Dry-type transformer specialist Trafo Power Solutions has delivered transformers and other electrical upgrades for a global beer maker’s expanded facility in Gauteng.

In addition to the supply of three transformers, the customer was also looking for a partner who would interface with the suppliers of various aspects of electrical equipment, according to Trafo Power Solutions managing director David Claassen. Trafo has therefore interacted closely with the customer’s Europe-based engineering team on the one hand, and with local electrical contractors on the other.

Meeting high-pressure deadlines, three transformers were designed, supplied and commissioned. These included a 1250 kVA and a 1600 kVA unit – both with 11kV to 400 V capacity – as well as a 2000 kVA unit for 11 kV to 690 V application.

“These transformers all comply with the European Directive on Efficiency and are the lowest-loss dry-type transformers available,” Claassen says. “This was the customer’s specification, as they place strong priority on energy efficiency worldwide.”

Also, in the scope of work was medium voltage switchgear, including two ring-main units (RMUs) with one a three-way and the other a four-way.

“We modified the RMU’s in line with the customer’s requirement, including a battery-tripping unit (BTU) on each,” he says. “This ensures there is power available regardless of the condition of the circuit breaker.”

As a brownfield project, there was considerable adaptation of design to suit the plant configuration. Instrumentation was located on a raised base, for instance, where voltage transformers and current transformers were installed for monitoring each RMU.

“We also supplied three very specialised distribution boards (DBs) between the low voltage transformers and the new sections of the plant and new brewhouse,” he says. “This non-standard design has a modular type assembly conforming to EIC 61439 and EIC 61641.”

This provides the highest level of safety and can be supplied by only a few manufacturers in South Africa. The DBs, which are fully-tested for IEC 61641 (Internal Arc Fault), incorporate 2500 Amp incomers, distributing through various feeder circuits to the rest of the plant. Two of the DBs are 400 V and the third is 690 V.

“Another non-standard aspect of the DB supply was its Form 4A design, so that each compartment is separate,” Claassen says.

He highlighted the company’s in-house capacity to provide complete solutions within tight deadlines. In this case, the design, manufacture, delivery and commissioning were achieved in just three months. Installation was also co-ordinated with plant shutdown schedules to avoid costly downtime.

“We develop non-standard solutions where these are required, and take responsibility for integration, compatibility, quality and timeframes,” he says.


Increasingly hemmed in by urban development, AfriSam’s Jukskei quarry and readymix plant have been applying ever more stringent controls and standards to remain a friendly neighbour.

When the Jukskei quarry began operation some seven decades ago, its location was decidedly rural. However, the surrounding area of Midrand developed rapidly, and in the last 10 to 20 years in particular, various neighbours have closed in around the Jukskei aggregate and readymix operation.

“Today, we are surrounded by residential, commercial and industrial developments,” Zielas Du Preez, regional manager for AfriSam’s Gauteng Aggregates Operations, says. “This process, alongside the changes in environmental regulations, means that we are constantly improving the way we work.”

Noise, dust, blasting and water quality are among the most important areas of focus. To minimise the impact on surrounding areas, noise monitoring is regularly conducted. Measuring points around the operation feedback information on how noise is being dissipated. The data populates an annual survey against which performance can be checked.

With the crushing of blasted granite into various aggregate products, and the constant movement of trucks and other equipment, dust is inevitable. A number of strategies to control dust are applied, Du Preez says. These range from sprays inside the high speed crushers, activated on start-up, to water spray systems along the roadways to suppress air-borne dust.

This success is measured with the monthly analysis of Dust Fallout Buckets, strategically placed in numerous positions around the operation. The collection and analysis of these buckets are performed by an independent consulting group.

Monitoring of water quality is also critical, both upstream and downstream of the pit. This is done at seven sample points, ensuring that any seepage from the quarry is not negatively affecting water quality.

Controlling blasts in the quarry leverages the latest technologies to keep noise, vibration and other impacts low. He notes that electronic blasting has revolutionised the quest for more effective and better controlled blasts.

“Using electronic blasting technology and blast planning software, we can simulate each blast within optimal parameters,” he says. “We keep air blast, vibration and fly rock to a minimum, while still achieving our required fragmentation for the crushers.”

There is even a public engagement element to the blasting programme, where neighbouring properties are kept informed through a roll-call list. In pursuit of safety, AfriSam also engaged with the Helipad next door to declare the quarry area a no-fly zone during blasting.

Du Preez highlights that extra security measures have been applied in the quarry, including lighting and surveillance– as human settlements encroach ever closer.


Maintenance contracts are an ever-more popular way for mines to ensure uptime on critical equipment; Kwatani should know, as it has customised contracts in place to service over 500 of its machines in the Northern Cape alone.

“Vibrating screens are critical to a mine’s material flow, which is its life blood,” says Kwatani CEO Kim Schoepflin. “This requires OEMs to be experts, not just in design and manufacture, but in service support and maintenance.”

As a leading local OEM, Kwatani has seen mines gradually embrace the value of maintenance contracts to avoid costly downtime. One of its contracts covers about 400 screens on a single mining operation. The range of its contracts extends to various commodities, from hard materials like iron ore and manganese to soft material such as coal. In one coal operation in Limpopo, Kwatani has contracted to service 160 of its machines.

Schoepflin highlights how regular, expert maintenance is vital for mines to achieve the lowest cost per ton in their production process. However, she warns that these contracts can only be conducted responsibly and effectively with the right level of knowledge and experience.

“With our depth of know-how gathered over more than 40 years, we understand exactly what inspections and critical replacement need to be done and when,” she says. “As importantly, we know how to conduct this work cost effectively.”

Accurate costing of maintenance contracts can only be based on a firm foundation of expertise, especially when contracts invoke penalties due to breakdowns. Kwatani’s experience in the field ensures that the requirements of its maintenance contracts are met. This allows the company to offer a range of financial models to customers when they consider such contracts.

“We are so confident of the quality and reliability of our vibrating screens and feeders that some customers pay us a cost-per-tonne rate to maintain them,” she says. “We design, manufacture, install and commission according to their requirements, and then we take financial responsibility for keeping them fully operational.”

Long-term contracts often also include a commitment to improve and enhance the performance of the screens over time. To do this work professionally requires qualified service teams who are supported by solid engineering teams. Kwatani has developed these resources locally over more than four decades, and continuously develops skills in-house, alongside the various management systems to ensure such skills are available timeously to the customer.

“In addition to training and employing local people for a service role at our branches, we also collaborate with mining customers to empower their locally based suppliers where this is feasible,” says Schoepflin.

She highlights Kwatani’s solution-orientated approach, combining the company’s expertise in its screening technology with the customer’s specific needs and resources.


Concor has kicked off the year strongly, winning a significant Eskom contract for the extension of Majuba Power Station’s Ash Disposal Facility (ADF).

“This award signals the faith of the market in Concor’s stability, depth of expertise and engineering heritage,” says newly appointed Concor CEO Lucas Tseki. “As always, there is considerable urgency to complete this project. We look forward to completing it on time and on budget with our well-established commitment to safety and project delivery excellence.”

While power stations are generally designed for a life of around 50 years, support facilities like ADFs are often built in phases to optimise initial capital costs. The design for this ADF extension has also considered the changes in environmental legislation.

The contract secured by Concor includes three lined ash platforms and two lined rehabilitation dams; each of these requires subsoil drainage systems, intakes and spillways. The scope of work also includes clearing, bulk earthworks and embankment construction required for the new ash deposition liner terrace, with a subsoil herringbone drainage network.

In addition to constructing a liner system to the terrace area, Concor will install a leachate collection network and system draining to a pollution control dam. The whole contract will include various associated access and other civil works, including extending the ash conveyor route canals on the existing ADF.

The liner systems for the ash facility and the various dams comprise 300 mm of clay as a primary impermeable layer, with a 1,5 mm HDPE geomembrane liner as a barrier. For the ADF, this will be topped with a 300 mm screened coarse ash ballast or protection layer, while in the dams it will be ballasted with a 300 mm layer of cement-stabilised sand and topped with Armorflex blocks.

The contract will involve over 1,3 million cubic metres of bulk earthworks, almost 540,000 square metres of HDPE lining, 11,600 metres of HDPE drainage piping and 14,000 cubic metres of concrete.

“This type of project amply demonstrates Concor’s capability, expertise and indeed capacity as South Africa’s leading black-owned infrastructure and construction services company,” says Tseki. “Our order book for the year is looking positive, and we are hoping to secure a number of important contracts still to be adjudicated.”


The need to incorporate environmental preservation techniques on site has become an ongoing and critical action point for the global mining and industrial sectors. Ensuring water contaminated spaces do not negatively affect surrounding areas is one such area where slurry and dewatering pump specialist Integrated Pump Rental can assist through its SlurrySucker® slurry removal solution.

Not only does Integrated Pump Rentals’ SlurrySucker® dredging system effectively clean process water ponds, return water dams or other water storage areas, it has become recognised as an ideal solution for cleaning water capture areas where silt or slimes is an issue or where water retention and water holding capacity is being threatened. Some of these areas are environmentally sensitive and must be protected from causing any pollution.

“Through our SlurrySucker® product range, we are now able to offer a complete solution to effectively remove slurry from any water-based environment and in so doing now offer one of the most cost effective solutions for any dam cleaning project,” says Lee Vine, managing director for Integrated Pump Rental.

The benefits of the SlurrySucker® extend well beyond improving mines’ environmental footprints. They enable increased water storage, the recovery of minerals and improved processing water quality.

“They further make it significantly easier to extend the life of water-dedicated assets by for example protecting dam plastic liners. Clients are consequently able to incorporate slurry removal projects into their planning in order to extract greater value from all non-mining areas,” Vine outlines.

The SlurrySucker® dredge system incorporates world renowned Grindex slurry pumps, making it the most efficient and cost effective electrically powered floating dredge system designed on the market.

Bodies of water, such as ponds, lagoons, dams and canals should be considered valuable plant assets and must be maintained to maximise their operational efficiency and contribution to optimised operational performance and the SlurrySucker® will deliver in this area without fail,” Vine confirms.

The SlurrySucker® is sized to meet the clients’ slurry removal requirements in terms of particle size, aggregation, distribution, cohesiveness, flow characteristics, sedimentation rates and specific gravity. Typical suction water agitation dredging usually achieves 20% – 30% solids for SGs up to 3.0.

Vine highlights two product options – the Maxi SlurrySucker® which is capable of moving 250 m³ an hour at 20% – 30% by volume – equivalent of approximately 70 dry tons per hour. The Mini SlurrySucker® operates at 100 m³ an hour, again at 20% – 30% by volume for roughly 30 dry tons every hour.

Whether it is short-term pond clean-ups or ongoing pond management projects, the SlurrySucker® is designed for difficult site conditions for many applications including:

• Mining – Process ponds, pits, tailings storage
• Energy – Power stations, oil refineries
• Industry – Chemical storage ponds
• Storm water – Sedimentation dams

“We believe the SlurrySucker® is the easiest method of dredging thanks to remote controlled height adjustment of the primary slurry pump and dredge head assembly,” says Vine.

The SlurrySucker® comes standard with galvanised frame structure and Integrated Pump Rental’s flexible design provides the optionality for stainless steel with polyethylene and UV-stabilised pontoons.


Concor’s new group CEO Lucas Tseki is confident South Africa’s construction sector is turning the corner, provided there is no further delay in the adjudication and awarding of large infrastructure contracts by government agencies.

“Concor has weathered one of the industry’s worst downturns and emerged with a robust balance sheet to capitalise on our current and future opportunities,” says Tseki. He says government needs to send the right message by speedily awarding contracts and putting contractors to work.

“As Concor, we are battle-hardened by the past few years and ready to embrace the prospects of 2020 and beyond,” he says. “For my part, I am ready to listen, to learn and to lead.”

The black-owned infrastructure and building construction company, previously Murray & Roberts Construction, is leveraging over a century of experience to become the leading player in its segment.

Tseki acknowledges there are many challenges lying ahead for the construction sector. Not least of these is the rebuilding of trust between key stakeholders including contractors, government, banks, developers and labour.

“The pressures of a low growth economy have strained relationships between the players in the industry,” he says. “We must now generate a more collaborative approach that prioritises continuity and sustainability in how we deliver and maintain the nation’s infrastructure.”

He emphasises that South Africa’s future economic growth relies on sound and ongoing investment in quality construction projects. Given the poor state of the economy, it is likely that innovative funding and contractual solutions will be required to pursue the necessary infrastructural and industrial developments.

“Effective Public-Private-Partnerships (PPPs), for instance, are becoming more vital,” Tseki says. “These could advance infrastructure development in education, healthcare, water, transport and other areas, especially where state expenditure cannot keep up.”

He says Concor’s solid track record in project delivery, commercial management and safety performance equips it to manage complex projects of this kind. He notes that there is appetite among lenders for innovative project models that are based on sovereign risk, while contributing to national developmental priorities that will fuel broader growth.

“As a company, Concor’s world-class heritage and proven ability to execute on time and within budget makes us a valuable partner,” he says. “The country needs the confidence to move into PPPs, but there is no time to lose.”

Concor is active in both inland and coastal projects, and has a strong presence in SADC. It has also just been awarded a large ash disposal facility contract at Eskom’s Majuba Power Station.


Trafo Power Solutions, experts in dry-type transformers, has recently completed a contract as part of a significant upgrade at a Mpumalanga coal mine.

This involved the design, supply and installation of two 200 kVA – 22 kV to 400 V – dry-type transformers, according to Trafo Power Solutions managing director David Claassen. Housed in specialised IP42-rated ingress protected enclosures, the units were specified by a design house on behalf of the end-customer.

“The contract demonstrated our application engineering capability, and our experience in co-ordinating our solution within a larger project,” Claassen says. “This included meeting detailed specifications, and ensuring that our design for the transformers and their enclosures matched the requirements and constraints of the site.”

Trafo Power Solutions also equipped the units with the necessary earth fault protection and surge protection, as well as vibration pads.

“Dry-type transformers are well suited for the coal mining environment, with its hazardous areas and its regulations to mitigate fire risk,” he says. “The dry-type technology uses air to cool the transformers, doing away with the need to use oil as a coolant.”

Claassen emphasises that the absence of oil has advantages for safety, as the possibility of oil igniting is removed. The units can also be well protected against fine airborne coal dust. An added advantage is environmental, as there is no chance of an oil leak contaminating the ground or water.


Engineered to be adaptable to almost any situation, FLSmidth Buffalo™ Feeder Breakers are as reliable as they are efficient – even in harsh operating conditions.

A major advantage offered by the FLSmidth Buffalo Feeder Breaker to mining operations is its modularity, according to Leon Kemp, Global Product Line Manager for Buffalo Feeders and Feeder Breakers at FLSmidth.

“The modular design allows the FLSmidth Buffalo Feeder Breaker to be adapted for specific applications on the mine,” says Kemp. In an application on a potash mine in Chile, a recently developed low tonnage reclaim feeder breaker was used to accommodate a feed rate of between 132 tph and 160 tph, with a top feed size of 500 mm.

“Our design allowed the unit to handle potash with a bulk density of 1,600 kg/m3 and an inherent moisture content of 10%,” he says. “The versatility and flexibility of this solution was a key factor in the customer’s choice.”

This FLSmidth Buffalo Feeder Breaker is designed to operate without any civils infrastructure, which enhances its versatility in a mining operation. This means ease of movement and installation, while achieving the required discharge heights.

“The modular design of the feeder allows numerous discharge heights to be achieved by simply configuring the quantity of neck modules to facilitate the required discharge height,” he says. The unit at work in Chile has a deck width of 1200 mm, a length of 5 metres and a discharge height of 2,64 metres.

The FLSmidth Buffalo Feeder Breakers are produced under stringent quality control at FLSmidth’s substantial manufacturing facility in South Africa, which holds ISO 9001:215, OSH 180001 and ISO 14001 accreditations.

“This brand has a strong established reference base of units operating in similar applications globally,” says Kemp. “This allowed the customer to benefit from a productive collaboration between FLSmidth’s South African operation and its Chilean office.”

The feeder breakers are easy to transport in standardised containers. This unit was shipped from South Africa to Chile and assembled on site. The economy of the design also meant that fewer workers were required for assembly and commissioning.

The heavy-duty design features replaceable individual parts throughout the full length of the feeder. Flow control is achieved through adjustable hydraulics, variable speed drives and gearbox ratios. The hydraulic take-up system ensures ideal and consistent chain tensioning on the shaft take-up assembly. The motor control centre, which incorporates a variable speed drive, is located on-board the reclaim feeder; only the power supply needs to be isolated before relocating the unit.

“With auxiliary components such as wheel assemblies, lights, lubrication systems and safety features, the FLSmidth Buffalo low-tonnage Feeder Breaker is a true fit-for-purpose solution,” he says.


Usually the last contractor on site, electrical instrumentation and control (EC&I) specialist EnI Electrical puts extra effort into helping clients around Africa meet their scheduled start-ups.

With decades of experience in mining and industrial projects on the continent, the Zest WEG group company understands the challenges that developers face, Russell Drake, general manager operations at EnI Electrical, says. Among its mining projects, it is currently involved in a large copper mine expansion in Zambia.

“Large project implementation is complex, and is often made more challenging by the logistical constraints that many African projects face,” Drake says. “There are invariably delays at various stages, which places more pressure on the EC&I contractor, who must in many ways ‘complete’ the roll-out.”

EnI Electrical works extensively with project houses and directly for mining companies, and is a preferred supplier to many of them. A key reason, he says, is the proactive attitude that underlies its depth of technical expertise.

Calvin Fisher, EnI Electrical overhead lines manager, emphasises the importance of on-time completion, combined with reliable electricity supply.

“With the various issues that may delay stages of a project, there is usually growing urgency as the deadline date approaches,” Fisher says. “This is normally when EnI Electrical enters the project, so we are accustomed to working under some extra pressure. Our dynamic team actively looks for ways to advance the work, especially when the previous phases may not be quite ready for us to begin.”

He notes that the team often does not have all the site access they need, so it requires some innovation to push the job along.

“We may even collaborate with other contractors if we have spare resources, for example, to help them complete their work so that we can start ours,” he says. “Our focus is on being part of the solution, and this is an approach that really helps clients meet their deadlines.”

The linking up of electrical infrastructure, connections and equipment is one of the final stages to allow any project to start operating. In this role, EnI Electrical installs a wide range of electrical infrastructure including medium and low voltage cable reticulation, motor control centres, lighting, earthing protection and energy management systems.

Its control and instrumentation work ranges from process instrumentation and plant automation, to custom control stations and fibre or copper networks. The company also designs and installs overhead power lines up to 161 kV and substations.

“Our permanent bases in countries like Zambia and Ghana – with significant in-country investment in technical assets – underpins the efficiency of our work,” Drake says. “We understand our working environment very well, so we can quote accurately and fairly. This is vital to reduce variations during projects, as this can be disruptive to the project and the client.”

He emphasises that EnI Electrical’s experience and technical capability give it the confidence to present the most cost effective solutions to clients. This provides certainty and reduces overall project risk.

“We also take pride in developing local capacity in the countries where we are based,” he says. Operating from locally registered entities also ensures legal compliance and maintains a social licence to operate.

EnI Electrical’s local operation in Zambia – established in 2002 – employs 188 local staff including highly skilled technical teams. In Ghana, ongoing investment in assets and skills gives that office the capability to run up to R300 million in contracts at any given time, he notes.

“Our success in Africa is built on our specialised expertise and experience, but what clients really appreciate is our willingness and ability to ‘take up the slack’ towards the end of their project when time is not on their side,” Fisher says. “Our close contractor interface and solution-driven approach allow us to do this.”


As the economy’s largest consumer of water, the agricultural sector is learning the value of effective pond dredging.

According to Lee Vine, managing director of Integrated Pump Rental, the company has been applying its equipment and experience in the Northern Cape to help farmers ensure optimal use of water resources.

“With increased competition for the country’s scarce water supply – and drought conditions in some provinces – farmers are looking for ways to conserve and optimise water,” Vine says. “A key aspect of this is preventing their dams from silting up over time.”

Too much silt means less storage capacity for a farmer’s water, which can undermine the whole agricultural operation. It can also lead to sediment finding its way into pipes and pumps causing costly blockages and equipment damage.

“We find that a number of farms have challenges with blocked pipes and pump failure as a result of high solids in their water,” he says. “We have assisted with solutions using purpose-designed pumps, dredging barges and auxiliary equipment.”

Vine highlights that the rental equipment is easy to use and can be offered with specialised on-site supervision and training. Integrated Pump Rental also manages all the logistics to get the right equipment to the right place timeously.

“Our many years of experience in the mining sector – dredging process water ponds – gives us valuable insight into how to solve the challenges that farmers face,” he says.

A key aspect of Integrated Pump Rental’s offering is its SlurrySucker dredging unit, with a specially engineered dredge head that copes not only with high solids but with vegetation and sewerage. This solution features fit-for-purpose floats constructed from polyethylene for ultra-violet resistance. This gives them a service life of over 20 years. They are also poly-filled to ensure maximum buoyancy.

“Our range of quality accessories enhance the cost efficiency of the dredging process,” he says. “Our pump hoses, fittings and purpose-designed hose flotation devices ensure that the job can be completed quickly and effectively.”

Vine notes that many customers find Integrated Pump Rental’s rental option the best way to reduce capital outlay, while others request a full turnkey solution to address a particular challenge. The group also engineers bespoke dewatering solutions that match customers’ specific needs. These services range from concept generation and technical drawings, to structural simulations and thermal analysis; bespoke products can then be built, installed and monitored.

“Through our on-site operational assessments, we help farmers troubleshoot and we then design solutions that work,” says Vine. “With our technical teams on hand 365 days a year, we also make sure that we closely support the solutions we provide.”