This issue contains our annual ‘Southern Africa's Top Five Mining Projects' feature. This covers projects - either planned, under development or recently commissioned - which we at Modern Mining believe are notable for their sheer size, their innovation or the fact that they are pioneering new mining ‘provinces'. This year our projects are located in South Africa, Namibia and the DRC and cover five separate commodities - coal, iron ore, gold, diamonds and uranium.
The coal project we have selected is the Grootegeluk Medupi Expansion Project (GMEP), now at an advanced stage of construction near Lephalale, which is designed to approximately double the size of what is already South Africa's biggest coal mine. It comprises an expansion of the existing open pit, as well as the construction of two new processing plants.
Similar in size to the GMEP - at least in terms of capex - is the new Kolomela iron mine of Kumba Iron Ore, another of our ‘Top Five', which recently shipped its first consignment of iron ore to China. Kolomela has been completed on budget and well ahead of time and has enjoyed a superb safety record which breaks all previous South African records.
The third South African project in our Top Five feature is the C-Cut at Petra's Cullinan mine, a development first proposed by De Beers - Cullinan's previous owner - in the 1990s. Petra is pursuing a streamlined version of the De Beers plan which will see Cullinan's production more than doubling - with its life at same time being extended until at least 2027 (but probably much longer.)
The two cross-border projects in our Top Five feature are the Twangiza gold mine in the DRC and the Husab (previously Rössing South) uranium project in Namibia.
Seen purely in technical terms, Twangiza is unremarkable but what does set it apart is the fact that it is the first commercial-scale gold mine to have been built in the DRC in decades and could mark the re-emergence of the Congo as a major African gold producer. For its part, Husab in Namibia - now poised for development - is notable for its sheer size. Assuming it is developed on the lines proposed in the Definitive Feasibility Study, it will be a vast open-pit operation producing about 6 800 tonnes of U3O8 a year - which would make it bigger than the Rössing and Langer Heinrich mines, Namibia's current uranium mines, combined.
|This issue of Modern Mining is available for interactive "page-flip" viewing. You'll need the latest Flash Plugin, and an ADSL or 3G internet connection to view the magazine smoothly.||You need to register with Crown Publications to read the online version of this magazine.|
Cementation moves to safer shaft sinking
Murray & Roberts Cementation, one of the world's premier underground mining contractors is transitioning to new shaft-sinking techniques pioneered by its sister company in Canada. It believes that the new methods will not only be much safer but will also lead to enhanced productivity. The company says that the first shafts to sunk using the Canadian methodology could get underway this year.
Healthy order book for BME as mining surges
In an interview with Modern Mining, Francois Hay, MD of explosives supplier BME, says that 2011 was a good year for the company. As he says, the main challenge was not so much securing new business but meeting demand from existing clients.
TWP looks for growth outside of South Africa
With South Africa's mining sector gradually shrinking, mining project house TWP has taken the view that it must expand internationally if it is to continue with the meteoric growth it has seen over the past decade.
Kumba Iron Ore excels at Kolomela
The new Kolomela iron ore mine of Anglo American's Kumba Iron Ore business unit, now all but complete, may not be the biggest or most innovative mining development that South Africa has ever seen but there is little doubt that it sets new standards in project implementation.
Grootgeluk expansion is SA's top coal project
The Grootegeluk Medupi Expansion Project, which secures the coal required for Eskom's new Medupi Power Station, is notable for the innovative technologies it is introducing, including semi-mobile tips and crushers, dry screening of fines and large cyclones.