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Company improves efficiency, safety in underground operations

TRANSFER CHUTE INSTALLATION Though transfer chutes may not be directly involved in the shaft sinking stage of development of a mine, they can used later during materials handling within the mine

CORE FOCUS Engineering, procurement and construction management outsourcing enables miners to concentrate on their core objectives

TED CRUICKSHANK At Weba Chute Systems, we prioritise safety and efficiency in every aspect of our design and implementation process

29th March 2024


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There is a growing acknowledgement over the past few years that transfer points and chutes significantly influence overall process plant performance, says engineering company Weba Chute Systems, which adds that these components now command more attention, owing to their potential to disrupt plant processes and incur high costs in downtime, maintenance and repairs.

Weba Chute Systems provides transfer point solutions which will benefit contract miners for ore handling in underground mines.

Considering that the mining sector increasingly relies on engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) firms for new builds and expansions, this outsourcing enables miners to concentrate on their core objectives.

The advantage of engaging EPCMs lies in their design and execution capabilities, a function that many mining companies have chosen to reduce over time. According to Weba Chute Systems project manager Ted Cruickshank, this approach often streamlines supplier input, fostering a focused and efficient relationship.

For EPCMs to leverage the full benefit of our decades of experience in transfer points, early engagement is key, preferably during the bankable feasibility stage,” he explains, adding that this ensures optimal upfront planning of transfer points, as their positioning is crucial to many other aspects of the plant.

Challenges like chute choking, high wear-and-tear, spillage, skew belt loading and damaged idlers can be mitigated if EPCMs don’t involve transfer point specialists early in the process, notes Cruickshank.

This enables for informed plant layout decisions to be made before final designs are tabled, leading to more accurate project cost estimates, he explains.

However, Cruickshank stresses the importance of transfer point height in controlling ore flow through chutes and on to conveyors with optimal belt loading, low impact and reduced wear.

Weba Chute Systems collects detailed technical data from clients on material characteristics, tonnages, particle size distribution and other factors, to custom-engineer transfer chutes for specific ore types.

Though transfer chutes may not be directly involved in the shaft sinking stage of development of a mine, Cruickshank notes they could be used later during materials handling within the mine.

To cater for the demanding field of underground mining, where efficiency, safety and precision are paramount considerations, Weba Chute Systems offers modern transfer point solutions that it says redefine material conveyance underground.

As mines progress, mining operations face increasing complexities, where innovative solutions become crucial.

At Weba Chute Systems, we prioritise safety and efficiency in every aspect of our design and implementation process,” says Cruickshank, who adds that Weba’s innovative flow-controlled chute design ensures significant control over material speed, reducing the risk of accidents and spillages underground.

The underground environment poses unique challenges, but with Weba Chute Systems, these challenges are met with precision and efficiency,” he adds.

The confined spaces, irregular angles and limitations on component size are skillfully navigated with Weba’s custom-designed chutes, optimising space use and streamlining material flow.

Our solutions are engineered to adapt to diverse underground applications, ensuring maximum efficiency and safety,” notes Cruickshank, adding that with over 100 successful installations in underground environments, the company has demonstrated its expertise in delivering tailored solutions that exceed industry standards.

“Our commitment to minimising disruptions during installation ensures seamless integration with ongoing mine operations,” Cruickshank says.

The company says its advanced design principles, precise engineering and strong commitment to safety consistently push the boundaries of efficiency and productivity in underground mining.

Boasting more than 5 000 successful installations across a variety of materials, Weba Chute Systems maintains its dedication to promoting sustainable growth and achieving operational excellence within the mining sector.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer




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