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Fluid conveyance company completes R16.5m Zambian project

18th January 2013

By: Gia Costella

  

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Fluid conveyance solutions provider Rare completed and commissioned a R16.5-million high-density polyethylene (HDPE) piping project for African mining company Chambishi Metals on September 30, expanding the refinery plant’s output to 50 000 t/y of London Metal Exchange grade-A copper.

Rare completed the project, located near Kitwe, in Zambia, in the stipulated 105 days.

The solutions provider’s scope of work for the project involved the supply, fabrication and erection of 6.3 km of HDPE piping, including steel supports.

“The intention was to upgrade the plant by installing copper solvent extraction circuits to treat the solution coming from various sources within the plant.

“The existing copper electrowinning circuit was modified to accommodate the solvent extraction strip in the circuit solution. A solvent extraction strip was installed to remove as much copper as possible from the solution, which is fed to the cobalt-refining plant,” says Rare pipeline services manager Carl von Graszouw.

He says the new facilities were built as a combination of brownfield installations that were integrated into the existing facilities and greenfield installations adjacent to the leach circuit.

The HDPE piping was manufactured using butt fusion and socket fusion.

“Rare was chosen for the project owing to our experience in chemical plant installations in Africa; our registered business in Zambia; key personnel being made available; and key equipment being located in Zambia, which enabled us to avoid additional transport costs,” says Von Graszouw.

The company allocated eight key staff members from South Africa and involved 35 personnel from Zambia, including administrators, plastic and steel welders, riggers and equipment operators, to do the installation.

“Working in Zambia meant that the planning for the equipment, materials and personnel had to be precise. Rare had to ensure that required materials were checked thoroughly at the source before delivery and had to coordinate the shipping of materials to ensure the optimisation of space.

“The project also had to be completed during the dry season to avoid delays resulting from heavy rains,” he says.

Further, Von Graszouw notes that logistics posed a challenge for the company.

“South African staff had to return home every ten weeks and planning had to be in place to ensure work on site carried on in spite of the rest periods. Management had to strategically rotate South African personnel by grouping teams around those who were multi-skilled to ensure continuity of work.

“Further, to ensure all staff arrived at work on time, Rare had to provide a bus to transport personnel from various locations in the mornings and in the afternoons,” he says.

Going forward, Van Graszouw says, there are opportunities for Rare to be involved in the maintenance of the updated infrastructure at the Chambishi Metals site.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online

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