Mining Precinct|Africa|Engineering|Health|Industrial|Innovation|mandela mining precinct|Mining|Platinum|PROJECT|Rock Engineering|Safety|Services|Technology|Testing|Underground|Solutions|Environmental
Mining Precinct|Africa|Engineering|Health|Industrial|Innovation|mandela mining precinct|Mining|Platinum|PROJECT|Rock Engineering|Safety|Services|Technology|Testing|Underground|Solutions|Environmental

No fall of ground fatalities so far in 2023

23rd February 2023

By: Darren Parker

Creamer Media Contributing Editor Online


Font size: - +

So far this year, no fall-of-ground (FoG) fatalities have been recorded in South Africa’s mines, Mandela Mining Precinct (MMP) advanced orebody knowledge programme manager Michelle Pienaar said on February 22.

“We are incredibly encouraged by this significant progress and hope this is a great step toward reaching zero fatalities soon. But the work is not done. We must keep the momentum,” she said.

She was speaking at a showcase and awards ceremony in Johannesburg, hosted by the MMP and the Minerals Council South Africa, where mining technology company Reutech Mining was honoured as the winner of the Rock Hazard Identification and Safe Removal Innovation Challenge.

The challenge, which was organised by the MMP and the Minerals Council, in partnership with mining companies Sibanye-Stillwater and Impala Platinum (Implats), was aimed at identifying novel solutions in rock hazard identification and safe rock removal with a focus on reducing FoGs and improving worker safety.

The initiative was part of the FoG Action Plan (Fogap), which was developed and approved by the Minerals Council's CEO Zero Harm Forum, in collaboration with the MMP's Advanced Orebody Knowledge (AOK) programme.

The AOK programme strives to increase geological confidence at and beyond the rockface, whereas the Fogap aims to reduce FoG deaths, which have historically been identified as one of the primary causes of worker fatalities in the mining sector.

“One of the Fogap’s pillars is to invest R40-million over five years in collaborative research and development on low-hanging fruit for FoG fatality elimination, including barring technology that will assist with identifying loose rock, and safely and effectively removing it,” Pienaar said.

The call for proposals in the rock hazard identification category attracted solutions featuring ground-penetrating radar technology, thermal and acoustic imaging, laser imaging, detection and ranging-compatible drones, and millimetre-wave synthetic aperture radar imaging for real-time rock mass quality inspection, besides others.

Pienaar explained that, between August and October last year, solution providers from around the world submitted proposals for innovations and tools which could help in the identification of rock hazards underground by mining teams and assist with the safe and controlled removal of loose rocks found to be at risk of falling.

In November last year, a team of judges comprised of representatives from the MMP, Minerals Council, Sibanye and Implats selected the top seven entries. A virtual "pitching den" event in December served as the final round of judgement for the submissions that had been shortlisted.

Seven solution providers were chosen to provide detailed proposals with technical considerations and their vision for further development and scale-up, along with demonstration videos, and a concise yet comprehensive final pitch.

“The judges deliberated and considered these solutions from a variety of angles that provide a good indication of their promise and merit of success, and selected one overall winner, three runners-up, and three finalists,” Minerals Council safety and sustainability senior policy analyst Lerato Tsele explained.

Reutech Mining won the challenge. However, the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research’s Advanced Internet of Things Group, Indian technology company Tata Consultancy Services Research, Swiss drone company Flyability were named as runners-up.

“This is certainly not the end of the process. We have put up prize money of R1-million for the winner and we've given them guidelines as to the things we want them to pursue now with this technology, which needs further improvement to satisfy our needs in industry. We'll give them guidance and direction, with milestones that we want them to achieve in the future,” Minerals Council rock engineering programme manager Duncan Adams told Mining Weekly.

Other finalists in the challenge were online collaboration platform Stratafy, mining technology Ramjack Technology Solutions, and Canadian industrial technology company RockMass Technologies.

“We are incredibly encouraged by the significant reduction of fatalities due to FoGs this year, and hope this is a great step toward reaching zero fatalities – but the work is not done,” Tsele said.

MMP director Johan le Roux said innovation has been shown to directly enhance performance in the environmental, social and governance space, with the clearest evidence of this being improvements in health and safety and the significant progress made to date towards zero harm for the workforce.

Tsele and Le Roux both expressed optimism that the combined efforts of the MMP and the Minerals Council would lead to the discovery of solutions that are appropriate for the problem at hand and that will save lives and result in a more effective and productive workflow.

The next phase of the project, which involves additional development, testing and piloting with the partners' mines, will now be undertaken by the Reutech Mining team and the other finalists.

Adams said the second part of the challenge, which sought technology to safely remove loose overhead rocks without the use of a pinch bar, was still ongoing, as a viable and economical solution had not yet been found.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online


Latest News

M&R's offices in Bedfordview, Gauteng
M&R again fails to regain control of RUC
4th October 2023 By: Creamer Media Reporter


Aqs image
AQS Liquid Transfer

AxFlow AQS Liquid Transfer (Pty) Ltd is an Importer and Distributor of Pumps in Southern Africa

Booyco Electronics
Booyco Electronics

Booyco Electronics, South African pioneer of Proximity Detection Systems, offers safety solutions for underground and surface mining, quarrying,...


Latest Multimedia

sponsored by

Option 1 (equivalent of R125 a month):

Receive a weekly copy of Creamer Media's Engineering News & Mining Weekly magazine
(print copy for those in South Africa and e-magazine for those outside of South Africa)
Receive daily email newsletters
Access to full search results
Access archive of magazine back copies
Access to Projects in Progress
Access to ONE Research Report of your choice in PDF format

Option 2 (equivalent of R375 a month):

All benefits from Option 1
Access to Creamer Media's Research Channel Africa for ALL Research Reports, in PDF format, on various industrial and mining sectors including Electricity; Water; Energy Transition; Hydrogen; Roads, Rail and Ports; Coal; Gold; Platinum; Battery Metals; etc.

Already a subscriber?

Forgotten your password?







sq:0.079 0.114s - 109pq - 2rq
Subscribe Now