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Mine focuses on steady-state production, tech, cost saving

An image of the Khanye colliery

IMPROVING MINE OPERATIONS Canyon Coal aims to use technology to optimise operational processes and increase profitability at its Bronkhorstspruit-based Khanye Colliery

3rd May 2024

By: Lumkile Nkomfe

Creamer Media Reporter

     

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Coal exploration and mining company Canyon Coal is focusing on maintaining steady-state coal production at its Khanye Colliery, in Bronkhorstspruit, Gauteng, with the miner having made significant progress in the past six months by improving production through smarter operational management, improved planning and cost-saving initiatives.

The company has also made headway in reaching final rehabilitation levels in all three of the colliery’s opencast sections, demonstrating its commitment towards environmental sustainability and responsible mining practices.

Khanye Colliery reached steady-state production a few years ago, enabling it to strategically focus on mine efficiency and effective operational planning. Production targets for Khanye remain at 2.4-million tonnes a year for mining and plant feed.

In addition, the colliery’s plant has processed 10.47-million tonnes of coal while mining has accounted for 12.44-million tonnes of coal.

Canyon Coal plans to further increase the profitability and operational efficiency of Khanye by optimising processes and leveraging technology to achieve sustainable growth and maintain a competitive edge in the market.

Meanwhile, in terms of challenges, the colliery encounters logistical issues concerning coal transportation to the ports owing to State rail company Transnet’s ongoing difficulties, as well as degraded service delivery in neighbouring townships, which, in turn, impacts on employee attendance and leads to disruptions in the operation of the mine, points out Khanye mine manager Dawid Venter.

However, he stresses that these challenges present opportunities for optimising operations, exploring innovative solutions and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Embracing Technology

Venter says Khanye is actively integrating innovations and digital solutions into its operations to enhance efficiency, sustainability and safety.

Efforts levelled at exploring new products and technologies are aligned with a level-nine directive on collision avoidance systems, including blasting software and mine planning technologies.

“These initiatives reflect the colliery’s commitment to continuous improvement and responsible mining practices, fostering a culture of innovation and enhancing operational performance,” he elaborates.

In expressing its commitment to mitigating the environmental impact of its operations, Khanye is engaged in concurrent rehabilitation activities and is investigating the reseeding of topsoil; the latter being aligned to Canyon Coal’s approved environmental management plan for Khanye.

Venter says these efforts aim to mitigate eventual mine-closure costs, reduce rehabilitation liability and further reduce the environmental footprint of Khanye’s operations.

In the promotion of health and safety within its operations, the colliery implements stringent protocols and comprehensive training programmes to ensure the wellbeing of mine employees and contractors.

The mine also actively collaborates with original equipment manufacturers and other contractors to leverage new technologies to align with its safety imperatives.

“As of April 1, Khanye Colliery achieved 2 289 days without fatalities, and efforts are ongoing to further improve lost-time injuries, first aid cases and medical treatment-free days,” Venter adds.

As part of the mine’s corporate social responsibility contribution, the colliery engages in community outreach programmes and maintains transparent communication through established forums.

Venter hails the undertaking of Khanye’s local economic development project at the Mkhambi Primary School in Bronkhorstspruit, where the colliery has assisted in upgrading work and renovations.

In line with its efforts to promote the development of skilled professionals in the mining industry, Khanye offers bursaries for studies in electrical, mechanical, civil and mining engineering, as well as in environmental science and safety management.

Venter asserts that the colliery is a significant part of mining investment company Menar’s growing portfolio of mining assets.

“As a flagship opencast mine within Menar’s coal operations, Khanye Colliery plays a crucial role in the company’s strategic vision. Its focus on operational efficiency, cost savings and environmental stewardship underscores its significance as a model for sustainable mining practices within the industry,” he concludes.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

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