Consistently achieving over and above required production and safety targets is the key to building solid client relationships in the mining opencast contract business. It also leads to long-term contract renewals.“We have exceeded the required production targets for the last 11 years at Impala Platinum’s opencast mine near Rustenburg, and as a result, our contract has renewed for another year,” says George Killian, Concor Opencast Mining’s site manager at the mine. “The annual targets are set jointly by Impala Platinum and Concor Opencast Mining. Scope of work comprises extraction from a narrow reef dipping at approximately nine degrees to a depth of between 30 and 35 m, crushing the material to < 300 mm, and delivering to the stockpile. The mine draws material from the stockpile for transportation to the processing plant where platinum and other minerals are extracted. Concor Opencast Mining’s contract also includes the rehabilitation of the mined areas, of which 26 have been completed to date.” “We are following the outcrop reef comprising the Merensky reef and the UG2 reef,” Killian says. “The strike length is 14 km. To mid-June this year we had moved 2.5 million cubic metres of top soil, 19.6 million of overburden and 921 000 m³ of reef material. The corresponding figures for the Merensky reef are 1.6 million cubic metres of topsoil, 9.4 million of overburden and 1 million of reef material.” Frank O’Toole, Impala Platinum’s mine manager for the opencast operation, says that Concor Opencast Mining “has met and exceeded our expectations in all areas – safety, production and community relations. “Our first priority is safety and we expect quality work. The operation is uneconomic however if production targets are also not met. In addition, community relations are challenging and we require Concor Opencast Mining to be involved with all affected stakeholders, including farmers. High standards must be maintained in those interactions to foster good relationships. Concor Opencast Mining is doing well in all these areas.” Killian attributes his team’s success to high levels of planning and discipline coupled with a strong adherence to safety standards. Among the challenges faced by the team are geological – presented by potholes, dykes and fractures in the reefs, all of which impact on productivity – and interfacing with communities in the Bafokeng area, which are affected by the blasting and mining operations. Turning to safety, Killian states that the opencast operation has worked four and a half million hours with no fatalities. Last September, the operation was awarded platinum safety medals by Impala Platinum and received Concor Opencast Mining’s divisional safety award for achieving zero lost time injuries for a full year. The site’s short term objective is to achieve two years without lost time injuries. Concor Opencast Mining employs 200 permanent people on site. Activity is plant intensive and requires the use of 35 machines, ranging from a 70 t excavator to 45 t rigid trucks and 30 t articulated dump trucks (ADTs). Two nine and a half hour shifts are worked five days a week and one shift is worked on Saturdays.
Captions:IMPLATS CONTRACT PIC 01: George Killian, Concor Opencast Mining’s site manager at Impala Platinum. The company’s contract has been renewed for the twelfth time IMPLATS CONTRACT PIC 02 AND PIC 02A: Neo Motlhajoe, environmental officer for Impala Platinum, at one of the rehabilitation sites on this opencast mine IMPLATS CONTRACT PIC 03: Maureen Rapoo, Concor Opencast Mining’s permanent safety representative at this contract proudly displays two of the recent safety awards given to the company by Impala Platinum IMPLATS CONTRACT PIC 04: Frank O’Toole, Impala Platinum mine manager on site IMPLATS CONTRACT PIC 05: Concor Opencast Mining has consistently achieved excellent production and safety targets at Impala Platinum’s opencast mine IMPLATS CONTRACT PIC 06: A general view of the opencast operation at Impala Platinum where Concor Opencast Mining has operated for the last 11 years IMPLATS CONTRACT PIC 07: Rehabilitation forms part of the Concor Opencast Mining contract at Impala Platinum