The MMP embarked on a benchmark study to investigate international applicable technology developments for SA hard rock mining application, covering mechanical cutting and drill & blast methodologies. As well as to meet relevant stakeholders to strengthen collaboration efforts.
The study included visits, by MMP Research Programme Manager Martin Pretorius, to ASSMANG Black Rock Mine Operations in the Northern Cape Province, Herrenknecht AG, a manufacturing company in Germany and ended at the Sandvik Summit 2022.
“The road to modernisation is a bold step ASSMANG has taken but seeing the maturity levels of operation supported by each person taken responsibility and accountability is clearly visible across the operation,” say MMP Programme Manager, Martin Pretorius. “The positive vibe and the keen drive to continuous improvement is predominantly present to every person we came across our visit,” he adds.
Encouraging about ASSMANG is the paradigm shift approach taken, the detailed design of each task and action through effective risk assessment and procedure / task process that provides the means for each employee to be highly competent.
One of the biggest take-aways from Herrenknecht is how each of their machines is uniquely designed for a specific application, based on geotechnical study output to be used as mechanical design input for successful design, construction and implementation. “We also managed to strengthen collaboration partnerships for involvement in our research work in the Mechanised Mining Systems research programme,” says Pretorius.
At the Sandvik Summit a number of trials were presented and the common thread is that the timeline from arrival of equipment to completion of trial work, which is on average 1 year, is too long. The reason quoted for this, is that there is no effective planning and preparation, as the operators are only trained once the equipment has arrived and site preparation is also done once the equipment is in transport to the site. Some areas had infrastructural challenges. “The future strategy taken by OEMs and industry is leading towards the acceptance of electrification, automation, data & analysis and end-to-end optimisation,” says Martin Pretorius.
“OEMs and service providers are also merging efforts to strengthen integration between operational planning activities, monitoring these activities and have responsive reporting is strongly under development,” he says.
The MMP is working on aligning its strategy and efforts to the global trends and strengthening its efforts with the test mine to conduct equipment trials and performance testing with demonstration of results would have positive impact to successful uptake in industry.