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Consulting Engineers News

Mines turn to off-grid power amid low commodity prices, revenue

By: Simone Liedtke     28th October 2016 More companies are considering the use of an independent power producer (IPP) to meet their mines’ energy needs, as many projects are under pressure to achieve capital savings to weather the current operating environment comprising low commodity prices and diminished revenue streams. 

South Africa’s chrome industry well placed to ‘grow and prosper’

By: Nadine James     21st October 2016 South Africa’s relatively easy to mine chromium reserves, combined with the current deficit in the chromium market as well as the expected increase in global stainless steel consumption, has ensured that the country’s chrome sector has every opportunity to grow and prosper, says the International... 

Dispatch technology reduces time of scheduled delays

     21st October 2016 Activity Dispatch, the latest advancement in dispatching technology from mining systems manufacturer Wenco Mining Systems can help mines reduce wasted time by eliminating the unnecessary time spent on shift change, meal breaks and other short pauses in production. The technology loads these... 

Dispatch technology  reduces time of  scheduled delays
VEHICLE PARKING The Active Dispatch system ensures that trucks arrive at the right time to be used by operators

Equipment supplier adapts to meet industry needs

By: Victor Moolman     21st October 2016 Mining equipment supplier Tenova Takraf Africa is offering junior miners in the surface mining industry a tailor-made package that will help new mining operations produce State-owned power utility Eskom-grade coal. 

Equipment supplier adapts to meet  industry needs
BRADFORD BREAKER The coal breaker has and its support structure have been designed for easy relocation to a new mining area

New collision awareness system eliminates nuisance alerts

     21st October 2016 US-headquartered mine management solutions provider Modular Mining Systems has launched its fourth-generation collision awareness system (CAS), which is available as a standalone system or can be integrated with Modular’s Dispatch fleet management system. 

New collision awareness system eliminates nuisance alerts
Photo by Bloomberg
COLLISION WARNING The collision awareness system from Modular aims to improve awareness of potential vehicle interactions

PTM to advance Waterberg PGM project to feasibility, construction decision stage

By: Mia Breytenbach     20th October 2016 Having received positive results from an independent prefeasibility study (PFS) on the Waterberg platinum group metals (PGM) project, in Limpopo, TSX- and NYSE-listed Platinum Group Metals (PTM) plans to advance the project to the completion of a feasibility study (FS) and a construction... 

Benefits of spin filters emphasised

By: Sascha Solomons     14th October 2016 With the South African mining industry facing the prevailing costs and uncertainties in the labour market that it does, industrial technology and solutions specialist RTS Africa Engineering says its spin filters offer an ideal solution by reducing dependence on maintenance personnel. “Not only... 

Benefits of spin  filters emphasised
IAN FRASER Dust can be a major problem in the mining sector, notably in working spaces and control rooms

Further drilling planned for Boto, preparing for exploitation permit

     14th October 2016 Canadian gold miner Iamgold Corporation expects to start further drilling at its wholly-owned Boto gold project in eastern Senegal in November, once the rainy season ends, says Iamgold senior VP Craig MacDougall. The additional drilling will follow a drilling programme that confirmed the presence... 

Further drilling planned for Boto, preparing for exploitation permit
GOING FOR GOLD Iamgold has two Malian gold operations, as well as an exploration project in Senegal. The Senegal-Mali region is known for its gold deposits

Global decrease in exploration activity

     14th October 2016 Lower commodity prices, market instability, reduced investment and increased environmental awareness, have been cited as reasons for the global decrease in exploration activity by scientific agency for natural sciences the US Geological Survey (USGS). The agency released its yearly report on... 

Global decrease in exploration activity
EXPLORATION EMPHASIS Global exploration activity last year predominantly comprised of gold and copper exploration

Gold tailings retreatment an attractive proposition in current environment

By: Mia Breytenbach     14th October 2016 The strong performance of the rand gold price, increasingly lower gold grades mined in deeper underground mining operations, as well as costlier labour resources and electricity, are underscoring the attractiveness and accelerating the traction of local gold tailings retreatment operations,... 

Gold tailings retreatment an attractive proposition in current environment

Malawi starts geological mapping programme

     14th October 2016 Malawi has signed an agreement with a consortium of geological survey organisations for a countrywide Geological Mapping and Mineral Assessment Project (Gemmap) to assist in the growth of the minerals sector by providing detailed references for mineral exploration and mine planning. The... 

Malawi starts geological mapping programme
HIDDEN GEMS? In its efforts to boost mineral exploration and mining revenue, the Angolan government has launched a mapping project to discover untapped mineral reserves

Technological innovation will drive new exploration strategies  

By: Nadine James     14th October 2016 Increased innovation in analytical instrumentation and unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone, technology will further enhance the means and cost of exploration, thereby enabling the development of new exploration strategies, says mining consultancy The MSA Group. Oxford University and University of... 

Technological innovation will drive new exploration strategies
A NEED FOR INNOVATION New technologies could reduce the cost of greenfield exploration, which would hopefully result in an increase in activity which has been declining for several years

Energy now one of top three risks facing mining and metals sector

By: David Oliveira     7th October 2016 Engineering and science consultancy SRK Consulting held its 360° Mining Perspective earlier this month in Johannesburg, where some of the company’s leading engineers and scientists discussed some of the challenges facing the global mining industry. One of the most significant challenges facing... 

Focus on plant maintenance presents new design opportunities

     7th October 2016 With challenging economic conditions causing many South African chrome producers to ramp down their furnace operations and shift their focus to maintaining their plants and equipment as best as possible within their financial constraints, high-capacity furnace specialist Tenova Pyromet has seen... 

Focus on plant maintenance presents new design opportunities
INCREASED EFFICIENCY, DECREASED COSTS The multiple preheater reduces electrical power consumption and increases the carbon content of the furnace gas in the smelting process

Graphite projects gaining ground

     7th October 2016 Independent, confirmatory testwork with respect to the marketability of Chilalo has been completed at Australian resource company Graphex Mining’s Chilalo graphite project in south-east Tanzania, for which Australian mining project development consultant Battery Limits completed the... 

Graphite projects gaining ground
REPUTATIONAL STRENGTH Battery Limits's work to accelerate the development of Chilalo in Tanzania is in line with its rapidly growing reputation in graphite and other energy-related commodities

Thickener upgrade under way in Tanzania, demand growing in Africa

     7th October 2016 Mineral processing equipment specialist Tenova Takraf Africa is currently upgrading a thickener at a gold mine in Tanzania, with the scope covering the complete under solution, which includes new rakes, torque tube, centre cage and thickener drive.  

Thickener upgrade under way in Tanzania, demand growing in Africa
TANZANIAN ACTIVITY Three Tenova Delkor thickeners are installed at a gold mine in Tanzania

Commodity downturn could be coming to an end – SRK Consulting

By: David Oliveira     30th September 2016 Despite the pervasive commodity price slump negatively affecting the global mining industry, there are signs that the industry is moving towards improvement, delegates heard at the SRK Consulting 360° Mining perspective seminar, which took place in Johannesburg earlier this month. SRK Cardiff... 

Studies seek ways to prevent falls-of-ground accidents at mines

By: Ilan Solomons     30th September 2016 A series of implementation projects were carried out between 2012 and 2015 by global engineering consultancy SRK through the Safety in Mines Research Advisory Committee with funds from the Mine Health and Safety Council (MSHC) with the aim of imparting a risk-based support design methodology to... 

Studies seek ways to prevent falls-of-ground accidents at mines
ASSESSING RISK The risk-based support design method is intended to address fall-of-ground-related risks in narrow tabular underground mines

Ontario govt awards Boart Longyear C$1.37m to improve safety, reduce costs

By: Henry Lazenby     28th September 2016 Multinational drilling equipment and services provider Boart Longyear has received an award of C$1.37-million from the Ontario government to help improve safety at mineral exploration drilling sites and the efficiency of drilling systems technology. The Salt Lake City, Utah-headquartered company... 

Limpopo miner chooses rope-based conveyor system to overcome topographical challenges

By: Dylan Slater     23rd September 2016 Limpopo-based platinum mine Booysendal Platinum – a subsidiary of platinum group metals producer Northam Platinum – recently accessed the Booysendal South ore deposit as part of its expansion of mining capacity at the Booysendal concession, which required it to employ an alternative conveyor... 

Consultant promotes technology over subsidies to ensure sustainability

By: Nadine James     16th September 2016 Coal mining companies need to embrace the technological revolution if they are to overcome current challenges, including lower commodity prices, rising labour costs and increased regulatory pressures, says commodity and industrial consulting firm Bryanston Resources. According to Bryanston... 

Consultant promotes technology over subsidies  to ensure sustainability
LORENZO TENCATI It is technology, not government subsidies, that will add value to the South African mining industry

South African coal industry needs to pursue mechanisation

By: Nadine James     16th September 2016 South African coal industry stakeholders need to pursue mechanisation if the industry is serious about streamlining operations and improving efficiencies, stresses international market research company BMI Research.  BMI commodities analyst Mitchell Hugers states that the benefits of... 

South African coal industry  needs to pursue mechanisation
USURPER Mozambique's coal prospects are attracting significant foreign investment and its coal sector may outstrip South Africa's in the near future

Waste coal gasification could offer alternative power generation source  

By: Nadine James     16th September 2016 To facilitate the gasification of low-grade fine waste coal that is discarded as a by-product of coal processing, State-owned mineral research council Mintek is developing the concept of direct current (dc) arc plasma gasification, intending to produce a synthesis gas (syngas) that could be used... 

Waste coal gasification could offer alternative power generation source
Photo by Victor Moolman
WASTE NOT WANT NOT The amount of waste coal accumulated by South African coal mines over the past 35 years is about two-billion tons

$900m engineering, procurement contract for copper smelter awarded

     2nd September 2016 Engineering, procurement and construction management and consultation company Chiyoda Singapore, a subsidiary of integrated engineering company Chiyoda Corporation, has been awarded a $900-million offshore engineering and procurement contract for mining and processing company PT Freeport... 

$900m engineering, procurement contract for copper smelter awarded
Photo by Bloomberg
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER Chiyoda was awarded a contract by PT Freeport Indonesia its wealth of construction experience in copper smelter related facilities

Gangama dry mine aiming for steady state production

     2nd September 2016 Steady-state operation at the Gangama dry mine plant was expected to be achieved within four months, mineral sands company Sierra Rutile reported in June. Plant commissioning of the Sierra Leone-based Gangama dry mine project and the handover from mining project manager DRA Projects to owner... 

Drones offer significant benefits for mine surveying and analysis

By: Dylan Slater     26th August 2016 The remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) industry is growing at a staggering rate and such systems are increasingly being taken up by mining companies as a tool to manage their assets, operations and land.  

Drones offer significant benefits for mine surveying and analysis
Photo by Dylan Slater
AERIAL OPPORTUNITY Remotely piloted aircraft systems open the doors to numerous opportunities for the mining industry

SA urged to grasp opportunities afforded by platinum and gold resurgence, rising coal exports

By: Dylan Slater     26th August 2016 According to consulting engineers and scientists SRK Consulting South Africa, the fact there are signs of resurgence in platinum, a stronger gold price and growing coal exports to India should be triggers for South Africa’s mining leadership to grasp the opportunities it missed in the last... 

SA urged to grasp opportunities afforded by platinum and gold resurgence, rising coal exports
MARCIN WERTZ Strong leadership is vital to ensure the next mining upturn can be capitalised upon

Mining code aimed at helping countries attract investment launched

By: Dylan Slater     19th August 2016 Towards the end of July, the World Initiative of Mining Lawyers (WIOML) launched a mining code that is aimed at guiding countries in attracting investment while securing fair benefits from mineral exploitation within their borders.  

Omnia asks TSX-V to deny or reprice Nordex going-private placement

By: Henry Lazenby     12th August 2016 Johannesburg-based Omnia Holdings has submitted a letter to the TSX-V asking it to consider denying or repricing a proposed change-of-control transaction through which Société Anonyme d’Explosifs et de Produits Chimiques (EPC) intends to take Canadian firm Nordex Explosives private. According to... 

Wits mining school in push to improve teaching, learning effectiveness

By: Dylan Slater     12th August 2016 One of Johannesburg-based University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) School of Mining Engineering’s primary strategic initiatives, in its endeavour to become a top mining school in the world, is to improve teaching and learning effectiveness.  

Wits mining school eyeing increased research output as it seeks to be among top 100 varsities by 2022

By: Dylan Slater     5th August 2016 The Johannesburg-based University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) School of Mining Engineering plans to increase normalised research output as a primary strategic initiative in its quest to join the top 100 universities in the world by 2022.  

Omnia raises bid for Nordex

By: Natasha Odendaal     4th August 2016 Shareholders of Canadian firm Nordex Explosives have one month to accept a now-formal fully funded, all-cash inflated takeover bid by JSE-listed Omnia Group. Omnia this week, through its mining division BME, raised the stakes with an offer of C$0.22 per Nordex share, taking the deal to... 

Industry growth in hands of junior explorers

By: Kimberley Smuts     29th July 2016 Diamond exploration enquiries received by mining industry consultancy The MSA Group from small players in Botswana, Lesotho and the Free State have increased considerably since May this year. This includes greenfield kimberlite indicator mineral testing, alluvial diamond mineral resource... 

Industry growth in hands of  junior explorers
NEED FOR NEW PROJECTS The diamond industry urgently needs to find new mines, as the supply-demand gap will widen from 2019 onwards and, consequently, drive price increases

Kudos for mine ventilation engineers

By: Dylan Slater     29th July 2016 Engineers from industrial fan manufacturer MechCal received awards for fan development, from the Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa (MVSSA), during its seventy-second annual general meeting (AGM) on April 20.  

Iron-ore market likely to stay in oversupply

By: Robyn Wilkinson     22nd July 2016 Despite China’s commitment to reducing its crude steel production capacity, the iron-ore market remains oversupplied and this is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, says engineering consultant Core Consultants CEO Lara Smith. 

Product reduces unplanned downtime, machinery replacement

By: Kimberley Smuts     22nd July 2016 Australian-listed speciality chemicals development company Alexium International has made significant inroads into the resins, films and polymers industry, owing to its newly commercialised environment-friendly flame-retardant (FR) treatment Alexiflam, which is well suited to the mining industry.... 

Product reduces unplanned  downtime, machinery replacement
UNPLANNED DOWNTIME DIVERTED One of Alexiflam's largest applications in the mining sector comprises polymers used to protect the circuit board wiring in machinery against fire

Finns unveil acid mine water solution targeted at South African mining sector

By: Dylan Slater     15th July 2016 A new solution to treat acid mine drainage (AMD), targeting the South African mining industry, was launched on July 5, in Johannesburg, as a viable and cost effective solution to remove metals and sulphates from contaminated mine water.  

Construction of tailings storage facilities at Tharisa platinum mine to be completed in six months 

By: Dylan Slater     8th July 2016 Mine development and construction company Fraser Alexander has concluded a contract for platinum group metals (PGM) miner Tharisa Minerals to install and commission a tailings storage facility at its Tharisa mine.  

Construction of tailings storage facilities at Tharisa platinum mine to be completed in six months
Fraser Alexander CEO Velile Nhlapo tells Mining Weekly about the company’s latest tailings contract

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