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Johannesburg, South Africa

Webber-Youngman R.C.W.,University of Pretoria | Van Heerden G.M.J.,Anglo American Platinum Ltd.
Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy | Year: 2016

This article describes the re-engineering principles applied in the design of a personnel transportation system for the Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine in the Rustenburg area of South Africa. It incorporates conveyor belt travelling, chairlift operation, and also includes consideration of proposed changes/modifications to the existing conveyor belt infrastructure. The purpose of the project was to identify, through a process of evaluation, the appropriate option and/or combination of transportation options that would be safe in terms of personnel transportation as well as cost-effective. Alternative measures for transporting personnel (not using belt riding) would have a significant positive spin-off, increasing the availability of the belt and thereby increasing production. This paper explores the feasibility of interventions that would improve safety through eliminating risk associated with personnel transportation as well as contributing towards improving the mine's position on the cost curve. The design in consideration at the Bafokeng Rasimone Platinum Mine consists of two shaft systems, namely the North Shaft and South Shaft, each comprising twin decline shafts. One of the decline shafts is equipped with a conveyor belt for rock and personnel transportation, and the other with a winder for trackbound material transport. The conveyor belt has been used for personnel transportation since the commissioning of the shafts. The conveyor belt is equipped with platforms for personnel getting off and on the belt and a number of safety devices designed to ensure safety while travelling on the belt. Intensive training in the practical aspects of belt riding is given to every person, and unsupervised riding on the belt is permitted only once belt riding competence is demonstrated. Despite this, the safety results were poor, with 106 injuries between 2006 and May 2013. Fortunately, no fatalities were reported during this period. An investigation of alternative means for personnel transportation or engineered solutions to the current conveyor belt infrastructure in the safest, most effective, and most economical way was therefore needed. There was a major risk of safety-related stoppages being imposed following another belt accident/incident. This would prevent the mine from transporting personnel underground by belt and result in major production losses. From the commissioning of the Phase 2 shaft deepening project on both shafts, dedicated chairlifts have been used for personnel transportation as opposed to the conveyor belt installed in the Phase 1 area. The chairlifts have been in operation since 2004 and no chairlift-related incidents have been recorded thus far. According to safety statistics, it is clear that the chairlift is the safer method for the transportation of people in the shaft. To fulfil the objectives/scope of this study, it was recommended that both primary (new chairlift decline with infrastructure) and secondary options (modifications to the current conveyor belt infrastructure) be considered for implementation on both the North Shaft and South Shaft to reduce or eliminate accidents/incidents as a result of belt transportation. The associated capital expenditure would be approximately R200 million. Considering the future impact on the business as a whole, this would definitely be capital well spent. © The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2016.

Nelson L.R.,Anglo American Platinum Ltd. | Hundermark R.J.,Anglo American
Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy | Year: 2016

The critical importance of tap-hole design and management for furnace performance and longevity is explored through examining some of the specific matte, metal, and slag tapping requirements of non-ferrous copper blister and matte converting and smelting, ferroalloy smelting, and ironmaking systems. Process conditions and productivity requirements and their influence on tapping are reviewed for these different pyrometallurgical systems. Some critical aspects of the evolution of tap-hole design to meet the diverging process and tapping duties are examined. Differences and similarities in tapping practices and tap-hole management are reviewed. Finally, core aspects of tap-hole equipment and maintenance are identified - Aspects that are considered important for securing improved tap-hole performance and life, so pivotal to superior furnace smelting performance. © The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2016.

Gu Y.,University of Queensland | Schouwstra R.P.,Research Solutions | Rule C.,Anglo American Platinum Ltd.
Minerals Engineering | Year: 2014

Automated mineralogy methods and tools, such as the Mineral Liberation Analyser (MLA) and the QEMSCAN, are now widely used for ore characterization, process design and process optimization. Several case studies published recently demonstrate that large gains can be obtained through grinding and flotation optimization guided by automated mineralogy data. However, since automated mineralogy can only provide the information pointing to where the process gains can be made, it does not directly impact the production gain. Thus the question is often asked: how to value the contribution of automated mineralogy to process improvement at a particular plant. This appears to be a difficult question to answer. On close examination however, it is found that this is essentially a question of the value of information and this is reasonably well documented in various other industries. Hubbard, 2010, in chapter 7 "Measuring the Value of Information", dealt with exactly this type of problem. The value of information is the reduced risk of an investment and opportunity loss. The methods Hubbard developed can be applied to estimate the value of automated mineralogy, as well as metallurgical test work, both producing information that reduces the risk of investment.This paper first introduces Hubbard's theory on the value of information and how to measure it. It then applies his methods to estimate the value of automated mineralogy, using Anglo Platinum's fine grinding project as an example. In the end, a general model is developed to allow the simulation of the value of automated mineralogy in different mining operations constrained by different parameters. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Tupper G.B.,University of Cape Town | Govender I.,University of Cape Town | Mainza A.N.,University of Cape Town | Plint N.,Anglo American Platinum Ltd.
Minerals Engineering | Year: 2013

We describe a modelling approach to slurry transport in dynamic beds. Volume and time averaging are combined to obtain a dynamic replacement for the static Ergun equation. Solutions of the resulting dynamic equation are exhibited for a simple charge-motion model, which serves as the prototype for a practical slurry transport model. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Smith G.L.,Anglo American Platinum Ltd.
Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy | Year: 2012

The fundamental challenge facing mineral and metal companies is how to create sustainable value while operating within mandated strategic bounds, identified constraints, and variable market and economic conditions. This can be achieved by allowing the fixed physical nature of the mineral asset to drive definition of the optimal technical solution to mining and processing activities, and developing and resourcing a strategically aligned portfolio of production entities that creates flexibility to near- and longer-term business environment shifts, i.e. a production mix that allows variation of output to respond to short term market variation, within a long term context. The practical achievement of this outcome is enabled by the concept of strategic long term planning. The core elements of strategic long term planning in the metals and minerals industry, and the relationship between them, are expanded. The strategic long term planning framework is a logic construct that enables delivery of an optimized, strategically-aligned business plan from the mineral asset portfolio using a set of tools and techniques with a common language, standards, systems and processes to align decisions and actions on a cyclical basis. © The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2012.

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