Despite operating under Covid-19 restrictions, Transnet Port Terminals’ (TPT’s) Saldanha Iron Ore Terminal (IOT) loaded 15.6-million tonnes in the first four months of the 2020/21 financial year, meeting 76% of its contractual obligations.
During the same period last year, and using a full complement of gangs and two loaders, the terminal loaded 18.5-million tonnes of ore.
Further, during the week of June 29 to July 5, the iron-ore terminal loaded 1.1-million tonnes, beating its target of 967 000 t and setting an operating norm of 8 847 t an hour.
The terminal also faced weather challenges during this time, which TPT operations for Cape channel GM Louis du Toit says resulted in 182 hours of load time being lost between April and July because of heavy storms and winds which brought the terminal to a halt.
Had it not been for the adverse weather, Du Toit believes the terminal would have been able to load another 1.4-million tonnes of ore.
“We have received compliments from our customers who have indicated that TPT’s iron-ore terminal is one of very few that has managed to operate at this level during the lockdown restrictions. As of the start of August, the terminal is fully operational while still adhering to the Covid-19 regulations,” says Du Toit.
In the overall economy of South Africa, the Saldanha IOT plays an important role, with the Minerals Council South Africa’s 2019 Facts and Figures Pocketbook showing that the country mined 70.5-million tonnes of iron-ore in 2019.
Of this, 91% was exported with total nominal sales earning R71.4-billion, and the majority of this ore was exported through the Saldanha facility which has a capacity of 60-million tonnes a year.