Mining consulting engineers, Mindset Mining Consultants, conducted a feasibility study for Sasol Mining on its proposed longwall project. The proposed longwall project forms part of the Syferfontein Colliery planning. The study looked at two mining blocks, namely Block IV and Alexander Block 2.
Mindset tasked an experienced team to provide Sasol with not only a technical view of the probability of longwall mining but to also offer operational and practical recommendations. The Mindset team included some ‘legends’ of South African longwall mining, including Mindset founder Wynand Marais (New Denmark Colliery), Steve Roos (Matla Colliery), and Don la Grange (Matla-, New Denmark, and Sigma collieries). Professor Nielen van der Merwe, who has written extensively on wall mining, provided the geotechnical insights to the project.
Ronnie van Eeden, himself with plenty of experience with longwall mining having overseen the Matla, New Denmark and Arnot longwall operations on behalf of Eskom, led the project team. Mr van Eeden stated that “Mindset was privileged to have a team that has mining and geotechnical experience in coal mining and particularly longwall coal mining that covers South Africa, India, China, the USA and Australia. This is combined with in-depth experience in coal project feasibility studies that extend from exploration to financial modelling”.
Mr van Eeden is optimistic about the probability of longwall mining at Sasol, saying “introducing a longwall that is designed to suit the mining blocks identified by Sasol, can result in higher coal resource extraction, safer mining, lower costs and a more suitably sized coal product for Sasol”.
Mindset’s managing director, Alan Gissing, stated that Mindset’s focus was to provide Sasol with a comprehensive study that included the most optimal layout and planning for the proposed mining while considering the capital expenditure associated with this mining method. Mindset, therefore, looked at the most realistic production output that would suit Sasol’s overall business case.
Mindset delivered its findings in early June 2020. The project was delivered on time and within budget, with Sasol expressing their satisfaction with the high quality of Mindset’s work.