Construction of Sasol’s Shondoni mine near Secunda is approaching completion with the realisation of the first key milestone on 1 February 2016 seeing the handover of surface infrastructure and licensing of the winder and shaft complex, while production of three production sections’ coal is expected to commence via the new incline conveyor this month (August).
Sasol awarded WorleyParsons RSA the EPCM contract in January 2012 for the new mine which will replace the ageing Middelbult mine and protect the baseline feedstock for the Coal-to-Liquids (CTL) operations within Sasol Synfuels. The mine is expected to produce 9,2 Mt/a of coal via a conveyor system that will transport the coal by a 21 km conveyor belt to Sasol Coal Supply (SCS). The single belt curved overland conveyor is one of the longest conveyor belts in the industry and one of the last key elements that need to become operational before coal from underground can be fed onto the system.
Aerial view of the Shondoni project taken earlier this year (photo: WorleyParsons).
Since February this year the surface infrastructure at the mine has been completed to facilitate full operational status. Occupation by production personnel started in April 2016 and will ramp up to a total of 1 190 site based mining employees, working around the clock in three eight-hour shifts.
Two office blocks provide for 156 offices, covering an area of 4 950 m2. The complete building footprint amounts to a massive 24 500 m2. The buildings also include operational change houses, a sewage treatment plant with a 200 000-litre effluent capacity per day, 460 covered parking bays, roads, access control, paving and power. This is in addition to the fully operational shaft system, incorporating a man and material shaft, ventilation shaft and decline shaft with fully licensed winders.
Lead civil engineer for WorleyParsons RSA on the Shondoni project, Frikkie Naudé, says that the construction of the surface infrastructure included moving an earthworks volume of 1 092 000 m3, construction of 39 500 m3 of concrete, and the supply and erection of 9 300 tonnes of structural steel. In addition to the 21 km length of conveyor, 36,5 km of road has been constructed, 372 000 m2 of concrete and block paving laid, and 21,5 MW of power capacity installed.
Commenting on WorleyParsons RSA’s timeous and successful handover of its first key milestone, HOD Project Engineering Manager at WorleyParsons, Gary Bullen, says, “We have a good relationship with Sasol and as a team, under the guidance of Sasol and with assistance from all our service providers, we have performed well and reached our objectives within the adjusted time constraints.”
The Shondoni mine is part of a R15,3-billion project being undertaken by Sasol Mining to replace three of its ageing coal mines in the Secunda area.