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Contractor achieves consecutive safety milestones

An image of Rosond MD Ricardo Ribeiro.

RICARDO RIBEIRO The safety achievements are attributed to the culture of caring and responsibility inculcated on all Rosond’s operational sites

27th January 2023

By: Nadine James

Features Deputy Editor


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Drilling and grouting services company Rosond has marked a year of zero harm at platinum producer Anglo American Platinum’s (Amplats’) Tumela mine in the Limpopo province, South Africa.

Rosond safety head Andre Kleynhans explains that the company is conducting pack grouting operations at the Tumela mine, and also provides underground diamond drilling and surface exploration drilling for the Amandelbult complex – which comprises the Tumela and Dishaba mines – having worked with Amplats for more than 30 years.

He stresses that this safety achievement is proof of the successful implementation of Rosond’s health and safety processes, especially as it follows the celebration of a year of zero harm at Rosond’s diamond drilling operation at Kumba Iron Ore’s Sishen mine in the Northern Cape.

“Both these achievements are attributed to the culture of caring and responsibility inculcated on all Rosond’s operational sites,” comments Rosond MD Ricardo Ribeiro.

Kleynhans explains that pack grouting is a critical primary support function which allows the client to mine safely in adverse ground conditions and is part of the support standard for the life-of-mine. Moreover, Rosond has built up its reputation in industry with grouting services as a foundation and, as such, it has become a critical part of its service offering.

Kleynhans notes that roughly 120 Rosond staff were on site at Tumela throughout the year, and their camaraderie and diligence were key to Rosond’s attaining this milestone.

“We believe we are each other’s keepers, and this helps to ensure that everybody goes home safely. Senior management also works with mine management and the wider community to ensure that any social problems that may lead to unsafe behaviours are identified, to eliminate risks that may arise from a lack of concentration or other influences.”

Additionally, Rosond, in partnership with mine management identifies hazards and risks in the baseline and issue-based risk assessments. Thereafter, they establish controls to mitigate the risks identified. These controls are implemented based on the ‘hierarchy of controls’, with elimination and “engineering out” of hazards a priority. These are paired with effective administrative controls.

“Safe operating procedures are compiled which are used to develop effective training programmes. Employees on all levels receive the necessary training to ensure competent personnel operate our equipment and perform their work safely. Further, supervision plays a pivotal role in managing various crews to ensure that safety remains the foremost priority when executing tasks.”

Kleynhans says that Rosond also maintains a robust safety department with oversight and adherence to and governance of legislation and procedures. Reports are generated to identify deviations and, if needed, action is taken to curb incidents and accidents.

He adds that the contractor also looks to continuously improve on practices and solutions to enhance safety measures, as well as improve on other key performance indicators.

“Equipment and systems are constantly monitored and improved upon by using new materials that become available to limit breakdowns and consumable wear.” Further, the company has developed a grouting system that is cost-effective and efficient, and is subject to constant improvements, such as the incorporation of telematics, remote monitoring and support services.

The Devil is in the Details

In terms of the specific actions taken at the Amandelbult operation, Kleynhans notes that Rosond established various critical controls when identifying ‘priority unwanted events’, to limit the health and safety risks posed when pumping cement for grouting purposes.

This included regulating the flow of cement using a simple, but specifically designed device designed to safely regulate flow; effective guarding on moving and rotating equipment, which incorporates proximity switches to cut machinery if the guarding is removed while the equipment is operational; and completing careful examination processes to ensure that all work spaces are made safe before crews enter.

Rosond also used a “unique relay system” to reduce pressure in grout ranges, which lowered the risk of grout pipe failures. It implemented live monitoring of the grout plant production using integrated monitoring systems for remote operation and fault finding, and it created specialised pump designs to maximise durability and output.

Kleynhans emphasises that the safety of its employees is its “number one priority”, and stresses that the company will not pursue any type of activity if it cannot do it safely.

“We want to internalise and positively contribute to our mining partners’ visions of safety, to the point where we are considered valued employees rather than contractors.

“The entire mining fraternity has changed its vision to one that states that ‘an accident for one is an accident for all’ and it does not want contractors who do not share the goal of Zero Harm,” he comments.

Rosond and Anglo American and its subsidiaries will have representatives attending the Investing in African Mining Indaba, which will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from February 6 to 9.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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