Transport Features

Don’t miss the bus – understanding transport of staff

By Matthew Wood – staff writer

With mines scattered throughout South Africa and beyond, housing plans varying depending on which company is being referred to, not to mention unanticipated strike action, transport of mine personnel is becoming more and more of a serious issue that needs to be put in the spotlight.

Chamber of Mines senior executive: employment relations Dr Elize Strydom shared some insight.

“The transport of staff differs from one mining company to another. It depends where they are based and what type of agreements they have with the unions around transport,” said Strydom.

“You do find that in a particular company people would be transported from the local town to the mine on a daily basis and that it would be for the account of that company – that they would provide the transportation and pay for it. Or you would find (particularly in the coal mining industry), that there is a combination of having a living out allowance and an allowance for travelling.

So there are examples of mining companies providing the buses themselves, or they contract in with a bus company to transport the people for the account of the company.

Also in the case of foreign migrant labour, provisions are made for the transport of people. “We have to do it in terms of the international treaties that exist between South Africa and Mozambique, or Swaziland, or Lesotho, where part of the treaty is that you would ensure safe transportation of the mineworkers to the mine and back to the labour sending area, wherever it is. We do provide buses over the Easter weekend and we also have to make arrangements with the border posts.

It has been arranged with the Department of Home Affairs. We will say to them two months beforehand in April on these days in this week we’re going to have to have so many buses leaving for Lesotho, be ready at the post etc…. So that has to be done in terms of the treaties, and those treaties have been in place for many, many years.

Machines of the earth

MMPR recently explored transport solutions in both the underground and opencast applications of mining. We’ve investigated earthmoving equipment and we bring what is out there, why it’s innovative, safe or environmentally friendly to you.Back in the early days, the earthmoving machine amounted to the hand shovel. Its source of energy: humans or animalpowered sleds and barges.

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Working Wheels: Not all were created equal

In the trade, your vehicle is often not only your office, but your livelihood too. From contracting vehicles to delivery trucks, no business is complete without its fleet 

Often, the first impression you get to make is your vehicle arriving on site or at a client. We want your business to make the best impression. That’s why, every year in June, MMPR investigates
the working wheels of the industry. From branding and customising to the more serious tracking technologies and tyre choices – let us help you make an informed choice on your
business’ fleet.

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What’s best for the surface? Open pit mining – its dimensions

Transport solutions in open cast mining are of epic proportions.

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Ore deposits close to the surface are generally developed by open pit mining. Due to the hardness of the rock, mining is usually carried out by drilling or blasting.
Large excavators load the material directly onto big trucks which convey the uncrushed rock from the mine. The ore is driven to a crusher close to the processing plant.
When mining penetrates increasingly deeper, this mostly means that the mine takes some kind of tunnel shape. The deeper the tunnel, the greater the expense for transport. Whilst the roads hardly change deep down in the mine as well as at the top, expenditure on the haulage incline increases drastically.  The driving time is prolonged by the increasingly longer incline road and the relatively low driving speed of the trucks on the section. The fuel consumption increases considerably, as does vehicle wear.

The how and why of transport
Ore bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Open-pit mining is often the most economical method of removing ore for further processing.
Excavation usually involves preparation by first loosening up the earth using a standard drill and blast method. Then, using a dragline excavator, a bucket wheel excavator, or a hydraulic excavator to dig, scoop, and dump ore onto a conveyor belt or into tipper trucks, the mined material is transported to the next processing stage.

Since no room is available to dump waste within the pit, it is dumped outside the mined-out area but as close to the edge of the pit as possible so as to minimise transport costs.

Click here to read the full feature article on page 21 of the Jan/Feb 2014 issue of MMPR ...

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