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Rope access, drone combo for Tsumeb Namibia maintenance project

Skyriders has carried out routine inspections of two smokestacks and one cooling tower using a highly successfully combination of rope access and Remotely-Piloted Air System (RPAS) drones for client Dundee Precious Metals at the Tsumeb Namibia mining operation.

The drones completed a general internal visual inspection, followed by detailed visual inspection and core sampling by a six-person rope-access team. “The deliverable was a comprehensive report, with recommendations signed off by our consulting engineers,” Skyriders Marketing Manager Mike Zinn explains.

The deployment of drones makes for rapid and safe visual inspections. “This allows decisionmakers such as engineers and plant owners to formulate a more focused inspection plan, honing in on the areas of concern picked up during the drone inspection,” Zinn elaborates.

Introduced by Skyriders in 2015, the use of drones has become an integral element of the company’s turnkey service offering. This comprises visual inspection using drones, detailed inspection by means of rope access, repairs undertaken by rope access, and then using drones as a quality-control measure to inspect and verify the final repairs.

This is the maiden project that Skyriders has undertaken for Dundee Precious Metals, with Tsumeb Namibia being an important showcase for its project and service offering. With commodity prices remaining under strain across the board, Skyriders’ turnkey rope-access solutions extends its clients’ inspection and maintenance budgets, saving both time and money.

Skyriders offers a full suite of inspection services, from NDT to rope access. Its in-house expertise includes concrete repair, confined spaces, painting, bolting, rigging and welding, and work-at-height. Its technicians are not only qualified and highly skilled in rope access, but also have expertise in critical inspection methodologies such as NDT and drone operations.

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