Epoxerite continues to build on its solid track record as a leading supplier of tailor-made chemical solutions for an array of applications in the mining industry and, among these, are the large volumes of high-quality grouts that it supplies for the decommissioning of tailings dams.
These highly-regulated and complex projects rely on the skills and capabilities of only a small group of specialist contractors and their sub-contractors, such as Triponza Trading.
Triponza Trading is appointed to fill sections of drainage pipeline at the bottom of the ponds that run directly underneath the dam wall with grout. The exposed ends are then sealed to complete the stabilisation of the pipeline to avert a slope failure as part of the decommissioning process.
As an approved subcontractor to a formidable tailings management specialist, it has undertaken a host of these assignments for, among others, some of the country’s largest gold, platinum-group metals (PGM), coal and iron-ore mining houses.
Triponza Trading diversified into this market about seven years ago to extend its service offering, which includes, among others, the fabrication of steel pipelines, consumables and other steel structures at its factory in Germiston, Gauteng, on behalf of various mining contractors.
The company has already sourced well over 200 tonnes (t) of C259PS from Epoxerite to fill pipelines with diameters of between 200 millimetres (mm) and 400 mm at a large colliery in Limpopo; and a PGM miner in the North West, South Africa, in addition to a prominent zinc producer in Namibia.
Phillip du Plessis, owner of Triponza Trading, says that he values the very high quality of the company’s C259PS grout with its slight expansive nature, medium strength and thixotropic characteristics.
“I am constantly investigating different grouting products to retain a competitive edge in this market. Bear in mind our unique requirements, which vary significantly to those of a typical civil-engineering construction project. We need a grout that can be pumped easily over long distances, while also ensuring that there are no voids in the pipeline, and Epoxerite’s C259PS offers such a solution,” Du Plessis says.
Typically, the grout is pumped between 40 metres (m) to just under 200 m, and the use of a sub-standard medium that is not pumpable and flowable can result in substantial cost overruns for the contractor, as large rigs will then have to be deployed to drill down from the top of the tailing dam wall into the pipeline below to fill the remaining distances.
Triponza Trading buys the C259PS in various bag sizes. They can range from 500 kg bulk bags to 10 kg polypropylene bags, depending on the terrain, accessibility, scope and size of the project.
The product achieves a compressive strength of seven megapascal (MPa) in seven days, 22 MPa in 21 days and 32 MPa in 28 days, while the solution has both a positive early height and hardened height change.
Importantly, Du Plessis says that he is always looking for quality grouts at an affordable price, considering cost pressures in the beleaguered mining industry.
“Grouting is a significant input cost. A reasonably priced product, therefore, also greatly assists us in being able to provide our premium service at an affordable price. This has been a key driver behind our success throughout the years,” he says.
Triponza Trading has also retained its competitive edge by being willing to continuously test conventional limitations, including the existing traits of the grouts that it uses on its projects and, in so doing, the company demands robust technical support from its suppliers.
Du Plessis deals directly with Epoxerite member, George Weideman, in researching and developing ways in which to constantly improve the qualities and performance of the product for these applications.
Epoxerite is able to provide its many customers with a full turnkey solution, which spans inspections, recommendations and drafting of method statements through to the timely delivery of products, as well as training in their efficient use.
Weideman says that this capability complement the high quality of the company’s products, the outcome of both ingenuity and integrity.
“Innovation, consistent processes and confidence are among the many traits that have ensured that we remain the preferred supplier of chemical anchors, cementitious rock-bolt anchor and non-shrink grouts, concrete-repair mortars, carbon-fibre sheeting and laminates, waterproofing and epoxy crack-injection systems,” he concludes.