Rail is currently considering the SwaziLink Project, which will divert general freight away from the key coal export line

Technological advances aim to improve sustainability

By: Nica Schreuder     22nd September 2017 Owing to the possible presence of hazardous methane gas during coal mining, it is common practice to monitor methane levels at operational mining sections. As such, mining monitoring systems company Monitech’s Hazardous Area Control System was introduced to coal mining fifteen years ago and it... 

Technological advances aim to improve sustainability
CUSTOMISED PROJECTS Every Exxaro project is customised, owing to possible environmental constraints

Fuel cell opportunity to save platinum mining

By: Simone Liedtke     22nd September 2017 With platinum being one of the most effective and durable catalysts in proton exchange membrane fuel cell technology (PEMFC), fuel cell and electrolyser technology developer Isondo Precious Metals (IPM) CEO Vinay Somera believes that this presents an opportunity for the South African platinum... 

Fuel cell opportunity to save platinum mining
Photo by Duane Daws
VINAY SOMERA The drive to zero emissions also represent the “single biggest opportunity” for the industry

Platinum mining to play role in emerging sector

By: Simone Liedtke     22nd September 2017 With there being a global increase in demand for all fuel cells, with low temperature platinum bearing fuel cells seeing the largest increase in market pull, independent analysis and advisory firm 4th Energy Wave CEO Dr Kerry-Ann Adamson believes that this creates an increasing opportunity for... 

Platinum mining to play role in emerging sector
Photo by SFC
INCREASED ADOPTION Trends and demands for an increasing availability of fuel cells are leading to increased adoption

Hazardous area control system for coal mining

By: Nica Schreuder     22nd September 2017 Owing to the possible presence of hazardous methane gas during coal mining, it is common practice to monitor methane levels at operational mining sections. As such, mining monitoring systems company Monitech’s Hazardous Area Control System was introduced to coal mining fifteen years ago and it... 

Hazardous area control system  for coal mining
METHANE MITIGATION Monitech’s Hazardous Area Control Systems promotes safety and the importance of monitoring mining activities

800 000 t copper output by year-end conservative estimate

By: Simone Liedtke     15th September 2017 Copper production in Zambia will reach just more than 800 000 t by the end of this year as the country is taking steps to regain its position as Africa’s leading copper producer, according to Zambia Chamber of Mines (CoM) initiative Mining for Zambia (MFZ). “This is a conservative estimate,... 

800 000 t copper output by year-end conservative estimate
DRAWING DOLLARS $12.4-billion was invested in new mining ventures in Zambia from 2000 to 2014 by just six mining companies

German companies to display digital solutions for Zambian mines

By: Simone Liedtke     15th September 2017 Nonprofit organisation, the Southern African-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is aiming to invite more German companies to Zambia to display digital solutions for mining and Industry 4.0, following the success of its German-Zambian Business Forum. SA-German Chamber Lusaka office head... 

German companies to display digital solutions for Zambian mines
BUSINESS FIRST The first German-Zambian Business Forum was held in Lusaka, Zambia, earlier this year to strengthen economic ties between Germany and Zambia

Reopening of mines to stabilise employment, improve tax revenues

By: Simone Liedtke     15th September 2017 Zambia Chamber of Mines, and its initiative Mining for Zambia (MFZ), is enthusiastic about the reopening of mining operations in Zambia, which it says will not only result in increased copper production but also translate into stabilised employment levels in the country and improved tax revenues... 

Reopening of mines to stabilise employment, improve tax revenues
CONTRIBUTION TO DEVELOPMENT The mining sector contributes to Zambia’s socioeconomic development through the creation of jobs and new business opportunities

Kalumbila facility will service global mining industry

15th September 2017 By the first quarter of 2018,  a building site in Kalumbila, in North-Western province, in  Zambia, will be transformed into a $40-million manufacturing facility that will produce high-quality mill-balls for mines in Zambia, neighbouring countries and the world market, says Zambia Chamber of... 

Kalumbila facility will service global mining industry
TANGIBLE EXCITEMENT There’s a tangible feeling of excitement in the air at Kalumbila with the coming of the ME Elecmetal plant

Industrial solutions provider aiming to benefit Zambia’s mines

By: Simone Liedtke     15th September 2017 Industrial solutions provider RTS Africa Engineering (RTS) states that air compressors used in the mining industry – including in Zambia – are, for the most part, well-proven, reliable pieces of equipment that can operate for years with relatively little maintenance. 

Industrial solutions provider aiming to benefit Zambia’s mines
EFFECTIVE SUPPLY The use of a spin filter is a truly effective means of feeding clean air at ambient temperatures

Solutions provider helping Zambia tackle mining challenges

By: Simone Liedtke     15th September 2017 The mining and mineral processing sectors present some of the most challenging production environments, as the large-scale operations are often located in harsh, remote areas, explains technical solutions provider BMG.  

Solutions provider  helping Zambia tackle mining challenges
LONG-TERM SUSTAINABILITY To ensure the long-term sustainability of a mine, it is essential to always keep operating costs down

Specialist helps Zambian mines save on maintenance costs

15th September 2017 More and more mines in Zambia are seeing the benefits and the profitable returns of investing in condition monitoring, with a direct positive impact on productivity and machine availability, and reduced maintenance costs, enthuses condition-monitoring specialist WearCheck. 

Specialist helps Zambian mines save  on maintenance costs
NEIL ROBINSON Customers are able to see for themselves the savings on the bottom line that are attributable to condition monitoring

Simulation software helps improve pump system efficiency

By: Victor Moolman     15th September 2017 The Pumpsim pumping simulation software package uses three-dimensional (3D) models that identify the location of weak points in pumps systems and where greater pressure is required to improve efficiency, explains consulting services Chasm Consulting Australia director Craig Stewart. 

Simulation software helps improve pump system efficiency
Photo by Victor Moolman
ACCURATE MODELING Pumpsim enables mining companies can build a network of pipes, channels, pumps, tanks, valves and sprays to simulate flows and pressures of liquids, slurries and many other fluids

Establishing connectivity, visibility critical to economic growth

By: Simone Liedtke     15th September 2017 The mining sector remains crucial to the economic growth of many African countries, including copper-dependent Zambia, and, as such, it is important that foreign mining companies operating in these countries can improve the performance of their mining assets to ensure their continued economic... 

Establishing connectivity, visibility critical to economic growth
STEPHEN DU PREEZ Mines will be transitioning from manual to autonomous operations, with a higher reliance on digitalisation

Regulatory overhaul expected to improve water use licensing turnaround

By: Ilan Solomons     15th September 2017 Analysts are hopeful that recent regulations promulgated by the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) will assist in overcoming the long delays in securing water use licence authorisations (WULAs) and allow more streamlined implementation of projects. WULAs are required by a range of water... 

Regulatory overhaul expected to improve water use licensing turnaround
Photo by Duane Daws
ENCOURAGING DEVELOPMENTS The new regulations are a positive step that aligns the timelines for WULAs with the application for an environmental authorisation

Company’s solutions address minerals processing inefficiencies

By: Marleny Arnoldi     8th September 2017 To address water contamination in the minerals processing sector, processing specialist Multotec is installing its CleanTeQ ion-exchange system, which is designed for the removal of soluble elements from process water, at operations in Oman and soon in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  

Company’s solutions  address minerals  processing inefficiencies
MINERALS RECLAMATION Multotec's ion-exchange system can also be used to recover valuable minerals from effluent streams at mineral processing plants

Humidity, moisture sensors see growth

8th September 2017 The need for optimal safety, high yield and combustion value to ensure process integrity is spurring double-digit growth and adoption of humidity and moisture sensors in various industries, including the mining and minerals processing industry, states market research company Frost & Sullivan.  

Mineral processing plants prioritising cybersecurity

By: Marleny Arnoldi     8th September 2017 Infrastructure solutions company BT says minerals processing companies are starting to prioritise efforts against cyberattacks on process control solutions. BT Asia, Middle East and Africa head of energy and research Stephen du Preez, tells Mining Weekly that a targeted attack can cripple or even... 

Mineral processing plants prioritising cybersecurity
Photo by Bloomberg
HELD AT RANSOM A proper cybersecurity strategy can address this risk and block, for example, ransomware from gaining access to computers that run the process control software

Poor market conditions lead to diversification

By: Marleny Arnoldi     8th September 2017 Owing to tough ferrochrome and ferromanganese market conditions globally, process and engineering service provider Metix has had to widen its focus beyond ferrous metals and target the processing of other commodities.  

Industry challenges encourage new tech developments

By: Marleny Arnoldi     8th September 2017 Automation technology for minerals processing has become an indispensable element of productivity, owing to the role it plays in improving quality, reducing cost and labour intensity, as well as decreasing energy and raw material consumption, says integrated solutions provider Takraf Africa,... 

Industry challenges encourage new  tech developments
BREAKING THROUGH Junior miners prefer semimobile equipment, such as the Bradford Breaker, owing to its low capital cost and ease of transport

Rapid drying oven offers faster minerals processing

1st September 2017 Industrial solutions company thyssenkrupp’s Infra-Red (IR) rapid drying oven has significantly improved turnaround times for minerals processing operations specialist Minopex, owing to the oven’s fast-drying capability. Since installation, Minopex has reported great satisfaction with the IR oven.... 

Rapid drying oven offers faster minerals processing
HEAT RETENTION The oven does not lose heat, even with the door open

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