Global conveying and industrial solutions provider Dunlop Industrial Products manufactured and supplied conveyor belting that has been fitted on to one of the longest belt conveyor systems in the world – a 20-km-long system – at energy and chemicals company Sasol’s Middelbult coal mine, in Secunda.
The manufacture of 67 rolls of steel-cord-reinforced conveyor belting started in 2014 and the completed rolls were stored at one of Dunlop Industrial Products’ manufacturing plants in Benoni, Johannesburg, until earlier this year, while the construction of Sasol’s new Shondoni shaft at its Middelbult operation was under way.
Dunlop Industrial Products conveyor belting product manager Dave Pitcher explains that the new Shondoni shaft replaces the West shaft at the Middelbult mine, as part of ongoing developments by Sasol to ensure access to exploitable reserves. The conveyor system will feed coal from the Shondoni shaft to the coal handling stockyard, and eventually into Sasol’s synthetic fuels (synfuel) plants.
Pitcher highlights that the overland belt conveyor provides the lowest possible cost of transporting the coal mined at the shaft to Sasol’s coal supply operations, about 20 km apart. Delivery of coal from the Shondoni shaft using the new conveyor system started last month.
The company was commissioned by engineering company Sandvik to supply the conveyor belting and splice it on to the new overland conveyor system. Sandvik is a subcontractor to engineering company WorleyParsons on the project.
Dunlop Industrial Products was acquired by conveying technology provider Rema Tip Top in 2010 in order to augment its portfolio of products and services globally. Rema Tip Top prides itself on being a service-orientated organisation that manufactures and markets products and related services to users of belt conveyors and other products for the industrial sector. Dunlop has been manufacturing industrial rubber products, such as conveyor belting, industrial hose, rubber moulded products and rubber sheeting in South Africa since 1919.
Dunlop Industrial Products has supplied Sasol with vital products and services that have assisted in ensuring a cost-effective flow of coal from the company’s mines to its synfuels plants, as well as enhancing the efficiency of transporting raw materials, fuels and chemicals in the plant. We were glad to . . . assist Sasol once again, especially on a project of this size,” says Pitcher.
Sasol operates mining operations at Bosjesspruit, Brandspruit, Middelbult, Syferfontein and Twistdraai – all in the Secunda area – and Sigma, near Sasolburg, in the Free State.
As some of these mines are approaching the end of their useful lives, Sasol is undertaking developments to ensure continued supply through its Mine Replacement Programme. This ongoing project will result in 60% of Sasol Mining’s operations in Secunda being replaced by 2020 at a cost of R14-billion.
The first of these new replacement mines was the R3.4-billion Thubelisha shaft, which was inaugurated in May 2012 at the Twistdraai colliery. This shaft will eventually comprise an operation delivering more than eight-million tons of coal a year over 25 years.
“This is the first milestone in the large-scale replacement of our operating capacity. The shaft will supply coal to Sasol Synfuels and export customers,” says the company.
The Impumelelo mine, which replaces the Brandspruit operation, will also supply about 10.5-million tons of coal a year and will be used exclusively by the Sasol Synfuels plants.