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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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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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TDS Projects Construction Delivers Extensive Infrastructure at Finsch

TDS Projects Construction is completing a mammoth installation of extensive ground handling infrastructure at Petra Diamond’s Finsch Mine.

The project which commenced in November 2014 was awarded to TDS Projects TDS Projects ConstructionConstruction by Petra Diamonds following a successful tender process. TDS Projects Construction’s affiliated company, Thuthukani Engineering Solutions designed the C-cut ground handling infrastructure at Cullinan mine and were then tasked with the design of Finsch’s infrastructure required for the sub-level caving expansion project.

This immense project (phase 1 completed, phase 2 in progress) includes the fabrication, construction and installation of nine tipping points, five ore pass retaining walls, four bulkheads, two crusher stations with overhead cranes, and four conveyors. Phase 1 commenced on 20 November 2014 and was completed on 25 March 2016 while Phase 2, commenced on 4 April 2016 with completion estimated for July 2018.

Hennie Coetzee, Managing Director at TDS Projects Construction says that the successful execution of the project thus far is a testament to the depth of the expertise and commitment of their team. “TDS is capable of continuously adapting to the challenges and changes of a construction environment. Our experience in the construction of mining infrastructure allows us to be innovative when presented by particular requirements dictated by a project or site. This is evident in aspects of the project such as the ore pass retaining walls, which are pre-casted and a first of their kind for underground operations and allow flexibility for the construction of tipping points on multiple levels simultaneously,” states Coetzee.

“With the construction and operation of the bulkheads, there were numerous key findings by our team – some of which challenged the SANS standards used for the design thereof,” explains Coetzee.

The bulkhead structures include steelwork well in excess of 100 tons per bulkhead and were installed at the bottom of a 5.1 metre diameter ore pass, ranging from 70 to 190 metres in height. One of the bulkheads consists of a staggering 165 tons of steel, 150 m³ of concrete and 15 tons of reinforcing to be constructed within a matter of 4 months – while the conveyor system constructed at Finsch covers a distance of 1650 metres at an incline of 9 degrees and was completed within a construction period of 13 months.

“The success of the construction at Finsch that has been completed for Phase 1 and to date on Phase 2 is due to TDS’s proven management and operating system that controls the progress, quality and most importantly safety, on any project that we take on,” says Coetzee adding that TDS also has the backing and support of a group of sister companies which includes Thuthukani Engineering Solutions as well as SFS Engineering (TDS’s structural steel fabricator) which allows for effective control and execution of any project.

“We are offering an absolute turnkey solution that is perfectly showcased by the ultimate completion of these installations at Finsch. Not only was Phase 1 of the project successfully completed, with Phase 2 currently being entirely on track – we are also able to pass on numerous benefits to our client. Ultimately, we are able to supply a workable ore handling system that will extend the life of the mine, maintain and increase production throughput and reduce operational costs,” Coetzee concludes.

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LiquiSonic® enables a reduction of labor cost through the elimination of manual process steps

H2SO4 in Copper MiningLiquiSonic

Copper is obtained by the extraction of copper sulfide ores, which have a copper content of ~ 2 wt%. The raw metal production includes a wide variety of process steps. The processing of copper sulfide ores is carried out by flotation. Thereby, crushed copper sulfide ores are enriched with water and a foaming agent, to skim quartz or silicates. The obtained copper concentrate has a copper content of 20 - 40 wt%.

In the pyrometallurgical extraction, SO2 is generated which is oxidized with atmospheric oxygen to form sulfur trioxide SO3 (contact process). What remains is a copper content of approx. 96-99 wt%. In order to reach a purity of 99.99 wt%, a electrolytic refining takes place subsequently. Otherwise, the impurities strongly influence the thermal and electrical conductivity and quality of copper.

In the pyrometallurgical extraction, the copper concentrate is slagged by adding SiO2 in the furnace at 1200 to 1400 °C. The melt of copper and iron sulfide is removed as the so-called copper matte from the slag phase.

The liquid copper matte is poured into a converter and the iron sulfide reacts with air to sulfur dioxide SO2. Resulting SO2 is oxidized to sulfur trioxide SO3 (contact process), which SO3 is directed into sulfuric acid (96 wt%). In the absorber, sulfuric acid in high concentrations by adding water or oleum is generated. In the blending process, the H2SO4 is diluted on desired target concentration.

pyrometallurgical Each process step can be both monitored continuously by the inline LiquiSonic® measurement technology and optimally set. The high dependency on sonic velocity enables an accuracy of +/- 0,05 wt% for sulfuric acid.


Customer value

The LiquiSonic® analyzer provides a precise inline H2SO4 and oleum concentration measurement with real-time monitoring.
The robust sensor construction and the optional special materials, like Hastelloy C2000, promote long process life.

 LiquiSonic® enables a reduction of labor cost through the elimination of manual process steps:

- time saving: 1 h per day cost per hour: 50 € (60 $) total cost savings: 10.000 € (12,000 $) per year

- In comparison to conductivity and density measurement, LiquiSonic® generates a clear signal in the concentration range from 80 to 100 wt% and provides at every time reliable process information.

- Amortization: approx. 2 years

LiquiSonic Velocity


The LiquiSonic® immersion sensor is easily installed into pipelines after absorber or sulfuric acid production and blending.

By using the LiquiSonic® controller 30, up to four sensors can be connected, allowing the simultaneous monitoring of several measuring points.

Typical measuring range:
- concentration range from H2SO4: 80 to 100 wt%
- temperature range: 20 to 90 °C
- concentration range from oleum: 0 to 10 wt%
- temperature range: 10 to 60 °C



LiquiSonic 30

For more info visit Morton Controls - for your Processing and Intrumentation Solutions in South Africa

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Deswik to launch new haulage functionality for underground mining

The upcoming version of the Deswik.Suite software from global consulting and technology company, Deswik, will feature new haulage functionality for underground mine operators. The Deswik.LHS for Underground module will let users create and visualize an underground haulage network from a 3D mine model and integrate the results directly with the mine schedule.Deswik

Specifically designed by mining engineers, for mining engineers, the software simplifies the process of calculating haulage metrics for underground mine operations and presents the results in the form of 3D animations. An easy-to-use interface guides users through the process, delivering a simple, speedy experience. Results are amalgamated back into the original schedule in Deswik.Sched (Gantt chart scheduling tool) to ensure single source reporting and enable estimations of truck requirements.

The functionality, currently available as a technology preview, is integrated into Deswik.Suite version 2017.2, where the haulage network can simply be built from the mine design centerlines, which are used as the data source for scheduling. Once the initial setup is complete, the entire life of asset schedules can easily be run in a matter of minutes, using detailed rimpull calculations.

The results of this process can pre-emptively highlight issues with ventilation and congestion as well as give defendable haulage metrics for costing and budgetary purposes.

A fully integrated platform designed for all stages of the mining value chain, the Deswik software suite has been pushing the boundaries in the mine planning space since its inception. Deswik Suite lets mine planners’ complete plans and scenario analysis in one continuous workflow – in some instances, substituting the need for up to eight separate software packages.

Deswik.LHS for Underground will be unveiled at the AusIMM 2017 Underground Operators’ Conference on the Gold Coast, next week. Its easy-to-use interface requires no expert knowledge of haulage modelling or setup, and visitors to the Deswik booth will have the opportunity to interact with the tool and learn how they can use it to execute their mine plans more efficiently.


Working in over 50 countries worldwide, Deswik focuses on delivering engineering efficiencies to all sectors of mining industry (Open Cut Coal, Underground Coal, Open Pit Metals and Underground Metals) through software, consulting and training solutions.

Deswik software frees up your time and gives you the tools and resources to engineer better plans, examine more scenarios and consequently drive lower costs.

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