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Schauenburg Systems partnering up with Sibanye-Stillwater/WITS Mining Institute’s DigiMine Laboratory.

Schauenburg Systems, a South African original equipment manufacturer (OEM) forDigiMine mine/industry safety and productivity solutions, is proud to be an associated partner with the Sibanye Stillwater/WITS Mining Institute DigiMine laboratory.

Almost two years ago, under the initiative of Professor Frederick Cawood of the WITS Mining Institute, a one-of-a-kind simulated mining operation facility was implemented at the Chamber of Mines building on the West Campus of the University. The simulation consists of a mine surface area (on the roof of the building), a vertical shaft (using a stairwell), and a mock up underground mine and control room in the basement. The lab is equipped with digital systems to enable research for the “Mine of the future”. The objective is to transfer surface digital technologies into the underground environment, enabling a mine to automatically and remotely observe, evaluate and take action by using technology to enhance protection of mine workers against the typical risks that they are exposed to on a daily basis.

Schauenburg Systems focuses on using the latest digital technologies to set standards in health, safety and productivity applications suitable for underground and surface operations. Ettiene Pretorius, Business Manager at Schauenburg emphasised, “Our Company’s mission is to enhance safety and productivity in the mining and industrial markets through innovation and excellent services for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

The Schauenburg Systems “digital system” implemented for research at WITS Mining Institute, exclusively for the DigiMine Laboratory, is the Mine Wide Integrated Monitoring and Control System (MIMACS) product. Schauenburg’s “MIMACS” solution addresses multiple safety & productivity concerns within the underground and surface mining discipline.

Modules of MIMACS system implemented at WITS Mining Institute’s DigiMine Lab are:

•           New generation caplamps (PTC Safelite) including wireless and digital communication.

•           Portable gas detection instruments (GDI Sentinel) with real time digital data downloading capabilities.

•           Lamproom and Asset Management System.

•           Real time personnel location monitoring.

•           Fixed environmental monitoring.

Upgrades and new features to the system are continuously implemented, and students are trained to monitor and maintain the system under the guidance and supervision of post graduate researchers, Mosima Matlhwana and Faiq Javaid.

Lewis Mathieson, Managing Director at Schauenburg System expressed, “We believe that tertiary education is the key to a better and more sustainable future for mining in South Africa. As a stakeholder of this initiative, Schauenburg Systems will strive to continue developing new innovative solutions, that will through digitalisation, enhance health, safety and productivity at our mines. This co-operation will further expand and entrench the very good operational partnership already established with Sibanye-Stillwater”.

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Lavas in the lab could lead miners to new iron ore deposits

Geologists have discovered that some magmas split into two separate Immiscibility processliquids, one of which is very rich in iron. Their findings can help to discover new iron ore deposits for mining.


Iron ore is mined in about 50 countries, with Australia, Brazil and China as the largest producers. It is mostly used to produce the steel objects that are all around us – from paper clips to kitchen appliances and the supporting beams in skyscrapers.

Most iron ore deposits are found in sedimentary rocks. Others are mined in volcanic complexes such as El Laco in Chile and Kiruna in Sweden. These iron ore deposits, called Kiruna-type deposits, account for about 10% of the global production of iron, yet nobody knows how they are formed.

In Nature Communications, an international team of researchers from institutions including KU Leuven (Belgium), Leibniz University Hannover, and ULiège present the first evidence that these iron ore deposits are formed when magma splits into two separate liquids.

“Previous studies have always focused on the texture or the composition of natural rocks. We were the first to actually reproduce magmas in the lab such as the ones found in El Laco,” says last author Olivier Namur from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at KU Leuven, Belgium.

“We wanted to reproduce the conditions found in magma chambers, where molten rock accumulates when it cannot rise to the surface of the Earth. This is also where the iron ore deposits beneath volcanoes are formed, so reproducing the temperature and pressure of the magma chambers seemed well worth examining.”

“We produced a mixture of iron-rich ore samples and typical lavas surrounding Kiruna-type deposits. This created a bulk magma composition that we believe exists in the deep magma chamber beneath volcanoes. We placed the mixture in a furnace and raised the temperature to 1,000-1,040°C. We also increased the pressure to about 1000 times the atmospheric pressure of Earth. These are the conditions of a magma chamber.”

“We were surprised to find that, under these conditions, the magma split into two separate liquids. This process is known as immiscibility. Just think of what happens when oil spills into the ocean: the water becomes streaked with oil because oil and water cannot mix.”

One of these liquids contained a lot of silica, whereas the other was extremely rich in iron – up to 40% – and phosphorus. When this iron-rich liquid starts to cool down, you get iron-phosphorous Kiruna-type ore deposits.

This is the first evidence that immiscibility is key to the formation of iron ore deposits such as the ones mined in El Laco. "If we’re right, these findings may help to find new iron ore deposits. This is necessary to keep up with the global demand for iron: recycling alone is not enough yet. And if you want to know where to look for iron ore, you have the understand how the deposits are formed.”

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Claudius Martin, the Plant Service Manager of the Bulk Material Supplies (BMS) division of Eskom subsidiary Rotek, is responsible Bulk Material Suppliesfor the care and maintenance of machines vital to the management of power station stockyards.

“Our goal is to keep the lights on,” he says, in a simple statement that belies a complicated set of tasks.


The BMS workshops are based at the Rosherville complex in Johannesburg’s southern suburbs from which he manages a fleet of equipment operating across the Eskom net of coal-fired power stations. Thanks to the use of sophisticated control and administration systems, not to mention the Komatsu KOMTRAX fleet management system, he is able to run the operation as if he were running a business.

“Essentially, we act like an internal plant hire operation and lease the equipment out to Eskom sites, including the 13 power stations currently in operation. The contract managers on each site not only have the responsibility of ensuring a smooth flow of coal to the burners but are responsible for handling and storing ash once the coal has burned,” he says.


Komatsu products play a significant role in the coal stocks management process. Dozers and, to a certain extent, excavators are responsible for yard management and housekeeping, often involving the transportation of massive volumes of thermal coal. When really heavy volumes have to be moved, BMS allocates one or more of its fleet of Komatsu articulated dump trucks to do the job.

It goes without saying that if you have vast volumes of what is in today’s currency is ‘black gold’, it is essential to have even roads over which they can be transported. The recent addition of a sizeable fleet of Komatsu graders was seen by Roshcon as the best available solution to meet current transportation needs.


BMS runs an impressive fleet of Komatsu equipment that can be seen delivering power generating performance across the highveld coalfields and much further afield. Thanks to administration competence on behalf of customer and supplier, Claudius can, at a glance at his desktop computer, access information relating to the exact location, efficiency, performance and mechanical well-being of a vast array of Komatsu equipment.

Notable inclusions in the current Eskom fleet include:

  • 20 x D155 30-tonne dozers
  • 2 x PC450 40-tonne dozers
  • 16 x PC300 excavators
  • A single 60-tonne PC600 excavator
  • 3 x tractor loader backhoes (TLBs)
  • 8 x GD675 motor graders, and
  • 6 x 30-tonne articulated dump trucks

No fewer than 23 of the machines were purchased as part of a major fleet expansion programme which began in 2014, and was only recently completed following the delivery of the graders and TLBs.

“Our experience is that the people at Komatsu always listen to what we need and a number of the machines were modified to meet BMS specifications. For example, all the dozers are fitted with 21m³ blades while the loaders are equipped with 6m³ buckets,” says the service manager who ensures that every single relevant piece of information concerning his machines is right there at his fingertips.

He is now into his fourth decade of caring for complex and often expensive machinery and cut his engineering teeth working on harvesting equipment on the KwaZulu-Natal cane fields, not only serving a lengthy apprenticeship but also gaining academic qualifications. In his case, a diploma in construction engineering from the prestigious London-based City and Guilds training authority.

In short, he doesn’t miss much and is highly appreciative of the service he receives from Komatsu. Claudius singles out George Hyman and Anton Meyer, sales representative and Customer Support Representative, respectively, for the way in which they provide the support necessary to keep machines running 24/7/365.

“George has a checklist of essential spares, providing details of availability and lead times so we can plan. Anton always makes a point of personally resolving any issue that may arise so, in fact, it is as if both of them are part of our own internal team.”

A silent but invaluable member of the Komatsu team is KOMTRAX which enables Claudius to keep a watchful eye on nearly 60 pieces of equipment essential to maintaining the nation’s power supply.

“It keeps me informed of each machine’s location, hours of operation, relative performance, upcoming maintenance and a warning of any possible abuse.”

It’s worth remembering that the light and warmth we receive on cold winter’s nights are in no small measure due to the efforts of Claudius and his team, with a little help from Komatsu.

Contact for further information:


Antony Tymvios

Marketing Manager

Main Board                         +27 11 923 1000

E-mail:                                 antonyt@komatsu.co.za


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Completion of Mine Design at Uis Tin Project, Namibia

AfriTin Mining Limited (AIM: ATM), a mining company with a portfolio of near production tin assets in Namibia AfriTin Mining Limitedand South Africa, with the flagship asset being the Uis Tin Mine in Namibia, is pleased to provide an update on its operations at the Uis mine.


  • Completion of a detailed mine design over the priority, V1/V2 pegmatites;
  • Development of an initial fast tracked 5-year mining production schedule;
  • Construction to start May 2018 with production on track for H2 2018; and
  • Indications of low overburden stripping ratios and a fast production ramp-up.

Following the completion of a mapping programme and construction of a 3-D geological model the Company has undertaken a detailed mine design for the V1 and V2 pegmatite bodies, previously identified as priority targets to supply feed to the new intermediary processing plant ("Plant").  The mine design includes an initial 5-year mine production schedule to commence operations on the outcropping pegmatite bodies and existing excavations of the historical V1/V2 pits.

This internal mine plan supports an overburden stripping ratio of less than 1 (overburden-to-ore ratio) and a fast ramp-up profile utilising conventional open pit mining methods.  Material will be liberated through drilling and blasting; loading and hauling will be effected by combining excavators and articulated dump trucks.  The run-of-mine feed to the Plant for this phase of development is planned at 500,000 tonnes per year with an anticipated annual production of 800 tonnes of saleable tin concentrate (although at this stage, this rate is not guaranteed).  The target for the following phase remains 5,000 tonnes of tin concentrate per annum.

A plant location has been identified in close proximity to the V1/V2 pegmatite bodies.  The site layout and project infrastructure is being finalised and earthworks and civil works construction are scheduled to commence during May 2018 with production on track for H2 2018.

Commenting on the developments CEO Anthony Viljoen stated, "We are very pleased with the results of this early production phase Mine Design work that has recently been completed.  Once operational we believe this will confirm the potential of the Uis Project as a world-class tin mine with low operational risks. 

Whilst we believe Uis has the resources to be a long-life operation, this phased approach, should provide a platform for sustainable early cash flows. It should also de-risk the implementation of a larger scale mining and processing facility which in turn should allow us to progress long term project financing options.  We remain excited about the project progression and the long-term opportunity that AfriTin provides to investors in the world tin market".

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Germany backs renewable energy projects in Africa

Germany backs renewable energy projects in Africa with the launch of RLSF - an innovative liquidity facility managed by ATI


in by providing immediate liquidity to keep the IPP afloat during periods of payment delays that are beyond the grace period provided in the power purchase agreement.

Günther Nooke, Personal Representative of the German Chancellor for Africa, BMZ, said (Left to right) Thomas Duve, Director Southern Africa and Regional Funds KfW Development Bank - and John Lentaigne, Chief Underwriting Officer, ATI“The Regional Liquidity Support Facility will address a key challenge in renewable energy project finance and de-risk private sector investments. We are pleased to provide the funding to this innovative instrument underlining Germany’s commitment to the objectives of the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI).”

The RLSF is designed to help independent power producers (IPPs) developing renewable energy projects in Africa to obtain the liquidity they need in the event that their off-taker (frequently a state owned entity) delays payment. The facility will provide immediate cash collateral supported by guarantees to a commercial bank that will in turn open a standby letter of credit to the benefit of the IPP. The amount provided will enable the IPP to operate and service the debt for up to 6 months. Furthermore, unlike most IPP letters of credit (which tend to be 12 month tenors) the facility is designed to be in place for multiple years.

Dr. Thomas Duve, KfW Director Southern Africa and Regional Funds, noted “We highly appreciate the opportunity to partner with ATI on this innovative instrument. The RLSF is a strongly market-driven concept, emphasizing KfW’s strategy to support and leverage the resources of local partners and the private sector.”

The facility, in combination with ATI’s traditional suite of political and trade credit risk insurance products (in particular ATI’s arbitration award default cover), means that ATI is able to cover the full range of political and financial risks facing investors on such projects.

Speaking at the launch, John Lentaigne, ATI’s Chief Underwriting Officer commented “We are delighted to be working with the German government, represented by KfW, on an initiative that directly targets one of the main bottlenecks preventing green power projects from being financed in Africa.”

Jef Vincent, Senior Advisor to ATI, who has overall responsibility for the initial implementation of the facility, added “Unlike some of the alternative solutions to the liquidity issue, ATI’s guarantee (as provided via the RLSF) will not require a counter-guarantee from the relevant Ministry of Finance, and as such we are confident this will be a very useful tool for those projects that we expect to support.”


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