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Africa|Botswana|Business|Design|Energy|Environment|Immersive Technologies|Mining|PROJECT|Projects|Safety|Service|Simulator|Surface|Sustainable|System|Technology|Training|Trucks|Underground|Equipment|Solutions
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Simulators drive safety at diamond mine

CREATING A SAFETY MINDSET Virtually exposing operators to their operating environments will create a safety mindset prior to them being in the real environment that they will be operating in

Photo by Immersive Technologies

SIMULATING EQUIPMENT The Immersive Technologies PRO4-B transportable simulator platforms and conversion kits simulate the Komatsu haul truck and rope shovel, simulating the operability of the equipment

Photo by Immersive Technologies

29th September 2023

By: Lynne Davies

Creamer Media Reporter

     

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To improve new-employee integration and ensure that existing employees are continually upskilled, mining equipment simulator provider Immersive Technologies has supplied multiple high-fidelity, advanced simulators to the Botswana-based Jwaneng mine, owned by diversified miner Anglo American subsidiary Debswana.

The simulators support the Jwaneng training team and their programmes to improve fleet and operator performance, with a specific focus on the key metrics of safety, productivity and machine reliability.

Jwaneng’s training centre includes two Immersive Technologies PRO4-B transportable simulator platforms and conversion kits, replicating the Komatsu 930E-4 haul trucks and the 7495 rope shovel – designed to simulate the operability of equipment to original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) specifications.

The Jwaneng diamond mine is located in south-central Botswana, about 120 km west of capital Gaborone, in the Naledi river valley of the Kalahari.

“Jwaneng operates some of the largest equipment fleets in the industry, which makes it an area of high-risk. Ensuring operators are trained to the highest standards of safety becomes paramount,” says Immersive Technologies Southern African Development Community Africa manager Gavin Wood.

“Partnering with Immersive Technologies in a solution that enables us to virtually expose novice operators to the environment in which they will operate engraves a safety mindset before exposing them to the real high-energy environment,” says Jwaneng senior mining engineer Tsetsa Phariti.

As with any site that is remote, ensuring a high-level of system availability is critical to the success of the programme.

“Immersive Technologies technical advisers provide on-site assurance at regular annual intervals to Jwaneng,” adds Wood.

He says the robust nature of the Immersive Technologies simulators and their rugged design for harsh work environments have resulted in maximum uptime as a result of the service support from Immersive Technologies to Jwaneng.

Immersive Technologies’ solutions are custom-made to suit the specifications of their intended use and operating conditions, the mine’s equipment fleet type and whether equipment is used underground or for surface mining.

The mine’s team has developed new skills through the courses provided by Immersive Technologies to efficiently manage their own simulation programmes, tailoring scenarios to changing mine needs.

Another key factor in determining the appropriate training programme and the level of support required for a specific mine is the relative maturity of the mine in terms of data management, training facilities and human capital development, notes Wood.

“Supporting this capability is a mining adviser who provides deep-level insights and data-analysis reporting,” he says.

Women Empowerment

One of the major projects under way at Jwaneng, and which incorporates Immersive Technologies’ simulator technology, is driving increased female participation in the mining sector.

Phariti is working on programmes at the mine to drive the success of continuous improvement projects or initiatives such as the drive to train more female operators at Jwaneng.

“Mining companies that aim to intentionally increase female representation in the industry are setting themselves up for a high chance of success,” she states.

Research suggests that having a good balance between both genders in the workplace balances teams through broadened perspectives and approaches to problem-solving.

“Companies are further likely to be more innovative and, as a result, improve their profitability levels – which is a necessity in this highly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business world,” adds Phariti.

She says that having women in the mining industry provides a positive community impact, as it closes the income gap between the genders, thus stabilising and harmonising society.

Jwaneng, amid Botswana’s national Vision 2036 ideals and global ambitions to achieve the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, is committed to transforming its business process to create equal opportunities, drive diversity by drawing value from the differences among people, and drive inclusion by ensuring that the company’s environment and processes are conducive to all, Phariti explains.

Jwaneng mine, under the leadership of current GM Koolatotse Koolatotse, has embarked on a project to train 150 women on mine machinery operation, estimated at four-million Pula.

“The Immersive Technologies simulations and supervisor development modules are effective training methods to ensure the operation remains safe and productive through the entire project phase,” Phariti.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

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