africa|efficiency|filtration|gas|gold|mining|resources|safety|service|supply chain|training|water|equipment|solutions|operations

Supplier offers on-site training to improve operations

UNLOCKING POTENTIAL Chemicals, like granular activated carbon, can be used more efficiently to improve overall operations

HANDLE WITH CARE Active Chemicals’ operator training caters to operation by evaluating how equipment and various chemicals can be used correctly and efficiently

17th March 2023

By: Nadine Ramdass

Creamer Media Writer


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Chemicals supplier Active Chemicals offers on-site technical assistance and training for operational personnel in the gold plant and water filtration works sector.

The service provides customers with valuable knowledge and insights to tackle challenges related to workers who may be unskilled where they are employed, says Active Chemicals director David Grimsley.

The training ensures that staff can efficiently use chemicals at operations, therefore maximising benefits and running plants better.

For gold plants, this results in better gold recovery and lower operating costs, while waterworks and bottlers can benefit from better performances of filtration equipment, and longer life of activated carbon.

Currently, many industries are impacted by skills shortages among the youth, which can become costly to companies because unskilled workers can affect the efficiency of operations. This, in turn, can result in increased operational costs, and wasted resources such as chemicals.

Grimsley adds that the skills gap among the youth is owing to a lack of on-the-job skills training programmes available.

He notes that an emphasis on acquiring a university qualification has resulted in skills development programmes not receiving the necessary attention or consideration.

Further, employees who have a university-level qualification often lack practical experience needed to work efficiently in plant operation environments.

Grimsley has found that, employees are often either young and lack experience or are managers who have “decades of experience”. This leaves a gap, with shortages of staff having either the right level of experience to succeed management or the expertise to train lower-level staff.

Through his experience in the mining and water filtration industries, Grimsley has the knowledge relevant to middle-management operators and aims to contribute towards bridging the skills gap directly.

Therefore, Active Chemicals’ operator training caters to the unique attributes of an operation and evaluates how equipment and various chemicals can be used correctly and efficiently.

Grimsley emphasises the need for safety when working with chemicals – such as ammonia in brewing, chlorine gas in waterworks and sodium cyanide in the mining industry – as these chemicals are highly toxic.

Through the training, personnel are taught how operations function, how to efficiently run and optimise operations and the reasoning for operators’ having to follow these processes.

Grimsley explains that, by offering this service, companies can develop the skills of staff and provide a knowledge base to enable staff to “go beyond doing their job”.

When staff do not have the skills and an understanding of what and why they are doing tasks, it can result in their being reluctant to develop, out of fear of making a mistake.

Despite Active Chemicals’ aim to empower operators through this service, Grimsley adds that there has been limited buy-in to the service.

However, gold plants that have used the service found that changes recommended and introduced through the service yielded good results, including increased gold recovery production.

While the response to the service has been limited, Grimsley believes that training and technical assistance are crucial to the success of the mining and water filtration industries, and the company will continue to provide this service to empower staff and improve operations.

Supplier Woes
Since Covid-related restrictions have been lifted, many resulting supply chain challenges have been reduced, but increasing fuel costs, shipping delays and a volatile exchange rate continue to impact on local suppliers and distributors.

Further, loadshedding increases production pressure and creates hurdles for efficient plant operation. Grimsley notes that these challenges cannot be resolved through short-term solutions.

Active Chemicals sources its chemicals directly from suppliers in India and China. Other potential sources are South-East Asia, including Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

The company supplies various operations across Africa, with agents in the respective countries to assist operations directly.

Grimsley concludes that the company’s goal is to provide the most value to clients, which the company achieves through communicating directly with chemical producers to tailor chemicals that are suited to customer requirements.

Edited by Zandile Mavuso
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Features


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