The mobile rescue winder that forms an integral part of Mines Rescue Services new R140 million Rescue Drill Unit, unveiled at a high-profile event at Goedehoop Colliery near Witbank, is a world first.
It was designed and manufactured by the Tech Edge Group of Johannesburg, a local leader in winder technology.
Tech Edge’s well-known products encompass the Fultons range of winders, while current project work includes Randgold Resources’ flagship Kibali gold mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“It is a world-leading piece of equipment; there is nothing like this worldwide,” MD Russell Moore told Inside Mining at the event.
“We have been designing and manufacturing winders for about 85 years. We are the largest manufacturer of medium-size winders, which is anything up to 1 MW installed, in the Southern Hemisphere. We have 5 000 to 6 000 machines in the field,” said Moore.
Moore explained that Tech Edge had been approached by Mines Rescue Services about three years ago “when it perceived the time had come to obtain more modern equipment.”
San Jose accident
This was around the time of the San Jose copper-gold mine accident in Chile, where South Africa assisted with the development of a rescue plan to recover 33 miners trapped 700m underground for 69 days.
“Ultimately this is a very real problem. Unfortunately mining is a very dangerous industry,” said Moore.
Proudly South African
“We are very proud to be associated with Mines Rescue Services and the work they are doing, which is fantastic. We are also very proud of what we have been able to bring to the table.”