Man vs machine

By: Matthew Wood – Writer

Throughout 2014 MMPR has spoken to a number of business people, experts, consultants, and veterans in the mining industry. One topic that increasingly came up was the debate between automation and manpower.

Extracted excerpts show:


Elizabeth-Jean Botha, owner of Mining Ventilation Services 2 cc, which specialises in manufacturing mine ventilation doors used as part of the mine ventilation system, explained the necessity and more: “The way forward is definitely mechanising the opening and closing of the door from the safety aspect, the deeper the mines are going, the greater the pressure exerted on the doors, and the more the mines are going to have to mechanise.”

“Ventilation on demand is an option that we are exploring,” said Rudy Giessenburg, Anglo Gold Ashanti engineering manager (Moab Khotsong and Great Noligwa). “In other words the system only ventilates the areas where people are in, and also at the time that they are underground. The intent is to save power but not to compromise the safety of the people underground. The environmental conditions will be monitored continuously and ventilation will be supplied automatically when underground conditions require this, for instance when gases are present, or if underground temperatures rise above set standards.”


“Mechanised drilling contributes to safety and production,” said Otto Coetzer, Vula Drilling Director: Product Development.

“From a safety point of view there are remotely operated drill rigs. From a production point of view the bigger the drills are, the bigger the blast and thus the bigger the volume of rock that can be extracted.

With conventional drilling, human fatigue is the biggest problem, it is not an easy job to do for eight hours. Vibration causes white knuckle syndrome and high noise levels are detrimental.

Mechanised drilling is safer, more efficient, and provides a solution to the disrupted workforce that comes in the form of strikes. However, switching over from conventional drilling to mechanisation is expensive. The problem with mechanisation is that you have to adapt it to a mine’s development right from the start. Older mines don’t have mechanised mining as it was not designed for that kind of space. Mechanisation creates a debate as to whether it is good or bad, i.e. the loss of jobs versus the preservation of human lives.”

“Mechanisation is key to the success of Redpath Mining in South Africa, as well as the rest of Africa. It’s about creating a sustainable future for our people,” said Redpath Mining South Africa (RMSA) Managing Director, Ockert Douglas. “We have the benefit of sharing and transferring knowledge with our sister companies. As we are represented throughout the world we can now bring that knowledge to South Africa, as mechanised mining is far more advanced in countries like Canada and Australia.”

Click here to read the full feature article on page 08 of the Sep/Oct 2014 issue of MMPR ...

Rock out

It is always helpful, just to garner a morsel of relevant information, to refer to the world-famous Wikipedia; to get the ball rolling in coming to understand a topic under the knife of discussion.
“Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which they change.

Geology can also refer generally to the study of the solid features of any celestial body (such as the geology of the Moon or Mars).Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth by providing the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates. In modern times, geology is commercially important for mineral and hydrocarbon exploration / exploitation as well as for evaluating water resources.


Electra Mining Africa to showcase latest products and technology

Visitors can expect to see many leading-edge South African companies in the packed halls, marquees and outside precincts at Electra Mining Africa this year, which takes place from 15-19 September at the Expo Centre at Nasrec in Johannesburg.There will also be high-profile international exhibitors from countries such as Australia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Korea, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, UK, and the US. Chinese and Turkish pavilions are confirmed, as well as the Canadian Association of Mining Equipment and Services for  Export (CAMESE) pavilion.


Chemicals between us – insight into the petrochemical industry



Petrochemicals (and its respective industry) is truly a fascinating subject. However, although there is much to discus in terms of wealth and fortune, there is also the environmental aspect to take into consideration.

When it comes to petrochemical industries throughout the world there are always issues to take into consideration that are influenced and affected by a number of variables – be it of an environmental or economical nature.

MMPR spoke to PetroSA’s chief economist to get an illustrated story about how the situation fares, not only in South Africa but around the world.

As a global society we have come a long way in improving the industry in such a way that it has become more efficient, but we have also still got a very long way to go, as entire communities are often at risk to the whole industrial process of it all.

If we could find a way to exploit resources underground without putting human lives or the environment at risk then everyone wins.

Click here to read the full feature article on page 18 of the July/August 2014 issue of MMPR ...


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