Africa|Contractor|Dewatering|Electrical|Fencing|Infrastructure|Mining|OPENCAST|Power|PROJECT|Project Management|Repairs|Safety|SECURITY|Services|Technology|Maintenance|Solutions|Infrastructure|Operations
Africa|Contractor|Dewatering|Electrical|Fencing|Infrastructure|Mining|OPENCAST|Power|PROJECT|Project Management|Repairs|Safety|SECURITY|Services|Technology|Maintenance|Solutions|Infrastructure|Operations

Care, maintenance solutions customised for opencast mining

CUSTOMISED COMMITMENT The success of mine care-and-maintenance depends on a commitment to customising services to meet the specific needs of every mine

DEMONSTRATED EXPERTISE Zizwe’s expertise was demonstrated in the successful completion of a care-and-maintenance project for a major opencast chrome mine

8th December 2023

By: Simone Liedtke

Creamer Media Social Media Editor & Senior Writer


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Reliable and adaptable services during care-and-maintenance phases in mining are crucial, says multi-disciplinary mining services and opencast mining contractor Zizwe Opencast Mining, emphasising that the success of this phase depends on a commitment to customising services to meet the specific needs of every mine.

These services include legal representation, maintenance activities, dewatering and security services, says Zizwe technical and commercial director Allan McCormack.

To understand the diverse demands of care-and-maintenance phases, he encourages mine owners and operators to submit the extent and scope of services the intended mining operation requires before it enters into a care-and-maintenance programme, following which Zizwe, specifically, will submit a mine-specific proposal that is aligned with the scope of work.

This personalised approach ensures that the services provided are precisely what the mine requires during its care-and-maintenance period, McCormack says.

Zizwe’s expertise was recently demonstrated in the successful completion of a care-and-maintenance project for a major opencast chrome mine, in Limpopo. The mine was placed on care and maintenance for about two years, owing to fluctuations in resource prices.

During this project, Zizwe efficiently managed the maintenance activities until the resource prices improved sufficiently to make the mine economically viable again, and mining operations resumed with few delays, he states.

Owing to the fluctuation of resource prices, McCormack laments that opencast mines, in particular, are often placed on care-and-maintenance programmes, with hopes of resuming operations when it is suitable to do so.

Opencast mining operations present a set of unique challenges during care-and-maintenance phases, and implementing effective solutions to address these issues is critical.

One significant challenge is the persistent threat of illegal mining activities prevailing in South Africa, which can severely impact on the safety of the mine, its structural integrity and access to the orebody, he adds.

To counteract the threat posed by illegal mineworkers – commonly known locally as Zama Zamas – the company follows a multi- faceted approach, combining dependable security services with technology, such as closed-circuit television and drones, especially in areas where additional surveillance is necessary.

“The implementation of advanced fencing solutions, including clear-view fencing, also plays a pivotal role in fortifying mining areas against unauthorised access,” McCormack says.

The protection of critical infrastructure, including electrical power installations, is also a priority, with regular inspections and prompt repairs of fencing and barricading to ward off unauthorised access and safeguard essential services.

Continuous dewatering of a mining operation is also essential to prevent startup delays, should activities be restarted at a mine.

Zizwe addresses this challenge by committing to ongoing dewatering activities, safeguarding infrastructure integrity and reducing potential disruptions during the transition phase.

“Through efficient project management, dependable security measures and a commitment to addressing specific challenges, Zizwe ensures that opencast mines can navigate care-and-maintenance periods effectively and resume operations seamlessly when market conditions become favourable,” he concludes.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer




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