Engineering and technological solutions

ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS

The safety controls that are recommended following investigations should continually move up the hierarchy of control. For this reason, significant investment continues to be placed in engineering controls to manage risks.

Our new locomotive intelligence system was fully implemented at our conventional underground mines in 2012. This system is multi-layered, and its functionalities include the continuous monitoring of rail conditions; the capture of data related to the locomotives’ operation; collision-avoidance technology; the automatic slowing-down of vehicles when they come into close proximity with other locomotives or when they pass certain beacons in high-risk areas; and the overall condition and maintenance of the vehicles.

At present we are investigating alternative methodologies in our use of explosives. Our aims here are to reduce the quantities of explosives used; employ explosives more safely and effectively; and develop safer ways of conducting entry examination and safe declaration in areas where explosions have been carried out.

We are also considering alternatives to using scrapers and winches in the conventional underground mines.

In 2012, we completed a review aimed at identifying challenges facing the mechanised mines in Amplats. One of the key areas singled out for improvement was the need to standardise equipment in order to improve both planned and break-down maintenance. This will not only reduce the time a machine spends in the workshop, but will also provide a cost benefit, since mine-stores will no longer be required to maintain stock of a wide variety of spare parts.

Elimination of low-energy incidents

More than 40% of injuries sustained by staff at Amplats are the consequence of low-energy agencies. These include incidents related to the handling of various materials and to slipping and falling, most of which result in hand and foot injuries. We continue to focus on the elimination of these low-energy injuries through innovation and improved controls.