South Africa's Impala Opencast Project completed

impala concorConcor Opencast Mining has completed the Impala Opencast Project in Rustenburg, South Africa, 13 years after the project began

The project was awarded to the company in 2002, and mining commenced in the UG2 core body in 2005. Since 2002, the contract was renewed every year, until all opencast resources were depleted. Between November 2009 and December 2013, Concor Opencast Mining mined 49.3mn bm3 of blasted overburden, 6.6mn bm3 of topsoil and 8.9mn tons of reef, the company stated.

According to Concor, 240 people worked on the project site, which spanned an area of 15km. Equipment comprised five bulk excavators for overburden removal; six smaller excavators for cleaning the ore body and extraction of the ore body; five dozers for moving overburden and top soil; 25 trucks on site; and three water carts and various ancillary support plants. A static jaw crusher serviced the southern pits during the project, while a mobile jaw crusher serviced the northern pits.

Roger Hearne, acting general manager of Concor Opencast Mining, said, “This project was tightly controlled throughout its duration to mitigate the associated challenges. Mining took place in close proximity to both mine infrastructure and housing occupied by members of the local community.

“Great care had to be taken not to impact these structures and we achieved this by keeping the vibration from blasting to a minimum. In addition, blasting was only carried out twice a week out of consideration for the local communities.”

Hearne added that care was taken not to drill holes all the way underground, and to ensure this, the team worked with mine surveyors. At the end of the project, the team had achieved more than five million fatality-free hour.

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