Sustainability is an important factor in the choice of materials used to underpin a project’s infrastructure.

For this very reason, African Minerals decided to implement the Ridgidrain system from UK manufacturer Polypipe for the surface drainage of the rail marshalling yard at the Tonkolili iron ore mine in Sierra Leone. The project required 4,000m of 300mm Ridgidrain perforated twinwall pipe, which is made of HDPE (high-density polyethylene).

Provision of full documentation was a key factor for African Minerals, as Project Manager Gary Nel explains: “This project is extremely important to Sierra Leone and, as the mine operator, African Minerals is committed to applying the highest standards to everything that we do. We are working to internationally recognised performance standards and so we place high demands on the materials we acquire for the mine infrastructure. The Polypipe product is backed up by full certification, so meets our specification in terms of documentation and traceability.”

Due to the fact that the product complies with strict UK and European legislation, Polypipe boasts that Ridgidrain has achieve the Highways Authority Product Approved Scheme (HAPAS) certification, a first for a UK product. It is also BBA (British Board of Agrément) certified as suitable for surface water drainage in commercial and industrial applications.

The Polypipe Ridgidrain system is suited for civil engineering use and infrastructure projects, including highway, rail and airport infrastructure. The structured wall design of the product improves its durability while keeping its weight low and thereby reducing the cost of transportation and installation.

Other benefits include the longer lengths of the pipe that is available, which reduces the amount of joints needed, reducing leakage risk, blockage and maintenance. The product supplied for the Tonkolili project was fully perforated to allow effective sub-soil drainage.

Polypipe Export Sales Manager Philip Wood says: “HDPE is the material of choice in many mining infrastructure applications. In this case, African Minerals have specified HDPE for the rail marshalling yard in the knowledge that it is capable of delivering many years of reliable service in a very demanding environment.”

Tonkolili mine represents one of the largest iron ore resources in the world contributing substantial economic benefits to Sierra Leone. As the largest employer in the country, African Minerals is committed to the principles of sustainable development, respecting the environment and delivering safe and healthy workplaces, with at least 80 per cent of the workforce being drawn from local communities.

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