Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy]]> vol. 113 num. 4 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b>Student projects</b>: <b>Collegiate of Miners and Metallurgists</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Key find for acid mine drainage on World Water Day</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>CSMI and Synergy Global - building skills to advance business - community relations</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Labour Unrest</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Danie Krige - South Africa's Giant of Geostatistics</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>Campaign mining set-up for waste stripping at New Vaal Colliery</b>]]> The objective of the investigation is to optimize the truck and shovel operations for pre-stripping at New Vaal Colliery by introducing campaign mining. The aim of campaign mining is to improve the efficiency of the loading, hauling, dumping, and maintenance operations which are critical to the success of truck and shovel operations. The current loading (single-sided loading method), hauling, and dumping operations at New Vaal Colliery were found to be inefficient. Time studies were used as a major indicator to highlight the inefficiency of the truck and shovel operations, and it is recommended that an improved loading configuration, hauling, and dumping operations be implemented by using campaign mining. It is also recommended that a service truck be used to maintain the pre-stripping fleet in order to reduce travelling times to the main workshop. As expected, the improved operating conditions will lead to an increase in pre-stripping production. <![CDATA[<b>A critical investigation into alternatives to compressed air in boxfront chute cylinders</b>]]> Compressed air is widely used on South African gold mines. However, due to recent and proposed future electricity tariff increases it is quickly becoming too expensive to produce and use. Boxfront chute systems at ore passes were focused on during this study, and a number of alternative power sources were examined. After comparing primarily costs, and secondarily safety and practicality, of a number of systems based on water and hydraulic oil, a system making use of either air or water was determined to be the most cost effective. A payback time of 8 years was calculated, which will be significantly less taking into account the avoidance of failures due to electricity and water shortages, which would not affect this system due to its ability to swap between either air or water. It was recommended that this system be installed at all boxfront chutes as soon as possible so that the company can begin to benefit from the cost savings. <![CDATA[<b>Continuous blasting improvements at Landau Colliery</b>]]> Following the blasting fatality on 17 December 2009, Landau Colliery was forced to change from the blasting practices that had been utilized since the start-up of the mine. Since then, attempts have been made to optimize blasting results. The challenge is rooted to the mining environment - during the early life of the mine, mining took place in virgin areas, whereas currently mining is taking place in areas overlying old underground bord and pillar workings. The underground bord and pillar workings aggravate phenomena such as spontaneous combustion, hot holes, and sinkholes. The 2009 fatality was attributed to hot holes causing premature detonation. Landau has been struggling with poor results from their overburden and coal blasts; leading to poor fragmentation of overburden and the P1 parting that lies between the No.1 and No.2 coal seams. An extensive literature survey was completed in order to identify possible alternative solutions that could be evaluated for this unique mining environment, which demands a high degree of caution during mining to ensure factors such as dragline stability and personnel safety. The literature survey confirmed that the previous blasting technique, which was mainly characterized by air decking, was indeed the more efficient, although it was deemed unsafe because of the possibility of hot holes and the high sensitivity of detonators. Potential modifications to the blasting technique were modelled in a Microsoft Excel simulation that was available from the mine, and pit visits were conducted in order to determine whether implementation would be a problem. From the model it is evident that results can be improved by changing the current burden and spacing ratio. Visiting the pit revealed that the tie-in pattern and drilling inaccuracies are contributing to problem areas. <![CDATA[<b>An investigation into introducing a new support element at Khomanani 2</b>: <b>resin bolts or 1.5 m in-stope roofbolts</b>]]> This paper is based on a project conducted at Khomanani 2 shaft, Anglo American Platinum Limited. The main objective was to find an alternative support element in stopes to address the falls of ground (FOG) problem experienced at this shaft. Literature review was the major method used in the investigations. Resin bolts or any 1.5 m in-stope roofbolts were considered. The shaft was making use of 0.9 m long friction bolts, and these could not prevent the FOG experienced. Observations indicated that the FOG resulted in fallout thicknesses averaging to 1.1 m, which is greater than the supported length of the friction bolts. The implementation of 1.5 m long bolts was recommended as a result of the project. These bolts will be able to address the fall-out thickness and provide sufficient support resistance to mitigate FOG. The chosen support element will result in a relatively small increase in support costs. <![CDATA[<b>Optimization of diesel usage at Uitvlugt Mine</b>]]> Any company operating a fleet of trucks will be greatly advantaged if the associated fuel costs can be decreased. The optimal tonnage that trucks should be hauling to ensure minimum consumption of diesel fuel has been investigated. The fuel consumption in litres per ton for a fleet of trucks hauling different tonnages of iron ore was recorded in a time-motion study and the optimal tonnage was determined. The following points emerged as a result of the research: ► The diesel fuel consumption in litres per ton decreased with increasing tonnage, which means that in order to improve fuel efficiency, the trucks should carry 21 t ► As a result of queuing, Africa Truck Hire (one of the two equipment contractors) loses R282.57 per day to diesel that the trucks burn when they are left idling. It is thus advisable that the company adopt a policy of requiring the drivers to switch their engines off while queuing at the stockpile ► Filling up the trucks during each shift or rationing the quantity of diesel to 200 litres each shift has a negligible impact on the trucks' fuel efficiency ► For the company to spend 35% of their revenue on fuel, the diesel price would have to be between R8.14 and R8.78 per litre. <![CDATA[<b>Determination of the coefficients of restitution, static and rolling friction of Eskom-grade coal for discrete element modelling</b>]]> The aim of the project was to experimentally determine the coefficient of restitution, and static and rolling friction of Eskom-grade coal for discrete element modelling (DEM). These parameters will be used in further DEM studies to simulate the flow and behaviour of coal during conveyance. For the simulation to yield realistic results, the parameters for the different coal shapes identified in the samples were determined. DEM uses spherical particles, and it was found that the difference between the DEM default parameters and those measured is significantly different, by as much as 97%, which illustrates the importance of experimentally determining these parameters. The spherical particles in DEM can be used to construct the various coal shapes identified, and the parameters measured can be used to simulate realistic results. The conveyance system can then be optimized accordingly. <![CDATA[<b>Alpha case formation mechanism in Ti-6Al-4V alloy investment castings using YFSZ shell moulds</b>]]> Ti-64, which accounts for more than 50% of the worldwide titanium tonnage, has found commercial importance in industries requiring components with high specific strength and resistance to corrosion. Investment casting is the preferred production method due to the difficult machinability of the alloy. This study was aimed at investigating the mechanism and the extent of alpha case formation on Ti-64 components cast using the investment casting method with YFSZ (yttria fully-stabilized zirconia) shell moulds after vacuum induction melting. The extent of the reaction between the mould hot face and the molten metal has been studied by varying parameters such as soaking temperature and mould hot face composition, and examining their effects on the reaction with the mould. An increase in the soaking temperature had an effect on the alpha case, both in appearance and hardness, but had no effect on contamination levels by carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen. The depth of alpha case increased with soaking temperature, increasing from 35 µm to 161 µm with an increase in temperature from 1200°C to 1400°C. The micro-hardness profiles provided insight into the effect of the alpha case on the mechanical properties of the Ti-64 alloy by displaying hardness values of 1000 HV0.1 and above, but could not be solely utilized to determine the alpha case penetration depth due to microstructural differences in the unaffected Ti-64, in particular the martensitic microstructure that formed with a fast cooling rate from a higher temperature. Levels of expected contaminants such as Zr, Y, O, and C were low. The addition of the colloidal zirconia binder affected the interfacial reactions. YFSZ proved to be a thermodynamically stable refractory material, with the alpha case possibly forming as a result of segregation. <![CDATA[<b>Application of membrane technology in a base metal refinery</b>]]> Nanofiltration (NF) has attracted much attention over the past few years due to the reduced energy consumption compared to reverse osmosis (RO) and better separation performance compared to ultrafiltration (UF). Although research has been done in the area of NF of nickel ions, sodium ions, and acid separation, not much attention has been given to the separation of high nickel concentrations from sulphuric acid streams. The use of NF for the separation of nickel and acid from a spent nickel electrolyte is an innovative process alternative for future industrial application within a base metal refinery. In this study, the separation performance of a composite polyamide NF membrane on a spent nickel electrolyte was investigated by varying the sodium sulphate concentration in the feed (50-150 g/l), the trans-membrane pressure (35-55 bar), and cross-flow velocity (1.5-3.5 m/s), and measuring quantities such as total permeate flux, acid rejection, nickel rejection, and sodium rejection. The nickel and acid concentration in the feed were kept constant with variations between 40-60 g/l and 25-40 g/l respectively, while the temperature of the experiments was kept constant at 50°C. The membrane was found to be very selective for nickel ions, with the rejection of nickel ions varying between 54.4% and 98.2%. The rejection of acid ions varied between -5.9% and 21.8%. The rejection of sodium ions varied between 16.6% and 72.4% at a cross-flow velocity of 2.5 m/s and sodium sulphate concentration of 50 g/l in the feed solution. An increase in trans-membrane pressure increased the rejection of nickel, sodium, and acid ions, while an increase in sodium sulphate concentration decreased the rejection of nickel and acid ions. The total permeate flux was found to increase with an increase in trans-membrane pressure and decrease with an increase in sodium sulphate concentration. The cross-flow velocity had an insignificant effect on the total permeate flux and the rejection of nickel, sodium and acid ions. <![CDATA[<b>Utilization of ISO 6892</b>: <b>2009 testing standard for determining tensile properties of TM380 mild steel</b>]]> The aim of this study was to develop an in-house tensile testing procedure that would yield accurate and reproducible parameters as input material properties into computational models for numerical simulations of the mechanical behaviour of TM380 mild steel. To achieve this objective, we reviewed the ISO 6892:2009 tensile testing standard along with reported good practice guidelines. Tensile tests were conducted on a dog-bone shaped TM380 mild steel specimen with strain gauges attached on either side, to monitor alignment and measure strain, using three different types of tensile testing machines. Parameters quantified included yield stress, ultimate tensile strength, and modulus of elasticity. The values of these parameters were found to be in agreement with the values supplied by the manufacturer's specification and showed minimal variations between laboratories. Thus it can be concluded that the tensile test procedure used resulted in accurate and reproducible results. The strain values calculated as per standard were in disagreement with those determined from extensometer and strain gauges and resulted in lower elastic modulus values. This confirms that the current testing procedures require the use of long-range strain gauges or extensometer to determine the strain. A chemical analysis was conducted to verify the specification by the manufacturer. The specimen was found to be fairly homogeneous with minor sulphide inclusions. The micrographs reveal a pearlite and ferrite structure typical of mild steel, and the fractographs show a dimpled surface typical of ductile fracture, which is an attribute of mild steel.