Modern Mining

Sasol has officially inaugurated its new R4,5 billion Shondoni colliery in Mpumalanga as part of its R14 billion mine replacement programme. The event was attended by a number of VIPS, including the Minister of Mineral Affairs, Gwede Mantashe.

Meaning ‘a place of wealth’, Shondoni replaces Sasol Mining’s Middelbult colliery, which has reached the end of its lifespan. The other two mines forming part of the mine replacement programme are Thubelisha and Impumelelo.

Sasol Mining is South Africa’s third largest coal producer and runs one of the world’s largest underground coal-mining complexes. It produces over 40 million tons of coal annually of which more than 90 % is used as critical feedstock for the production of Sasol’s high quality synthetic fuels and a wide range of chemicals.

Sasol inaugurates its Shondoni colliery

Mineral Resources Minister Gwede Mantashe is seen here with VIP guests and Sasol employees at the inauguration of Shondoni (photo: Arthur Tassell).

Sasol’s Joint President and CEO, Bongani Nqwababa, said the mine replacement programme supports Sasol’s strategy to operate its Southern African facilities until 2050. The programme commenced in 2009.

“It is also part of our capital expenditure in South Africa which, over the last five years, has amounted to more than R94 billion,” said Nqwababa.

Distinguishing Shondoni from the rest of Sasol’s other five collieries is the use of renewable energy, which includes the use of solar geysers, heat pumps and maximum utilisation of natural light.

The mine also holds the record of having the longest single flight conveyor without an intermediate booster drive in Africa, at 21 km. The conveyor, consisting of five horizontal curves in a ‘C’ shape, is designed for 2 400 t/h and an operating capacity of 2000 t/h. Low rolling resistance conveyor belting has been installed with HDPE rollers to reduce conveyor noise and power consumption.

The winder house was constructed on surface and lifted with one lift into position which resulted in more cost effective and safer methodology. Weighing 291 tonnes, the winder house was moved horizontally over a distance of 58 m and lifted 30 m high.

Large steel structures for material handling system were assembled in modules on surface and were then lifted in position, reducing the exposure of people working at heights.

The mine is served by a 150-m deep, 11,7-m diameter man/material shaft with a 65-ton payload capacity, a 120-m deep, 9-m diameter ventilation shaft and a 6 x 3 m incline shaft which accommodates an incline conveyor.

During construction of the mine more than 2,9 million cubic metres of earth were moved and over 50 000 cubic metres of concrete placed.

Over the next 30 years, Shondoni is expected to deliver between 8 and 9 million tons of coal per annum and currently employs about 1 200 people.

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