Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> vol. 116 num. 4 lang. pt <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>A Council for our Youth</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Richard Peter Mohring</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Ethics</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Improving the ventilation system at Rosh Pinah zinc mine</b>]]> Recent geological exploration at Rosh Pinah mine revealed that the mine's major production is shifting towards the western orefield, which will increase the demand for air flow to be supplied to this area. A snapshot of the ventilation survey carried out in December 2014 at the western orefield drill drive B (WOF-DDRB) showed that the air flow was well below the required standards. In order to improve the existing conditions, possible options were considered and simulated using Ventsim™ software. The best option found was to replace the existing western orefield fans with the larger fans from the inactive southern orefield workings, to increase the air flow in the DDRB district. Simulation showed that as much as 20 m³/s of air can be received at the working faces of WOF 30, compared to the previously received amount of 1.37 m³/s. The economic analysis indicated that the above option can reduce the ventilation cost by N$1.9 million annually. It was also noticed that after implementing this option together with other projects, the ventilation conditions in the mine were greatly improved and currently give no cause for concern. <![CDATA[<b>Sub-standard practices: Effects on safety performance in South African gold mines</b>]]> Sub-standard practices and their adverse impact on safety performance remain a challenge in the South African gold mining industry. The purpose of this study was to investigate the root causes of sub-standard practices and the effect on safety performance in South African gold mines. The focus of the study was on the underground production operations at a gold mine in the Free State. The study consisted of three parts: a personal investigation into the causes of sub-standard practices at the mine, a comparison with the results of a cultural study performed at the West Wits mines, and a behavioural survey. The studies described in this article yielded similar results in terms of the key drivers behind sub-standard practices. It was found that substandard practices had a number of causes, and the origin lies within the habits, attitude, and behaviour of employees. Current methods of addressing sub-standard practices and improving safety performance were found to discourage employees from performing work safely and according to procedure. It was concluded that the lack of critical behavioural habits for the given work environment and job title could possibly be the primary reason for the occurrence of sub-standard practices. <![CDATA[<b>A critical investigation into tyre life on an iron ore haulage system</b>]]> A downward trend in tyre life on haul trucks at an open pit iron ore mine prompted an investigation into the current tyre management strategy in order to improve tyre life. 'Best practice' was compared to the current tyre management strategy at the mine to determine aspects that could be improved. Aspects that showed significant room for improvement included employee tyre awareness, tyre pressure maintenance, and road conditions. For each of these aspects a plausible alternative was suggested. A new tyre management strategy was formulated as a step-by-step guide on how to implement the proposed changes. Each step introduces new initiatives but at the same time builds on the previous step's success. A sensitivity analyses was performed to determine the impact of the proposed changes, with the variables being the reduction in the percentage of premature tyre failure, and the reduction of the site wear rate. The 'most likely' scenario showed an increase in tyre life of 41% for the Komatsu 730 trucks and 105% for the CAT 777 trucks if the entire tyre management model is implemented. This would result in a possible annual saving related to tyre usage of R9.2 million. <![CDATA[<b>Review of support systems used in poor ground conditions in platinum room and pillar mining: A Zimbabwean case study</b>]]> Falls of ground pose costly hazards to personnel and equipment and thus measures should be taken to prevent them. This study endeavours to improve the support systems used in geotechnically poor ground at a Zimbabwean platinum mine by analysing the status quo and recommending an effective support system. Various techniques were used to determine the quality of ground conditions, predict the rock mass behaviour, and to identify the appropriate rockbolt type. An analysis of the current ground control methods and their limitations was also undertaken. The results showed that the current support system and mining practices in poor ground need to be modified to improve safety and productivity. Stoping overbreak is influenced by poor ground conditions and the explosives currently used. The use of emulsion is recommended to replace ANFO. Redesigning of pillars is also recommended in poor ground conditions. An evaluation of the current roofbolt system indicated an opportunity for improvement. With new insight on the performance of the shorter length roofbolts currently in use, a new support system was recommended taking into consideration cost-benefit analysis. Barring down using pinch bars in poor ground was seen as a risky and time-consuming exercise, hence the use of mechanical scalers is recommended to achieve zero harm and to meet production targets. Smoothwall blasting is recommended in poor ground to minimize excavation damage. Other recommendations include the use of hydrological surveys to determine groundwater levels and implement corrective measures. Both empirical and numerical modelling approaches need to be utilized in determining the optimum support. <![CDATA[<b>Slurry abrasion of WC-4wt%Ni cold-sprayed coatings in synthetic minewater</b>]]> Low-pressure cold gas dynamic spraying was used to deposit WC-4wt%Ni and WC-4wt%Ni-1wt%Mo coatings onto mild steel. Dense coatings with very low porosities were produced. No decarburization occurred during deposition and no deleterious phases were formed. The coatings were subjected to standardized material characterization tests, as well as slurry abrasion testing to assess their wear behaviour. The wear tests were conducted in synthetic minewater-silica slurries, while distilled water-silica slurries were used as a control. The hardness of the coatings, 512HV03 and 458HV03 for WC-4wt%Ni and WC-4wt%Ni-1wt%Mo respectively, are comparable to those achieved using high-temperature coating processes. The abrasion wear rates for both coatings were less than 5 mg/min and 10 mg/min in the distilled water-silica and synthetic mine water-silica slurries respectively. The approximately 50% increase in wear rate in the synthetic minewater slurry is attributed to a synergistic corrosive wear mechanism. The predominant wear mechanisms were identified as binder smearing and delamination, with carbide grain fracture and pull-out. <![CDATA[<b>Matte - tap-hole clay - refractory brick interaction in a PGM smelter</b>]]> Penetration of matte into tap-hole bricks causes detrimental refractory wear, which can lead to furnace breakouts. The ability of the tap-hole clay to form a protective layer on the brick, thereby limiting matte penetration was investigated by examining the interaction between platinum group metal (PGM) matte, tap-hole clay, and alumina-chrome refractory bricks on a laboratory scale. Samples containing clay and brick as well as samples containing clay, brick, and matte were heated to different temperatures to establish the clay-brick interaction and the extent of matte penetration. The greatest degree of physical contact between the brick and clay was achieved at curing temperatures of 600°C. Poor clay-brick contact was observed in the sample that was heated to 900°C. Matte displaced the clay in the clay-brick-matte sample that was heated to 1350°C, with significant matte penetration into the brick. Less matte penetration was observed when the clay-brick-matte sample was heated to 1500°C. Less matte penetration was also observed in the clay-brick-matte sample in which the clay and brick were pre-baked at 800°C, and the sample then reacted with matte at 1350°C. <![CDATA[<b>Separation of kimberlite from waste rocks using sensor-based sorting at Cullinan Diamond Mine</b>]]> Near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy sorting technology is incorporated in an automated optical mineral sorter that can discriminate between materials using the differences in characteristics when exposed to near-infrared radiation. During September 2014 to April 2015, a pilot plant that utilized NIR technology to discriminate between kimberlite and waste materials was commissioned to determine the viability of including this technology in the diamond winning process flow sheet at Cullinan Diamond Mine. The plant was used to minimize the waste content in the size fraction -70+35 mm that reports to the crushing section and then to the dense media separation process. This paper describes the initial test work, conducted at Mintek, that led to the decision to conduct a pilot-scale study. The mineralogical characterization of the feed and product streams to establish the sorting criteria and the operational data obtained during the pilot plant campaign are described. The results indicated a good possibility of discriminating between the kimberlite and waste material using NIR technology. However, the consistency of discrimination was not good enough to avoid the risk of potential diamond loss. Furthermore, a lower than expected availability of the machine reduced the throughput capabilities. <![CDATA[<b>An evaluation of the thermal fatigue performance of three alloys for casting mould applications</b>]]> A petrochemical company experiences premature thermal fatigue failure of the casting moulds used in catalyst production. The aim of the project was to find an alternative alloy that would outperform the current low-alloy cast steel used for the moulds. Based on their thermo-fatigue properties, 3CR12 ferritic stainless steel and H11 tool steel were chosen for testing and comparison with the currently used BS3100 B7 cast steel. Samples of each material were subjected to temperature cycling in a Gleeble 1500TM thermo-mechanical processing simulator, followed by surface analyses. The main parameters derived from the test work were the total true strain, the hot strength of the materials, and the number of cycles to failure. Additionally, the coefficient of thermal expansion for each material was measured using a Bähr dilatometer. H11 tool steel yielded the best performance by way of having the fewest surface cracks, the lowest total true strain per cycle, the most cycles to failure, the highest hot strength, and the lowest coefficient of thermal expansion. <![CDATA[<b>The effect of particle size on the rate and depth of moisture evaporation from coal stockpiles</b>]]> Excessive amounts of moisture in product coal can influence the efficiency of downstream utilization processes due to a decreased calorific value and handling problems. Stockpiles can be used to decrease the moisture content of coal by means of gravity drainage and evaporation. This paper is focused on the evaporation of moisture from a coal stockpile surface with the aim of investigating the effect of particle size on the rate of evaporation as well as the depth to which evaporation extends. It was observed that moisture initially evaporates at a higher rate from a stockpile consisting of fine particles (-6.7 mm) than from coarser particles (-13.2 mm +6.7 mm). This high rate of evaporation is restricted to the outer shell of the fine coal stockpile. However, for coarse coal, the porous nature increases the depth at which evaporation occurs. Evaporation of moisture was observed up to the fourth day of each experimental run, after which steady state was obtained. It was shown the water can evaporate from the surface into the body of the stockpile, depending on the coal particle size and void spacing. An experimental reclaim depth of 0.4 m was achieved after 4 days.