SOUTH AFRICAN MINE SITE LEADS THE WAY IN REFUGE CHAMBER MAINTENANCE
Written by Mike Sullivan, South Africa Business Development Manager
MineARC’s relationship with Palabora Mining Company (PMC) continues to grow, as the mine site embraces regular servicing and refuge chamber upgrades.
PMC has been operational since its incorporation in 1956 and is South Africa’s major producer of refined copper, producing approximately 45 000 tonne per annum. Located in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, the R9.3 Billion (AUD$930 Million) Lift II Project will see the copper mine continue to operate well into 2033.
PMC purchased their first MineARC Refuge Chamber in 2013; the first chamber to be manufactured and supplied out of MineARC’s South African facility. Since then, they have purchased a further two 26-person MineSAFE Standard Design chambers, as well as six Permanent Refuge Chambers, the largest accommodating 100 people.
Palabora maintain a diligent service schedule for their refuge chambers, with a regular MineARC Service Technician visit every four months. Although their chambers are serviced by MineARC Systems, numerous PMC technicians have completed the free MineARC Service School course in an effort to have certified technicians on-site for ad-hoc maintenance and urgent repairs.
Recently, PMC have upgraded their three portable chambers to include a camera monitoring system. They are also intended to upgrade to the recently released GuardIAN in the near future. GuardIAN will provide Palabora with real-time monitoring, communication and diagnostics of their refuge chamber fleet whilst in stand-by as well as during an emergency.
The Palabora Limpopo mine now also has six MineARC EnviroLAV toilet systems onsite, five of which are located underground.
‘MineARC has been a great asset to PMC’, says Jonas Ndlovu, Mine Captain. ‘They have provided technical expertise on the maintenance of our Refuge Chambers, proactively recommended and implemented improvements in areas that add value and have provided real backup on spare parts. A pleasure to work with and always accommodating, their staff is very personable and they handle all my Refuge Chamber needs.’