Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> vol. 111 num. 4 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>The gender and racial transformation of mining engineering in South Africa</b>]]> With the end of the official apartheid legislation in the early 1990s, South Africa was heralded as a non-racial country. However, racial awareness has been reintroduced into the country with the Affirmative Action and Black Economic Empowerment legislation. Gender and racial transformation are the current order of the day. All organizations are required to reflect in their make-up the demographics of the population as soon as possible. Scorecards have been drawn up to measure the rate of transformation for gender and race in organizations. The mining industry in South Africa has been in the forefront of this transformation legislation and scorecards. This paper seeks to show the effect of gender and racial transformation on mining engineering education and professionalism by analysing the changing demographics of graduating mining students at both the South African universities offering a degree in mining engineering, the professional registration of mining engineers with the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA), and the membership of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (SAIMM), the vocational institute for mining engineers. It also demonstrates the absurdity of gender and racial quotas based solely on the demographics of the current population of the country. This paper shows the degree to which mining engineering has transformed in both gender and race. <![CDATA[<b>The influence of slag basicity and composition on ConArc magnesia-carbon refractories during the blowing phase</b>]]> The magnesia-carbon refractories used in the ConArc process experience severe wear as a result of the varying slag composition during the blowing phase. This work determines the basicity range in which minimum as well as maximum refractory wear was experienced by the magnesia-carbon refractories during service. In order to determine an optimum slag composition, the crucible test in an induction furnace was used. The magnesia-carbon refractory bricks were cut into cylindrical crucibles to which a synthetic slag in the form of pellets was added. The basicity (B2) of the slag was varied from 0.5 to 3. Tests were done at 1 600°C for one hour. Apart from the crucible test in an induction furnace, visual inspection and SEM analysis were also done to investigate the corrosion mechanism. FACTSage®predictions about the interaction between refractories and slag were also done. These predictions were compared to the actual results attained. It was found that the extent of corrosion by slag attack decreases as the basicity increases. The most severe corrosion of the MgO-C refractories occurred at a basicity of 0.5 whereas the optimum basicity is above 2.0. SEM analysis indicated severe slag attack at the lower basicities with no visible refractory-slag interaction at higher basicities. The FACTSage®predictions supported most of the actual findings. <![CDATA[<b>Multi-seam coal mining</b>]]> The project report is based on vacation work done by the writer at the Khutala Colliery during December/January 2009-2010. The purpose of this report is to explain and describe the design process in a multi-seam mine design for coal extraction at the Khutala Colliery. The multi-seam design will focus on the No. 2 and No. 4 seams as these are the seams that are currently being mined by underground methods at Khutala Colliery. The seam thicknesses and the parting thickness between the seams provide suitable conditions for designing a multi-seam mine design. An investigation into the pillar design aspects is carried out followed by a numerical modelling analysis of various scenarios. This analysis validates the first principles approach provided by multi-seam design guidelines. The design results from the analysis of the selected pillar design indicate sufficient parting for primitive conditions between seams, thus illuminating the need for superimposing in-panel pillars. This multi-seam mine design confirms the potential for the extraction of coal in a new panel. The design indicates that significant amounts of power station coal are present and suitable for extraction by room and pillar mining methods. The panel block indicates 401 625 tonnes of ROM coal. This block has a life of panel that will be mined just over a 4-month period. This 4-month period is assumed to mined at a production rate of 48 000 tonnes per month. The total capital cost required for the new panel is R48 281 127.05. <![CDATA[<b>Sensitization behaviour of 11-12% Cr AISI 409 stainless steel during low heat input welding</b>]]> The study comprised of the investigation into the sensitization characteristics of AISI 409 titanium stabilized ferritic stainless steel during low heat input welding. AISI 409 is a fully ferritic stainless steel used in catalytic converters and tubing for automotive exhaust systems due to the supposition that sensitization does not occur during low heat input welding. Two plates of 2 and 4 mm were tested for sensitization during low heat input welding. The study confirmed that chromium carbide (M23C6) precipitation occurs on the grain boundaries in the heat-affected zone with consequent depletion of Cr adjacent to the grain boundaries during welding. In the 2 mm plate sensitization occurred in the heat input range of 0.1 kJ/mm to above 0.25 kJ/mm and in the 4 mm plate sensitization occurred in the heat input range of 0.2 to 0.9 kJ/mm. Ti stabilization is ineffective at the heat inputs used in this investigation due to the rapid cooling rate through the temperature region where TiC precipitates. The presence of N was found to be detrimental since it consumes Ti on cooling, forming TiN, effectively lowering the amount of Ti available for TiC formation during rapid cooling after welding. Annealing for 5 minutes at 725°C does not improve the sensitization characteristics of the welded plate. There is a linear increase in grain size as heat input increases. The resistance to pitting corrosion decreases in the sensitized, welded plate in the heat-affected zone adjacent to the fusion line of welding. <![CDATA[<b>Orepass best practices at South Deep</b>]]> After the South Deep complex was purchased by Goldfields in 2006 a re-feasibility study was done and the life of mine (LOM) was extended to 52 years. This also implied that the mine's infrastructure would have to be enhanced. One of the changes was the proposal of five new main orepass systems to be excavated before the mine reaches full production in 2013. Excavations started to show signs of scaling, and in some cases, whole new excavations were lost. This particular area was exposed to very high stresses and the geology was prone to body delimination rendering the relevant areas unstable. This paper investigates the conditions at the location of one of the proposed orepass systems, and the best possible orientation was suggested to ensure that the orepass system would be stable and have a practical life. It was, however, found that the fourth leg of the orepass system would require further support to be classified as stable by the chief rock engineer and the section geologist of South Deep. Several support methods and orepass system linings would then be analysed and evaluated to give calculated recommendations on how to productively and practically support an orepass system. <![CDATA[<b>Optimizing LHD utilization</b>]]> The purpose of the project was to optimize load haul dump (LHD) machinery use as they were spending too much time doing what they should not be doing. During the investigation, the author found that the machine's actual availability was 86% and the utilization ranged between 30% and 42%.This shows that the availability of the machine has met its target. Therefore the main problem was with the LHD utilization and that is what the project focuses on. To satisfy the objectives, the author firstly studied the existing mining data like the key performance indicators (KPIs) in order to analyse the machine's availability and utilization; this is what gave direction to the problem. Secondly the author did a literature review on mines with similar problems. This gave the author ideas on what to look at in approaching such a situation. Thirdly, the author gathered information on what the LHDs are doing on a daily basis by doing a time study. This gave the author an idea of how long it took the LHDs to complete a specific task. The author also interviewed operators and their supervisors in order to find the best practice work. This helped in identifying the problem areas when comparing the best practice work with what the LHDs are actually doing. According to the project results, it was found that the LHDs are underutilized due to shortage of drivers and the long distances the LHDs have to travel for material loading and refuelling. The author recommended that the machine utilization should be improved by training more operators in order to eliminate the 'no operator' downtime; the cost arrangement of this recommendation is included in the report. The author also recommended that the travelling time should be reduced by using tractors instead of LHDs when long distances need to be travelled for material loading. Another recommendation for reducing travelling time was to bring the mobile fuel tank closer to a section; the cost arrangement for this recommendation is also included in the report. <![CDATA[<b>No. 5 seam mining at Kriel Colliery opencast</b>]]> The Kriel Colliery is an Anglo Coal mine which is contracted with Eskom to produce No. 4 seam for Kriel power station. The mine previously found it uneconomical to mine No. 5 seam due to the low qualities and tonnages of the seam, both at the opencast and underground sections. An area has been encountered for the first time at Kriel Colliery opencast pit 5, where the tonnage and qualities of No. 5 seam warrant further investigation. The primary reason for the investigation of No. 5 seam by Kriel Colliery is because of the advantage of the high selling price (R450/t) that the market is currently prepared to pay for the No. 5 seam. The aim of this project is to mine No. 5 seam economically without interrupting No. 4 seam mining operations. The problem is that the equipments that are currently being used at the mine belong to Eskom and are dedicated to mining No. 4 seam only, not No. 5 seam. Through geology investigation, it is found that the whole No. 5 seam (No. 5 seam upper and lower) has an average thickness of 1.8 m. It also contains a parting of carbonaceous shale which divides the seam into two parts. No. 5 seam upper contains less tonnage compared to No. 5 seam lower. The calorific value and ash content of No. 5 seam lower is far better than No. 5 seam upper, but would still require washing the coal. This makes No. 5 seam lower the preferred seam to mine because it meets the requirements of the customer which is Highveld Steel. It is a coincidence that the area containing No. 5 seam under investigation encounters high overburden problems. The problem of drilling to No. 4 seam was going to be encountered because the thickness of the overburden ranges from 35 to 39 m. The Gardner Denver at the mine can drill blastholes only to a depth of 34.5 m, meaning the full overburden will not be drilled at once. This means the mining of No. 5 seam will do favours for Eskom because the overburden thickness will be minimized. This then led to an agreement between Anglo Coal and Eskom to mine No. 5 seam because both companies benefit from the project. In order to identify a suitable mining method for No. 5 seam lower, literature studies took place. It is found that San Juan mine from the USA has similar geological features to Kriel Colliery's No. 5 seam. Through comparisons, it is found that truck and shovel mining would suit the geology of Kriel Colliery's No. 5 seam since San Juan mine is using it. The sequence of mining No. 5 seam lower allows for a clearance of two cuts between the truck and shovel operation and the dragline. The mining sequence of No. 5 and 4 seam will be in the order of top soil removal; soft overburden prestripping; pre-strip drilling; pre-strip hard overburden; No. 5 seam lower coaling; interburden drilling and blasting; interburden stripping and No. 4 seam coaling. Financial evaluation of the project shows that a contractor will charge Kriel Colliery (Anglo Coal) approximately R 102.2 million to mine No. 5 seam successfully. The sales of No. 5 seam lower will provide a profit of R99.4 million at a yield of 70% from the washing plant. The project is beneficial to both Eskom and Anglo Coal because Eskom will have eliminated the problem of pre-stripping and Anglo Coal will generate additional profit. Through investigation and analyses of the project, it is proven to be viable and should take place. This is after looking at the advantages that the project has for Anglo Coal and Eskom. <![CDATA[<b>Optimization of the operating density and particle size distribution of the cyclone overflow to enhance the recovery of the flotation of copper sulphide and oxide minerals</b>]]> The Konkola Mine, a subsidiary of the Konkola Copper Mines Plc (KCM) which is owned by the Vedanta group of companies of India and Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Holding limited, is located at Chililabombwe in the northern extension of Zambia's Copperbelt province. In its operations, the mine has been experiencing problems in ascertaining the optimum degree of fineness and the operating density of the hydrocyclone overflow in order to achieve high flotation performance. It was believed that recovery of sulphide copper minerals from Konkola ore is a function of the fineness of the grind so that it might be an economical justification to modify the grinding plant in order to run at lower cyclone overflow densities than the case is now. In an effort to improve these operations, it was decided to carry out test work on various hydrocyclones of sizes 0.381 m, 0.4575 m and on 0.508 m. The later was found to give satisfactory results and was installed on the plant. Despite giving satisfactory results there was need to investigate further to establish the working densities and size. Increasing the density of cyclone overflow decreases the per cent passing 75 ym at least in the range 1 080-1 150 g/l. Furthermore, hydrocyclones give better separation at low densities of feed and hence the efficiency is high at low feed densities. Circulating load increases with an increase in feed densities and an decrease in the grind. The flotation performance in both sulphide and oxide copper minerals rougher stages is enhanced with an increase in the degree of fineness of the grind, with an optimum being obtained at a density of 1 150 g/l and 81.4% passing 75 ym.