Company to launch underground mining machines

Most of the parts used to develop the Centre For Machine Technology and Innovation’s underground mining machines were produced locally

NEW MINING CONCEPT Most of the parts used to develop the Centre For Machine Technology and Innovation’s underground mining machines were produced locally

30th October 2015

By: Bruce Montiea

Creamer Media Reporter


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Ultralow-profile mining machinery and equipment supplier Centre For Machine Technology and Innovation (CMTI Consulting) will launch two underground mining machines next month.

CMTI Consulting MD Danie Burger says the machines are still being developed and will be delivered to gold miner Sibanye Gold’s Burnstone gold mine, in Balfour, Mpumalanga, when they are ready.

“We started the design process in March last year and the actual manufacturing process in February this year. The machines are brand-new concepts that are all patented.”

He adds that almost all the parts and equipment used to manufacture the machines are produced locally.

“The local content of the equipment is above 70% and in some of the attachments the local content is close to 100%. Some of the items we import are motors, batteries and controllers. Even the gearboxes are manufactured locally,” elaborates Burger.

The Machines
The MT100, with a sweeper and a dozer attached, is a battery-driven platform with a maximum height of 420 mm and a battery life of seven hours.

Burger says a prototype of the machine was launched in September last year at the Air and Defence show at the Waterkloof Air Force Base, in Pretoria.

The multipurpose platform can be used for a variety of applications and the prototype has been used successfully in underground mines, where a laser scanner, supplied by mining software company Maptek, has been mounted on top of the platform, he explains.

The advantage of this is that the machine can be sent into dangerous areas without endangering the operator, as the person is operating it from a place of safety, Burger says.

The sweeper and dozer make it possible to re-mine previously-mined areas, where there could still be some reserves in the form of fines on the footwall, making it difficult for workers to go in. “The machine can enter areas as low as 500 mm,” he says.

Further, the MT100 is equipped with a drill rig and a mechanical breaker for nonexplosive mining. It also has a new-concept multidrill and runs by means of a trailing cable.

Burger says the main feature of the machine is that it can mine in tunnels narrower than 1 m through a semi-automated mining process. The only interface between the operator and the machine is while driving and moving the machine forward, as the actual drilling process is fully automated.

“The drill rig and breaker make the mining of unstable areas and pillars possible, as this is a nonexplosive technique where the multidrill can drill four holes simultaneously at the correct angle, depth and spacing – enabling the complete drilling of a panel in an hour, as opposed to the industry average of five to six hours,” he explains.

He adds that both machines are based on a multi-track concept where four tracks are individually driven, but can also swing around a centre point, allowing for the vehicle to negate vertical obstacles as high as 400 mm.

“This is the only mining equipment that has the capability to mine as low as 500 mm. The multi-drill concept is expected to reduce mining cost drastically, with the reduction in the time of drilling a panel. The machines can also be used with big success in platinum mining, especially in mines that were previously regarded as not being able to be mechanised,” says Burger.

CMTI is also in discussions with a number of metallurgical coal mining companies, who typically mine as low as 800 mm, who are especially interested in the dozer to use it to clean the panels, Burger says.

He adds that the mining companies mostly want to find out first how the machines are performing at the Burnstone gold mine, to enable them to make an informed decision on purchasing the machines.

Edited by Leandi Kolver
Creamer Media Deputy Editor


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