Cutting system undergoing trials

1st October 2004 By: ongezwa manyathi

International mining equipment company DBT Africa markets an electrical monorail system (EMTS) and a rope-driven monorail system (RDTS). Werner Nehrling tells Mining Weekly that the RDTS is designed to operate in small cross-sectional declines as well as standard declines, and the EMTS operates in standard cross-sectional declines as well as larger declines. He says that these systems are also used in the hard-rock industry. “In the past a winch with a rope was used but, because more mines are becoming trackless, the declines are less steep and the winch system is no longer suitable,” informs Nehrling. He says that during the development of the decline, the system can be used to support the development operation, with no need for extra logistics systems on the level. “With the monorail one can go directly to the area,” he says. The system, says Nehrling, is more efficient, flexible, and the rand-per-ton costs are equivalent to those of the winder system. He says the advantage of the system is that the monorail goes down immediately and gives the advantage of a couple of months – a decisive factor in terms of whether the mining operation is marginal or profitable. Another advantage is that with the system one can add any number of trains and easily increase the capacity. It transports staff and materials and is used during development to transport waste. Nehrling tells Mining Weekly that three systems are operational at Impala and one is operational at Harmony’s Tshepong mine. There are currently thirteen trains in oper-ation. The life cycle of the EMTS is more than 12 years depending on the maintenance programme. “The first train at Impala Platinum has been operating since 1996,” he says. Further, the RDTS is used as a support for stoping operations. The system takes the material from the haulages through a cross cut to the reef and then from the cross cut into the raise. “Its life cycle is more than 13 years,” informs Nehrling. Other news from the company is the deve-lopment of an activated drum cutting system. Nehrling says that the new development was a result of the increasing need for more mechanisation in hard-rock min-ing. The company is doing extensive research and development with a mechanised cutting system. “It’s being developed for the hard-rock mining industry and will result in savings on staff and higher production rates, with the subsequent lowering of costs,” he says. This is a move to get away from using the conventional system, which is time consuming. It also gives better strata control and can mine the exact reef without dilution of the ore. The system is still in development stages and is currently undergoing field trials and, Nehrling says, the results have improved. The development, says Nehrling, is being done in conjunction with Anglo Platinum. “One of the most important features of the system is that it will reduce power and tooling costs and will improve safety,” says Nehrling.