Mechanised Drill and Blast (MDB)

“Mining safely and effectively, with zero exposure”

The Mechanised Drill & Blast programme is targeted at providing sustainable mechanised solutions to the gold and platinum mining industries by introducing disruptive technologies to facilitate zero harm and achieve financially sound underground mining operations with consistent production rates at optimal cost.

The objectives of the Mechanised Drill & Blast programme are as follows:

To use mechanised technology to maintain specified safety standards when accessing new reserves;
To increase the reserves within targeted operations using mechanised technologies;
To increase the efficiency of mining operations by implementing disruptive technologies;
To lay the foundation for the ultimate business objective of achieving 24/7 mining operations within the gold and platinum industries;
In cases where original equipment manufacturers are unable to provide a commercial solution, the design and production of such equipment will be conducted locally;
To assist in the development and implementation of the Technology Assessment and Readiness Atlas; and
To pursue any prototypes developed in the programme and highlighted as feasible with a partner within the Mining Equipment Manufacturers of South Africa.

Non-explosive Rock Breaking (NERB)

“Non-stop production, zero harm, no waste mining”

The goal of the Non-Explosive Rock Breaking programme is to identify, develop and support the implementation of solutions that will enable the continuous breaking of rock from tabular, hard-rock orebodies.

Systems will be implemented to ensure that the fragmentation of rock is easily loaded, transported and processed. The system will be incorporated into a layout that maximises extraction by reducing waste mining and reducing or eliminating the need for pillars. The layout, support design and operation of systems will ensure that workers are not exposed to unnecessary rockfalls or seismic risk, thereby supporting the industry goal of achieving zero harm. The energy and consumable requirements of the system will be limited to allow for the cost-effective implementation of the system.

Continuous production with minimal waste mining is necessary for the continued viability of South African mines, and it has the potential to revolutionise mining in South Africa and the region. It has the potential to spark the growth of a local equipment manufacturing industry and will position the South African mining research community as world leaders in the field.


 The research conducted through this programme will focus on:

  • Safer mining operations through the implementation of workplace transformation;
  • Efficient mining operations by improving the skill level of the workforce;
  • The shift in volume to “quality volume” production e.g. less or no dilution by providing customised mechanised solutions;
  • Maximising “quality volume” production by implementing innovative solutions to increase machine availability and utilisation; and
  • Financially sound returns with an increase in the reserve statement.

MMS Projects

Compilation and Categorization of South Africa’s Gold and PGM Resources

South Africa’s mining industry lacks a compilation of the remaining PGM and gold resources, with an identification of green- and brownfields areas for future exploration and mining…

Diamond Wire Cutting

In previous years, diamond wire systems were trialled at a number of sites in gold mines. The main implementation issue was wire failure due to rock mass closure.

Thermal Spalling

The implementation of solutions to enable the continuous breaking of rock from tabular, hard-rock orebodies should result in rock fragmentation that is easily loaded…