Digitisation slashes Sibanye-Stillwater’s loco incidents

Creamer Media screenshot of Sibanye-Stillwater DigiMine presentation at Wits University.

A total of 1 152 locomotives move 36-million tons of ore and interface with 58 500 employees in a confined area.

29th September 2021

By: Martin Creamer

Creamer Media Editor


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JOHANNESBURG ( – Digitisation has slashed by nearly 70% underground locomotive incidents at Sibanye-Stillwater’s South African gold and platinum group metal (PGM) mines.

The digital locomotive systems improve safety and productivity by managing interactions and logistics.

Already, R330-million has been invested and on the cards is the probable investment of an additional R800-million to improve data volume, velocity and veracity still further.

“When you look at the big picture, we have 1 152 locomotives moving 36-million tons of ore and interfacing with 58 500 of the company’s employees in a confined area,” Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman told this year’s DigiMine event organised by the University of the Witwatersrand and covered by Mining Weekly.

“We have identified 3 600 behaviours and actions for each locomotive per day. These are monitored and used to help guide training and improved behaviours,” said Froneman, who described the size of the Johannesburg- and New York-listed company’s underground South African locomotive fleet as probably being ten times that of Transnet.

“Having data as granular as this is incredibly important to be able to address the bad behaviours that cause accidents,” he added.

Trained and licensed to drive the locomotives with operational excellence and safety consciousness are 4 200 employees.

Multi-source data dual management systems ensure the fitness for operation and data visualisation is used to improve shortcomings.

The solution ensures that employees are fit-for-operation ahead of allowing a locomotive to start, with identification of behavioural trends being provided by visualisation and analysis allowing for targeted interventions.

“We take the information, we show it to the drivers and if they continue to ignore the requirements for proper behaviour underground, we take appropriate action.

“We’ve seen significant safety improvements and this also allows us to utilise all these locomotives far more effectively than we were before," said Froneman.

Future ambitions are to expand the current capability to cover the company’s broader global footprint and the incorporation of artificial intelligence is expected to enhance predictive and pre-emptive analytical capabilities.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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