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MSP’s latest roof supports used by major gold producer

7th April 2023

By: Tracy Hancock

Creamer Media Contributing Editor

     

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Mining support systems manufacturer Mine Support Products (MSP) has supplied its new Camprop and Hydroprop underground roof supports to a major gold mining company.

The first order was delivered in November last year, with orders being continuously placed as the supports are used in the mine stope area as mining progresses at the company’s gold operations.

“The underground mining environment is faced with ever-increasing challenges regarding rock conditions. Bringing products to market that offer predictable performance, easy installation – thereby reducing physical load on the workforce – and an affordable price point were the main drivers behind the development of the Camprop and Hydroprop systems,” explains MSP MD Conrad Engelbrecht.

The Hydroprop is a 10 t hydraulic reuseable temporary support unit with dynamic yielding capability catering for active seismic areas, while the Camprop is a 10 t temporary mechanical support with limited yielding capability. Both products can be remotely installed and removed, he adds.

The systems were introduced in November last year, following a 24-month development process.

“MSP has a research and development (R&D) programme that continues to generate innovative support solutions that include a range of underground roof supports and accessories. We pride ourselves on developing support solutions to improve working conditions and safety in underground mines.  We regularly engage with our customers and identified some aspects that could be improved on over similar products on the market before developing the Camprop and Hydroprop. This mostly involved addressing design issues to improve consistency of performance and safety during installation and removal,” says Engelbrecht.

MSP welcomes customers to approach the company with challenges or innovative ideas which could be developed at its R&D facilities.

The company’s test facility is capable of testing loads up to 70 t at a quasi-static rate of 30 mm/min and can simulate rapid mine closure during a seismic event at 3 m/s.

“The press we use to simulate seismic activity enables us to conduct product development in a safe and controlled environment to ensure that products are tested extensively before being deployed for underground testing. This process ensures that new products can be tested safely in the underground mining environment,” elaborates Engelbrecht.

Manufactured at MSP’s Duncanville factory, in Vereeniging, Gauteng, the Camprop and Hydroprop comprise 100% local content, as all their components are manufactured from locally sourced materials.

Finding the optimal production methods to ensure consistent quality at economical cost is always a challenge, adds Engelbrecht.

“We had to develop a custom machine that enables us to punch holes in the tubing used for the main structure of the support, which equates to a significant saving in manufacturing costs.”

However, the energy crisis continues to have a detrimental effect on South African businesses, especially energy-intensive manufacturers.

To reduce the impact of loadshedding on its manufacturing capacity, MSP’s factory has installed sufficient backup generator capacity to enable production at full capacity.

The Camprop and Hydroprop supports are manufactured to order, and MSP has the capacity to produce about 1 000 units a month.

“Our current lead time is around 14 days. This should reduce as the market grows and we can optimise our stock holding,” highlights Engelbrecht.

Significantly, Australian mining suppliers have expressed interest in the Camprop and Hydroprop. MSP expects the first orders to be placed in the next couple of months.

“We are exploring the possible applications in the European market but this is still in the early stages,” adds Engelbrecht.

Interest from foreign mining markets is driven by the fact that South Africa has some of the most challenging mining conditions in the world that necessitate “out-of-the-box thinking” and innovative solutions in ground support, he notes.

“The MSP solutions developed for the South African market are, therefore, tried and tested in the most arduous conditions and are regarded as some of the best available solutions on the market.”

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