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Consultancy drives mining standards innovation

Engineers bring essential expertise in geotechnical engineering, risk assessment and regulatory compliance

ESSENTIAL EXPERTISE Engineers bring essential expertise in geotechnical engineering, risk assessment and regulatory compliance

31st May 2024

By: Simone Liedtke

Creamer Media Social Media Editor & Senior Writer


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By prioritising safety, sustainability and efficiency, mining consulting company Baletsema Mining Services MD Bokang Kelepa says the company adheres to international safety and environmental standards, and that through employing a skilled workforce, it is adept at navigating the complexities of modern mining.

This holistic approach, he explains, ensures that Baletsema continues to contribute positively to the mining industry, while setting benchmarks for quality and responsible mining practices.

At the core of the company’s offerings are comprehensive engineering design and studies, through which it provides customised engineering solutions designed to optimise mining operations through feasibility analyses, project viability assessments and the development of innovative approaches.

These services, Kelepa avers, are crucial in planning and executing mining projects that are efficient and economically viable.

“Every project we undertake is an opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to engineering excellence and sustainable practices,” he explains, adding that Baletsema’s customised solutions meet the unique needs of every client, thereby ensuring optimal outcomes in every undertaking.

The company is also committed to upholding stringent standards in safety, health, environment and quality (SHEQ), with the company’s implementing SHEQ management systems to ensure compliance with regulatory standards and fostering best practices across all projects.

These efforts are pivotal in maintaining workplace safety and environmental stewardship, he adds.

Strategic Project and Construction Management

Baletsema excels in project management, providing end-to-end services that guarantee projects are delivered on time, within budget and according to precise specifications.

The emphasis on clear communication, risk management and stakeholder engagement ensures that all phases of a project are aligned with the client's expectations and industry standards, adds Kelepa.

In construction management, the company's role involves overseeing activities to ensure that contractors adhere strictly to project design and quality standards. The company effectively coordinates efforts among contractors, engineers and stakeholders to facilitate “seamless” execution.

Kelepa notes that Baletsema's commissioning services are instrumental in verifying that every project phase, from design to completion, meets all operational readiness

and compliance requirements, showcasing the company’s rigorous attention to detail.

The company’s project management strategy incorporates comprehensive planning, which involves detailed scheduling, resource allocation and budgeting.

The company also adopts proactive risk management strategies that identify and mitigate potential risks early, reducing any potential disruptions or impact on project outcomes.

Construction managers are stationed on site to oversee daily operations, ensuring strict adherence to safety protocols and environmental regulations, thereby protecting not only personnel and equipment, but also reducing the environmental impact of mining activities, aligning with global sustainability objectives, explains Kelepa.

Additionally, using independent engineers and consultants provides the company with specialised knowledge and objective insights that are crucial for tackling unique challenges and enhancing decision-making processes.

“These professionals bring a fresh perspective that complements in-house expertise, particularly in specialised areas such as environmental management and complex engineering designs,” he adds, noting that independent consultants are crucial for maintaining flexibility in operations, enabling mining companies, such as Baletsema, to scale their expertise according to project demands.

Advanced Technologies

Baletsema Mining Services leverages a suite of advanced technologies, such as drone surveying techniques, including aerial light detection and ranging, and photography, to enhance planning, surveillance and provide accurate volumetric calculations.

These surveying methods significantly increase the precision and efficiency of mining operations, facilitating better data-driven decisions, explains Kelepa.

Baletsema also uses geographic information systems for the in-depth management and analysis of geographic data, assisting in planning and decision-making processes.

Real-time data monitoring systems track equipment performance and environmental conditions through sensors and Internet-of-Things devices, thereby optimising processes.

Baletsema also prioritises safety and operational accuracy using automated and remote-controlled machinery, which Kelepa explains, reduces the need for human presence in dangerous mining areas and enhances precision in critical tasks, such as drilling and blasting.

“The firm employs advanced simulation software to model mining operations beforehand, improving operational planning, enhancing safety protocols and providing valuable training simulations,” he says.

To ensure rigorous adherence to environmental and safety standards, Baletsema offers ‘Owner’s Team Services’, which provide expert oversight and client representation during project execution.

This service is essential for maintaining the integrity and success of large-scale mining projects, ensuring that each phase aligns with set goals and quality standards.

Further, as part of its commitment to sustainable mining practices, Baletsema uses environmental monitoring tools to manage emissions and waste effectively.

Considering that the mining industry is under continuous evolution, Kelepa notes that events such as the Jagersfontein and Brumadinho tailings storage facility (TSF) failures, in South Africa and Brazil respectively, have spurred a global reevaluation of standards and practices in tailings management.

Baletsema responds to these demands by ensuring its engineers are proficient in the latest global standards and technological advancements.

Edited by Donna Slater
Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer



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