JOHANNESBURG, South Africa – Many mining changes are taking place in Africa’s largest city. As the world’s leader in precious minerals, the country of South Africa holds the largest supply of diamonds, gold, vanadium and chromite ore. It also has extremely outdated mining technology. In an effort to update the tools used to mine these precious metals, a new organization has been formed. The Mining Equipment Manufacturing of South Africa (MEMSA) and its 20 members, along with government involvement, are making an attempt to provide new technology for vital mining equipment that miners require to perform their basic job functions. Upon implementation of these new equipment changes miners will not only be safer but will be able to push the limits in a new way never before dreamed of as current equipment will not allow miners to reach the full extent of the mines. These mines have claimed hundreds of lives in the past and continue still to be an extremely dangerous work environment.
Anton Wheeler, who is currently MEMSA’s chairperson, claimed that he had never seen the government so committed to aiding mining companies and local manufacturers up until recently.
The new government supported body will be allowing local original equipment manufacturers (OEM) to work together to develop new and helpful technology that will assist miners in improving job performance.
The equipment will more than likely involve platinum based fuel cells. One company is already utilizing a fuel cell operated ULP dozer in an Anglo American Platinum mine. A second company has already reported taking the necessary steps to obtain a load haul dump truck that operates on a fuel cell and is designed specifically for underground usage.
Many manufacturers are already testing out extra low profile machines and ultra low profile machines. Wheeler, who also owns the manufacturing company Aard, has been suppling low profile equipment to both platinum and chrome miners at the Bushveld Complex. Stopping widths at the complex are 2 meters wide.
Currently, companies have been unsuccessful in ticking all of the boxes in hard-rock slopes that have stopping depths of a meter or less.