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Although proximity detection systems (PDS) are not a new concept, their roll-out in the South African mining industry is on the increase, with uptake escalating in light of legislation introduced by the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) under the Mine Health and Safety Act (MHSA).
A clause in the MHSA states that all trackless mobile machinery (TMM) should be fitted with a PDS by June 2019. In line with this legislation, specialist safety and monitoring solutions provider Monitech is in the final stages of completing the supply, installation, commissioning, and training contract, in terms of its Matrix Design Group IntelliZone PDS, at integrated coal miner Sasol Mining’s underground operations, in Mpumalanga and the Free State, in South Africa.
Sasol Mining required assistance in complying with the regulations as set out in Chapter 8 of the MHSA of 1996, amended in February 2015, in terms of a PDS to ensure the safety of its personnel while interacting with underground mining TMM.
After a successful trial in 2015, the PDS was launched in South Africa in April last year, and the latest version of the IntelliZone system at Sasol Mining is the first installation of the technology in the country.
Hard work, practical experience and knowing the industry are key factors needed to succeed as a woman in the mining sector, 24-year-old workshop technician at specialist safety and monitoring solutions provider Monitech Zukiswa Mkhulisi tells Mining Weekly.
“Do well and prove your worth. It is not about being male or female, but about being skilled and knowledgeable in your field.”
Mkhulisi, originally from Umzimkhulu, in KwaZulu-Natal, has been working at Monitech, based in Benoni, Gauteng, since September last year and says she has gained valuable experience to further her promising mining career. With a National Technical Certificate completed last year from technical vocational education and training institution Ekurhuleni West College, she is adding to her arsenal and studying electrical engineering – process and instrumentation, at higher education institution the University of South Africa (Unisa). As part of her Unisa degree, she recently passed mathematics with a distinction.
Owing to the possible presence of hazardous methane gas during coal mining, it is common practice to monitor methane levels at operational mining sections. Thus, mining monitoring systems company Monitech’s Hazardous Area Control System was introduced to coal mining 15 years ago and it has been continually developed according to customers’ needs and advancements in technology, making it a mainstay of the industry, Monitech GM Renier Rautenbach tells Mining Weekly.
By law, a methane monitor must be installed on and interlocked with the coal mining machine to prevent production from continuing if the presence of methane above a predetermined level is detected.
Leveraging its success after 15 years of working with the Botswana-based Morupule colliery, South African mining safety and monitoring solutions provider Monitech is considering further expansion into Africa. Benoni-based Monitech supplied eight-channel controller systems and Laser Guard systems to the colliery more than 15 years ago. This equipment has been successfully used by the mine since then and has aided in meeting underground coal mining safety regulations.
The company provides round-the-clock technical support for these systems, as required by the colliery.
However, Monitech CEO Jarrod Hassett cautions that, despite the success enjoyed at Morupule, Monitech is not taking its plans for expanding into Africa lightly, as it is aware that there are a multitude of factors to consider. It will, therefore, capitalise on the experience gained in industry. “We have gained invaluable experience through our involvement in the Botswana coal industry and will use this experience as we expand into neighbouring countries,” he says.
Matrix Design Group, LLC has formed a partnership with Brentwood Electronics T/A Monitech for distribution and integration of the Matrix product line, including proximity detection systems, to mines and other industrial operations in Africa. The partnership’s initial venture has delivered full section, leading-edge proximity detection solutions to Sasol Mining for some of its underground operations.
“Matrix is proud to team up with Monitech to deliver innovative technologies to the African market. Monitech’s premier technical service teams are highly respected in the African mining industry, and we are excited to be working with them,” said David Clardy, president of Matrix.
“Superior service, safety, integrity and technology are the core of our business at Monitech. Matrix brings new technology solutions to the African mining industry, and together with commitment and local service from Monitech, African mining operators will find the Matrix systems to be the best performing, most reliable and lowest cost to own,” said Jarrod Hassett, president of Monitech.
Legislation calls for methane monitoring technology on mining machines to monitor and inhibit production whenever the existence of methane beyond predetermined levels is detected.
Use of modern technologies such as Monitech’s hazardous area control system has helped to shape the coal mining industry. It is legislated that purpose-made equipment be used. The technology must be approved under the relevant standards for equipment to be used in hazardous areas.
Introduced some 15 years ago, this system has become the “mainstay of the coal mining industry”. The hazardous area control system continues to provide excellent value. One of the key benefits of this technology is its versatility, which allows it to be adapted to any required platform. The equipment is also very flexible in terms of its applications.
Monitech Mining Monitoring Systems was recently commissioned to supply and install a proximity detection system to a number of Sasol Mining’s underground operations.
The project, completed in good time, was an initiative by Sasol Mining to have a proximity detection system (PDS) put in place to assist with the compliance of the Department of Mineral Resources’ regulations requiring integrated proximity detection systems on underground trackless mobile machinery (TMM) at its underground operations in South African coal fields.
The project, which included supply, installation, commissioning and maintenance of the PDS as well as associated training, was awarded to Monitech Mining Monitoring Systems, whose portfolio spoke to the project’s need for a reliable, effective, accurate, low-cost-of-ownership solution backed by around-the-clock qualified service and support. “Integration of the system had to be timeously completed with minimal impact on mining operations,” says Nick Murray, chief sales and marketing officer at Monitech.
Monitech is a Family-owned and operated safety and monitoring specialist company. Monitech’s products can be found in more than 90% of the underground coal mining operations under way in South Africa.
The South Africa-based company was established in 1995 by a fourth-generation coal mining family, whose roots trace back to the South Yorkshire coal mining industry, in the UK, as far as 1911. Monitech has carved a niche role in the supply of gas detection, proximity detection, machine-mounted performance monitoring and flameproof solutions to the South African coal mining sector.
From its offices in Benoni, as well as from regionally based operations, Monitech supplies around the clock technical, equipment and parts support for all installed systems, while also offering the highest level of support to its clients, priding itself on recruiting only the most highly trained technical experts, all of whom are vastly experienced in the underground mining environment.