This year’s Electra Mining Africa, to be held from 10-14 September at the Expo Centre in Nasrec, Johannesburg, will – like its predecessor in 2016 – take place against the backdrop of a mining industry that is struggling to emerge from a long downturn. It is nevertheless expected to have more than 900 exhibitors, many of whom will be introducing new or upgraded products and systems. In this article, Modern Mining looks at what visitors to the show can expect to see.

Electra Mining General

A bustling exhibition hall at Electra Mining Africa 2016.

A feature of the show this year will be that each day will be themed differently. “Our first day will focus on the future of skills development and we are launching a brand new artisans training area in Hall 10,” says Charlene Hefer, Event Director for Electra Mining Africa. “On the second day, the spotlight will be on new product innovation and product launches. And day three is our proudly South African day. On the Thursday, we will put the spotlight on safety and on the last day, Friday, we will celebrate our diversity.”

Free-to-attend seminars were launched at the 2016 show. According to the organisers, these were so well received that they have been included in this year’s show as well, with an even greater range of topics to be addressed. Hosted by the South African Institution of Mechanical Engineering (SAIMechE), the seminars will be presented by expert speakers and the content will be aligned to the show’s ‘five days, five themes’ topics.

What looks to be a particularly interesting presentation will be given by Navin Singh, co-Director of the Mandela Mining Precinct and Manager for Mining R&D at the CSIR, together with Freddy Mugeri, Board Chair at the Mining Equipment Manufacturers of South Africa (MEMSA). They will talk about the new Mandela Mining Precinct and the revitalising and modernising of South Africa’s mining sector. Delegates will be given insight into this public–private partnership that is looking to ensure the longevity of the South African mining industry.

On the all-important topic of safety, a speaker to look out for will be Philip Fourie, Executive Head of Safety and Sustainable Development for Anglo American – Kumba Iron Ore. His topic is ‘Eradicating fatal injuries in mining’ and he will talk about how, over the past few years, the mining industry has been heavily criticised for its apparent inability to avoid fatalities among miners. Yet in some cases, enormous strides have been taken to protect miners.

More knowledge and industry insights will be available to delegates as they listen to top industry speakers who will be presenting at the conferences/workshops hosted by leading industry associations, specifically the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM), the Lifting Equipment Engineering Association of South Africa (LEEASA) and Women in Mining South Africa (WiMSA).

The SAIMM conference promises to be particularly interesting as it will focus on the ‘hot’ topic of Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM) and aims to provide a platform which brings together stakeholders working in the ASM sector to share experiences and learn from each other.

Turning to the exhibitors, one of the ‘blue chip’ mining equipment suppliers participating is Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology Southern Africa. It will be showcasing mining solutions which have been developed in conjunction with mines to boost overall safety and productivity across all types of mines.

According to the company, barriers to achieving safety and production outputs that seemed impossible just a few years ago are being overcome and innovation is undoubtedly making mines more productive and safer with intelligent equipment, better systems and the proliferation of autonomous mining solutions that can work more productively and remove workers from the high risk exposure zones in mines.

Information systems such as Sandvik’s proprietary OptiMine® provide miners with tools to more effectively manage their operation. Sandvik’s AutoMine® mining solutions are also making it feasible to automate parts of – or entire – mining operations.

Automation solutions from Sandvik range from single machine tele-remote operation to full fleet automation. This includes driverless trucks and loaders, roof bolters and drilling equipment that can automatically respond and adapt to conditions and improve the lifespans of consumables and equipment.

Leveraging digital technologies in its range of mineral processing equipment will again allow Multotec to display new product developments at Electra Mining Africa that optimise recoveries and reduce cost of ownership for mineral processing plants.

“Technologies such as smart panels and 360 deg virtual reality video can make a valuable contribution to pioneer greater efficiencies, by helping predict and schedule equipment maintenance,” says Multotec group CEO Thomas Holtz. “This assists planning at plant level and means less unexpected downtime as a result of equipment failure; every step we can take on this innovation journey gets us closer to a more sustainable mining sector.”

Inspired by the philosophy ‘think global and act local’, Multotec can draw from its experience around the world to feed into its ongoing research and development programme that continuously improves its wide range of offerings from screen media and wear solutions to solid-liquid separation and mill linings.

“Retaining the technological edge is one important way that South Africa can sustain and grow its local manufacturing capability,” says Holtz. “As a Level 4 B-BBEE company with a 26 % black shareholding, we are fully supportive of the emphasis that the Mining Charter places on local content, and especially about the plans for formal verification of local content.”

Becker Mining South Africa’s stand at Electra Mining will once again highlight the company’s commitment to the highest standards in quality and safety in the mining sector and general industry.

Becker Mining’s extensive product portfolio, which complies with the most stringent government mining regulations and mining house specifications, includes high-performance, fit-for-purpose communication and safety solutions for underground and surface mining installations – Leaky Feeder, Wi-Fi, tagging and tracking, as well as environmental monitoring PDS systems.

In addition to communications solutions, Becker also offers intrinsically safe (IS) and flameproof underground electrical reticulation products, as well as fluid transfer, rigging, rope attachment, steel arch tunnel support and underground transportation systems.

Of particular interest on the stand this year is the Becker Varis Smartsense® atmospheric and environmental monitoring system, which has integrated features for the detection of ambient temperature, humidity and barometric pressure.

Another major supplier to the mining industry, Weir Minerals Africa, promises that visitors to its stand will be in for a feast of technology; particularly hard to miss will be its 7 m high crushing station featuring a high performance Trio® cone crusher.

“We are reminding visitors and customers that Weir Minerals Africa – well known for our pump technology – has transformed into an integrated solutions provider in minerals processing,” says Hoosen Essack, Process Manager at Weir Minerals Africa.

“With our extensive footprint across Africa, we are adding even more value through this growing range of offerings. Underpinning our service levels is our process expertise that equips us to partner closely with customers in finding answers to their daily challenges.”

Among the other items on display will be a large Cavex® hydrocyclone with a substantial 1 500 mm diameter and weighing five tonnes.

With the company’s leading position in pumping equipment, the stand will also display the impressive Warman® 450MCR pump, measuring 2,5 m in diameter.

Dust control and fire suppression solutions will feature on the stand of I-CAT, a company which sees huge value in Electra Mining. “It’s a great platform for I-CAT, as it showcases all roleplayers in Sub-Saharan Africa, and enables us not only to display our products and solutions but to be exposed to new technology and methods from other participants,” says Andro Gibhard, head of the Fire Division of I-CAT Environmental Solutions.

In terms of its ongoing contribution to improved firefighting methodologies for the mining industry, the I-CAT Fire Division has compiled a totally new protection protocol for underground conveyor belt protection, including redundancy protection. The protocol has been tested against various test scenarios identified in a risk assessment.

Products to be showcased at this year’s expo include I-CAT’s water- and foam-mist fire extinguishers, based on its innovative T-Rotor technology. This not only has SABS approval, but European and major international accreditation as well.

In Africa’s highly-stressed freshwater resources environment, water-saving is another area of great concern, with I-CAT having developed an effective ‘green’ evaporation system that can be applied to reduce wastewater at mining operations.

In pride of place on the FLSmidth stand this year will be a 1:20 scale model of its REFLUX™ Classifier (RC) modular plant, representing – in more ways than one – the future of processing in the mining sector.

According to FLSmidth Commercial Manager Terence Osborn, the RC plant is a good example of an integrated solution designed to  meet a customer’s tailings-related risks and requirements.

“The plant demonstrates how our insights and expertise make us more than an equipment supplier,” says Osborn. “Our focus is to bring the value of our technical knowledge base – along with our range of advanced product offerings – directly to bear on improving customers’ sustainability and profitability.”

The RC plant embodies FLSmidth’s leading technologies as well as its innovative business approach. Equipped with advanced automation facilities, a full-size version of this plant is in operation for a mining customer on an outcomes-based toll treatment model. It treats waste product, or tailings, and recovers valuable minerals as a saleable product for the customer, without adding extra workload or risk to their operation.

Proof Engineering will reveal a newly designed tamper proof spindle for Ex sockets alongside its latest range of Orion and Crater branded Ex glands.

Part of the Hudaco group of companies, Proof Engineering leads the market in the design and manufacture of innovative flameproof, explosion proof and non-flameproof plugs, sockets, adaptors and cable couplers. Its extensive product offering is focused on the mining and tunnelling industries.

Donovan Marks, Director at Proof Engi­neering, says that the innovative tamper proof spindle, developed by Proof Engineering in close collaboration with an end-user, is a must-see on their stand. Thanks to its innovative design, the plug can only be removed once the circuit has been isolated, contributing to the safety of underground mine personnel.

Proof Engineering will be exhibiting alongside sister company, Powermite, a specialist supplier of electrical and mechanical equipment for moving machinery in the Southern African region. Powermite will use the show as a springboard to launch its innovative Conductix Wampfler SR-Express Spring Reeling Drums, as well as to introduce the market to additions to its range of plugs and sockets.

RGM Cranes, a specialist in overhead cranes and services, will be exhibiting at the show. According to MD Alex Dowling, rather than dilute its focus through a national footprint, the company has chosen to service Gauteng, a region that has more cranes in a single industrial area than can be found throughout the entire City of Cape Town.

As a premier turnkey service provider, RGM Cranes’ services range from conception, design, manufacture and installation to repairs, maintenance, upgrades and conversions of any type of lifting equipment. The company has ISO: 9001 accreditation for quality management that governs all processes within the supply chain.

“From the foundations of your new building right down to the smallest lifting point or shackle, we provide every conceivable lifting item to our clients. From the ground, up to the crane and from the crane back down to the load,” says Dowling.

RGM Cranes entered into a partnership with the Turkish-based company, Güralp Crane and Machine, in late 2015, a collaboration which has reportedly proved very successful. Güralp introduced the GMD range of wire rope hoists into the Turkish and European markets more than 10 years ago. The GMD range features maintenance friendly design coupled with advanced electrical systems for hoist and load monitoring.

Leading vibrating screen and feeder OEM Kwatani will be showcasing customised products, big and small, with live demonstrations showing the value of its laboratory test screen.

With a replica of the nose of its widest screen at its exhibition stand, visitors will sense the scale of these large ‘beasts’ currently at work in the mining industry. They deliver solid performance not unlike rugby star, Tendai ‘Beast’ Mtawarira, whose image will grace the stand. These large screens measure 4,3 m wide and 11 m long and are operating in the most arduous screening conditions.

“The design and construction of these screens is a clear indication of Kwatani’s technical capability, with quality ensured by our ISO 9001:2015 certification,” says Kwatani CEO Kim Schoepflin. “Not only must they be robust and fit-for-purpose, but they must also achieve continuous tonnage at the lowest cost of ownership.”

In addition to desktop simulation in the design of customised screening equipment, Schoepflin also emphasises the importance of physical testing to ensure that the equipment delivers the results expected. A versatile test screen will therefore be on show – a metallurgist’s dream – to give visitors an appreciation of how material can be tested as part of designing the optimal solution for the most challenging screening applications.

True to its commitment to continuous innovation, US family-owned group Derrick Corporation has several new product developments up its sleeve, most notably a Super Stack Sizer™, which is currently undergoing plant trials.

The Super Stack Sizer™ is a fine particle wet sizing screen, which offers up to eight individual screen decks, operating in parallel, positioned one above the other. The machine, which is 1,5 m wide, is designed to increase the capacity of Derrick’s five-deck Stack Sizer™ by up to two-and-a-half times on a similar footprint.

The new screen will find favour in high capacity plants, such as copper processing facilities, where tonnages frequently exceed 1 000 t/h.

The Stack Sizer™ screen, which, amongst other applications, replaces cyclones in a milling circuit, is one of Derrick’s most popular technologies.

Derrick Solutions International Africa, which is the exclusive authorised distributor of the US group’s mineral processing equipment in Africa, says the installation of Stack Sizer™ screens reduces circulation load, improves recovery rates and increases capacity through the mill.

“The test to establish if one of our screens will work for a particular task, other than closing of a mill circuit, is to determine quality by size fraction. If an upgrade is evident, then the Stack Sizer™ needs further investigation,” says Derrick Solutions International Africa Vice President Nic Barkhuysen.

One of the many pump suppliers that will be present at the show is Integrated Pump Technology (IPT), which will showcase its range of global OEM pumps. The company was established four years ago as the official Southern African distributor for the well-respected Grindex range of electrical submersible pumps and last year introduced the Italian-manufactured Faggiolati pumps to its product offering.

Grindex pumps incorporate a unique air valve that allows the impeller to pass air instead of water, protecting the unit in dry run conditions. These robustly constructed pumps are engineered to operate in harsh environments offering end-users reliability and energy efficiency.

Also present at the show will be IPT’s sister company, Integrated Pump Rental. As the official representative of Sykes diesel driven self-priming pumps in the SADC region, Integrated Pump Rental offers a comprehensive range of these pumps for hire. Offering characteristics such as high head and high flow, these large pumps are trailer mounted for ease of use. This range offers pumping capabilities up to 500 litres per second and a maximum head of up to 208 m.

The company’s hydro mining solutions have gained traction over the last few years, and both the SlurrySucker and the SlurryBlaster dredge unit will be on the stand. The SlurrySucker is said to be ideal for the regular cleaning of process water ponds and return water dams, while the SlurryBlaster is suitable for hydro mining sludge out of water storage areas (see page 37).

Integrated Air Solutions will showcase its full mining arsenal of industrial oil-lubricated and oil-free air compressors and services. Featuring prominently on its stand will be MethaSperse, a methane dispersion and dust suppression system for underground coal mining.

“We are the exclusive regional distributor of the globally renowned ELGi compressor range and are proud to be aligned with this distinguished brand,” states Graham Russell, Integrated Air Solutions Group CEO. Integrated Air Solutions boasts decades of experience in providing individually tailored high-pressure ELGi compressor packages to meet a broad spectrum of applications in Sub-Saharan Africa’s mining and general industry sectors.

Integrated Air Solutions’ sister company, FOGMAKER South Africa, will not only display its efficient triple-action fire-suppression system but will also be conducting live demonstrations to show the remarkable effectiveness of water-mist technology.

Finally, a company returning to Electra Mining for the first time in several years is IMS Engineering. This comminution and separation solutions specialist will be showcasing several new cutting-edge innovations, all the way from innovative crushing, sorting and screening technologies to better monitoring and optimisation solutions for existing equipment.

According to Penny Höll, PR & Marketing Manager for IMS, one of the most exciting developments the company will be showcasing is its IMOST system. This remotely monitors and manages customers’ IMS equipment in real time via telecommunications, helping them improve their plants’ intelligence, reliability and performance.

Apart from IMOST, IMS will be showcasing another new interesting technology recently added to its stable, General Kinematics – a two-mass vibratory technology which goes beyond the boundaries of conventional vibratory equipment. “We will also have an Astro Jaw, as well as a Cybas-i cone crusher at the stand,” adds Höll. 

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