Sasol is an international integrated energy and chemical company that leverages the talent and expertise of more than 35 000 people working in 37 countries. The company is listed on the JSE in South Africa and the New York Stock Exchange in the US, was established in South Africa in 1950.
Sasol is one of the world’s largest producers of synthetic fuels, mining coal in South Africa and producing natural gas and condensate in Mozambique, oil in Gabon and Shale gas in Canada. In addition, the company continues to advance upstream oil and gas activities in West and Southern Africa, the Asia Pacific region and Canada.
Sasol Projects in South Africa
The vast majority of new mining projects happening in South Africa at present are brownfields expansions of existing mines. There arehowever a few greenfields projects of significant scale underway. Sasol Mining’s Impumelelo mine in Mpumalanga province is one such example.
Scheduled to start full scale operations in the final quarter of 2014, a number of the most notable names in the industry have become involved in the realisation of Sasol Mining’s project.
Sasol’s new brownfield Shondoni Colliery Mine project on Schedule
The development is located in the Block 8 reserves north of iThembaLethu shaft, as a replacement of the Middebuilt Main and West Shafts. The west shafts will be depleted during the first quarter of 2016, with production volumes decreasing from mid-2015.
The Shondoni facility consist of underground and surface coal materials handling facilities, designed to handle 10, 5Mtpa (making provision for production productivity improvement), including an overland conveying system with all the necessary supporting infrastructure, coal surge and storage facilities, power supply and distribution system, controls, water supply and reticulation systems, storage dams, associated main, ventilation and decline shaft systems, access roads, buildings, workshops, as well as the communications networks.
Production sections from the iThembaLethu shaft are developing towards the Shondoni shaft and will open pit room for the relocation of West shaft production sections while the Shondoni complex is established on the surface. Coal will be brought to surface via the Shondoni shaft single incline conveyor and conveyed on a 21 km overland conveyor system to the Sasol Coal Supply (SCS) West stockpile.
The new mine with a life expectancy of 24 years, is envisaged to employ 2 400 people during the construction phase, in addition to the employees that are relocated from Middelbuilt. The residents of the Govan Mbeki Municipality will benefit from the employment opportunities created by the operations of the Shondoni complex.
The successful completion of the Tubelisha and Impumeleo projects has offered valuable lessons to the Sasol team, in ensuring safe and quality project management throughout. The professional team on site including Sasol employees and service providers are working towards a common goal. “Our overall goal for this project is to meet business objectives and carry out the project effectively and efficiently”, said JR Coetzee, Project Legal Compliance Manager.
In addition, team alignment workshops were held to further encourage unity and pride among all on site. Team spirit is highly motivated by the safety communication sessions that are held on a daily basis. The safety improvement plans are discussed with the team and engagement are conducted at all levels.
Sasol awarded Worley Parsons the contract for engineering, procurement and construction management services (EPCM). The EPCM stages for this contract entailed detailed engineering services of the surface infrastructure facilities, the mine development and materials handling as well as procurement services and construction management.
In addition to the EPCM contract awarded to Worley Parsons, Sandvik’s mining systems were awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to supply materials handling systems for both underground and surface purposes. .
“The size and complexity of this system and the fact that Sandvik provides a completed mining system of Sandvik surface and underground mining equipment, again demonstrates our capability to deliver wide ranging high-tech solutions in the area of continuous mining and materials handling applications”, stated Gary Hughes, Sandvik Mining business area president.
The energy and chemicals company- Sasol’ Shondoni shaft in the Block 8 reserves is proving to be the best technical and economical solution and the new mine complex will assist in maintaining current production volumes without interrupting coal supply to the Sasol Synfuels market.
Next replacement mine
The R4.6 bn(US$460m)Impumelelo, will replace the old Brandspruit in 2014, and the new R5.3 bn(US$530m)Shondoniwill replace the old middelbult in 2015, theShondoni colliery is intended to replace the output from the Middelbult coal mine, which is to begin reducing production volumes from 2015 in conjunction with the commissioning of Shondoni at that time.
ProMet Engineers completed the pre-feasibility study for the new underground Shondoni coal mine including conveyors, surface bunkering and an overland conveyor system linking to the existing synfuels plant.
The C3 stabilisation project in Secunda is on track to begin commercial operation mid-2014, and the objective is to stabilise the C3 value chain by delinking the extremely tight integration between the upstream synthol reactors, the proplene extraction units and the downstream chemical plants.
The project which commenced in 2012, is earmarked for completion by the end 2014. The civils and structural steel contracts for the C3 project are nearing completion and the focus is now on piping and installation.
In addition, Sasol officially opened the new R1. 9 billion ethylene purification unit, known as EPU5, in Sasolburg, with aim to service the rising demand for polyethylene (PE) material in South Africa, a domestic market that Sasol CEO David Constable believes is growing at a rate of between 4 percent and 5 percent a year.
The plant started production in October 2013 and is set to reach its name plate capacity of 47 000 tons/ year in 2017. This will ensure improved use of Sasol’s existing downstream PE facilities and new compressor unit in Secunda, as well as service the country’s expanding plastics manufacturing industry.
The bigger picture
Sasol’s common goal is to become a great company that delivers long-term value to its shareholders and employees, and a company that has a positive association for all stakeholders
It is clear that Sasol Mining is readying itself for a drastic increase in demand in the coming years and will ensure that it does not get caught off guard.