Production Set to Double
Khumani Mine located in the Northern Cape, South Africa is operated by manganese miner Assmang, which is jointly owned and controlled by diversified mining company African Rainbow Minerals (AMB) and Assore.
The Khumani iron-ore deposits are located about 60km north of Assmang’s Beeshoek iron-ore mine, which is no longer able to sustain a production level of six-million tons a year.
The Khumani iron-ore mine has embarked on a series of expansion programmes, which is set to increase production from 10 million tons a year to as much as 22 million tons a year by 2015.
The project involved the development of a greenfield iron export mine on the Bruce, King and Mokaning (BKM) farms and the first phase which cost R4.5 billion(US$403.1million), involved the development of a 10 million ton a year iron export mine which has been completed and is in final ramp-up stage.
The second phase of the project valued at R7.3 billion (US$704.8million), entails the expansion of the Khumani Mine from 10 million tons a year to 16 million tons.
DRA Mineral Projects was appointed the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) contractor for the R6-billion (US$604million), to increase capacity, with a scope of work that included the run-of-mine (RoM), crushing and processing new facilities for the new King opencast mine, including workshops and associated mine infrastructure.
Further, additions were made to the materials handling facilities, including an overland conveyor, extra RoM stockpiles, and stacker and reclaimer machines. Washing, screening and jigging capacity was also increased: new primary and secondary thickeners and extensions were made to the de-watering circuit; and extensions were made to the existing paste deposition facility and the product yard including new stockpiles, stackers and reclaimers.
In addition, the new RoM crushing plant that was designed and engineered by DRA for the KEP project consists of a gyratory primary crusher, a scalping station and a cone crusher for secondary crushing. The plant incorporates an 18,000 ton buffer stockpile and a 3 km long, 3 500 t/h overland conveyor and in order to accommodate the additional throughput, the wall of the existing paste disposal dam was lifted by 5m.
The project clocked up 12 million fatality free hours in September 2012, with labour on site peaking at 2, 700 during the middle of 2011.
Additional railway infrastructure to handle the increased product throughput and a new rail load out station became necessary, hence DRA added a second railway balloon and a second rapid load-out station, along with a new railway siding to access local rail line. A new robotics laboratory was also built.
JC Heslinga, DRA senior project manager, saysone of the main reasons for DRA’s success with KEP was the excellent cooperation and communication channels between the project team and mine operations, which ensured the process went smoothly and was trouble free. In addition, the project team maintained close supervision of site contractors to ensure quality of construction work, as well as ensuring that suppliers and contractors were kept on track with the programme milestones.