South African mining company Booysendal Platinum, a subsidiary of Northam Platinum, has once again made use of technology developed by ropeway manufacturer Doppelmayr, for an extension project at its Booysendal site.
A RopeCon system has been transporting platinum ore in Booysendal since the end of 2018. In December 2021, the second installation, Booysendal North, was handed over to the customer.
This second RopeCon serves another mining area situated in the northern part of the site. It transports about 400 t/h of material over a distance of 2.8 km and a difference in elevation of -160 m.
The Booysendal North RopeCon discharges the material into the same silo from which the material is loaded onto the Booysendal South system, which Doppelmayr says makes it a suitable link in a continuous conveying line.
Since early this year, the second loading point along the line has been in use as well.
The option of an alternative loading point was provided at tower two.
A conventional feeder conveyor transports the material to the RopeCon line, where it is loaded directly onto the belt through a chute.
The RopeCon technology system offers the advantages of a ropeway and combines them with the properties of a conventional belt conveyor, Doppelmayr says.
It explains that the system essentially consists of a flat belt with corrugated sidewalls – just as on conventional belt conveyors, the belt performs the haulage function. It is driven and deflected by a drum in the head or tail station and fixed to axles arranged at regular intervals to carry it.
The axles are fitted with plastic running wheels which run on fixed anchored track ropes and guide the belt. The track ropes are elevated off the ground on tower structures.
Doppelmayr says that, by using the RopeCon system, the customer did not have to rely on trucks to transport the material, which it highlights as an advantage in this topographically challenging terrain with its sometimes very steep roads.
Moreover, using the roads only for the transport of people and supplies will result in lower road maintenance costs, the company notes.
Doppelmayr points out that Booysendal was also particularly careful to choose a transport system that would minimise the environmental footprint of the mine.
By guiding the RopeCon over towers, the space required on the ground is reduced to a minimum, or more precisely to the tower locations.
At the same time, the system does not represent an insurmountable obstacle for wildlife or humans. The track crosses a number of roads, and even wildlife can roam freely underneath the RopeCon.