With profits under pressure as a result of continuously onerous compliance issues and other challenges, it is increasingly beneficial to become a member of Aspasa, a surface mining association that has the best interests of its members and the industry at heart.

Nico Pienaar Aspasa

Nico Pienaar, director of Aspasa.

Aspasa director, Nico Pienaar says there are 12 overarching services within Aspasa that the association wants to highlight. “Technological advances are at the forefront of innovation, especially in transport with Trackless Mobile Machinery (TMM), Proximity Detection Systems (PDS) and regulations relating to road transport in general. New members will be brought up to speed on trackless mobile machines regarding risk assessment, the implementation of effective controls, traffic management and collision avoidance technology requirements,” says Pienaar.  

“Proper risk assessments and Traffic Management Plans (which should actually be already in place) outweigh the cost of Section 54 stoppage,” says Pienaar, adding that fitting PDS systems are not yet fully functional, but several systems are being tested by Aspasa and suppliers to stay up to date with latest technology.

“Secondly, Aspasa helps members technically, in terms of the quality of the aggregate mined and the final product sold, as well as information related to the production process. In essence, a mine should have a quality management programme in place which can be audited regularly. Aspasa has developed such a programme with links to relevant methods, standards and specifications,” adds Pienaar.

Checklists show the member how to implement the programme, especially procedures for sampling and testing and then the reporting and communicating of a quality product delivered to your customer.

“Engineering is another service covered by Aspasa which should be of enormous importance to members as it gives advice on how changes to the Mine Health and Safety Act of 1996 impacts on engineering research and development. Aspasa has taken up the development of engineering career paths in surface mines and has a committee that deals with it.

“Of vital importance to members and therefore to the industry as a whole is Aspasa’s liaison with government. An allied service is to ensure its members are legally compliant. The association’s liaison with government is evident in the stakeholders’ submission to the Mining Occupational Health & Safety Research Programme.