Local manufacturer lights up DRC mine

14th July 2023

Local manufacturer lights up DRC mine

ONLY-WAY The selection of the BEKA Schr├ęder OPTIWAY low-power light-emitting diode bulkhead was the best solution for the mines lighting requirements

The Kipushi mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been illuminated using an underground lighting solution made possible by South African lighting solutions manufacturer BEKA Schréder.

The Kipushi project, a historical underground mine located in the DRC's province of Haut-Katanga, is adjacent to the town of Kipushi and about 30 km southwest of the provincial capital of Lubumbashi.

Kipushi Corporation (KICO), which operates the mine, is a joint venture between Ivanhoe Mines with a 68% interest, and State-owned mining company Gécamines, which holds the remaining 32% stake.

Once production starts at the brownfield project, the mine is expected to become one of the largest zinc mines in the world.

Currently construction is progressing at the Kipushi project, following the mine being placed on care and maintenance in 1993.

Earthworks and civil engineering work started in the second half of 2022.

The average zinc production from Kipushi is estimated to be 225 000 t/y.

“BEKA Schréder is proud to have supplied the underground lighting solutions to this mine,” says BEKA Schréder export branch manager Paulo Mamede.

The Full Solution

Mamede says the underground lighting solution comprises of the OPTIWAY and OPTILINK, as well as LEDNOVA-MIDI bulkheads.

The OPTIWAY is a small, highly-versatile and robust low-power light-emitting diode (LED) bulkhead which can be mounted on any structure, is highly robust and offers high photometric performance.

The OPTIWAY uses the latest LED technology and unique optical distribution that suits most lighting applications.

“Additionally its small size and robust design will provide the necessary amount of light for any low-power bulkhead application,” he adds.

The OPTIWAY is suitable for use in various industrial environments, which include underground haulage, outdoor mining areas, oil and gas refineries, food and beverage plants, manufacturing process plants and any application that requires a low-power and robust luminaire.

The uniquely designed optional OPTILINK plug-in system simplifies the installation process significantly, especially for underground mining applications.

The OPTILINK system is a pre-wired plug-and-play system designed to mount the OPTIWAY at predefined spacings by means of a tool-less plug-in system.

Each connection box is pre-wired using armoured cable with alternating phase on each one of them. The OPTILINK system is supplied in 100 m system lengths.

Once the OPTIWAY is plugged onto the OPTILINK system, it cannot be removed, thus making it highly vandal- and theft-proof.

The LEDNOVA is a robust and versatile LED bulkhead, which offers improved photometric performance and high reliability to reduce energy consumption and maintenance in all types of lighting applications.

The LEDNOVA range is suitable for use in various environments, which include outdoor mining areas, oil and gas refineries, food and beverage plants, manufacturing process plants and any application that requires robust and well-built luminaires.

The LEDNOVA has been developed to reduce disability glare and consequently improve the quality of light.

The LEDNOVA range can be used in hazardous environments where a Zone 2 or 21/22 rated luminaire is required, and is also available with a battery backup version, to be used in emergency situations.

Zone 2-rated luminaires are those used in areas where hazardous gases or vapours are present, while Zones 21 & 22 refer to areas at risk from hazardous dust.

Mamede points out that BEKA Schréder develops and manufactures robust, versatile and energy-efficient LED lighting products in South Africa, designed and suitable for local conditions, as well as those of other African mining applications.

“We are very proud to be associated with KICO mine in providing a successful underground lighting solution for this project,” he concludes.

The Kipushi project is based on the high-grade, underground zinc/copper mine in the Central African Copperbelt, which mined about 60-million tonnes, grading 11% zinc and 7% copper, between 1924 and 1993.

In addition to producing copper and zinc, the mine produced 12 673 t of lead and about 278 tonnes of germanium between 1956 and 1978.