When a leading company in the petrochemical sector lost patience with the lack of reliability of a trailer mounted water pump, Integrated Pump Rental delivered a cost effective solution: refurbishment.

The water pump’s constant breakdowns meant that an intervention was required, but budgets were constrained. When consulted, Integrated Pump Rental was able to offer the option of either a completely new trailer mounted Sykes diesel driven pump or a refurbishment that would include fitting a new Sykes pump-end. 

To make the decision, the pump was stripped and assessed in Integrated Pump Rental’s modern workshop in Jet Park. After discussion with the customer, it was agreed to conduct a complete refurbishment, as the diesel engine driving the pump was also underperforming – further disrupting the pump’s operations at critical times.

Andre Strydom, rental development manager at Integrated Pump Rental, explains that in any refurbishment, it is vital to match the customer’s on-site duty requirement with the pump’s technical capacity. 

“In this case, 220 litres per second needs to be pumped at a head of 35 metres, and the decision was made to replace the pump-end with a Sykes CP250i with a 355 impeller which would the reliable delivery of a maximum flow rate of 280 litres per second,” Strydom says. “At a total head of 55 metres, the Sykes CP250i diesel driven pump can still manage a flow of around 100 litres per second.”

The engine was replaced with a Kirloskar 4K1080TA diesel unit which was close coupled to the Sykes CP250 pump-end, together with the dropped discharge pipework. 

An acid wash was used to clean off old paint and rust, while all non-working parts were stripped down to the fuel tank and chassis. Mechanical improvements were also made to the trailer and included a new hand-winch installed to lower the A-frame for easier coupling and uncoupling from the tow vehicle. Strydom says the fitting of this winch system will also reduce the risk of injuries, such as lower back strains or feet being caught when the trailer is unhooked.   

The turnkey operation was completed by Integrated Pump Rental in a quick turnaround time and within the customer’s limited budget, without compromising on quality. The complete rebuild – including delivery to site – took less than a month to complete. 

Strydom says Integrated Pump Rental also conducted the commissioning of the refurbished unit on the customer’s site. 


Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions’ newly launched Technology Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe, is assisting the region’s mining industry on its exciting journey into the digital future. 

The centre has already begun working with technology-focused customers in underground hard-rock mines locally to raise the productivity bar. According to Sandvik Technology Centre manager, Hosea Molife the facility’s key aim is to use digital technology to make mines safer and more productive. 

“Our starting point was an Optimine implementation for the monitoring and tracking of underground mobile equipment and customer support for a MySandvik project,” says Molife. 

He explains that hardware is installed on the equipment together with the software to gather and transmit operational data, allowing mine management to view equipment location and productivity at any time. The data is automatically analysed giving the customer decision making dashboards. 

Ian Bagshaw, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions territory manager, says the technologies employed by the company essentially ‘take the lid off’ the mine, revealing vital real-time information such as tons mines and holes drilled. The Technology Centre can make use of various Sandvik solutions to render the data useful to the customer. These include MySandvik for equipment monitoring using up-to-date information, Optimine for integrating resources and optimising processes and Automine for automating mining activities.

Bagshaw highlights that the Sandvik Technology Centre has been welcomed by technology-focused customers in the region, who believe that this direction is an important differentiator. 

“These customers are certainly leading the way globally in the platinum mining sector,” he says. “There is  a strong safety element in the digital journey, as machine automation can help keep operators away from the workface and other potentially hazardous areas of the mine.”

There are already three projects underway at the Technology Centre, says Molife. The MySandvik solution is being provided to 100 machines on one site, while Optimine is being installed on a 76 unit fleet and Automine is initially being used to create a trucking loop for a single unit pilot project.

“The beauty of our facility is that it can be quickly ramped up as demand grows, allowing us to serve a growing customer base as mines see the practical value of applying digital technology,” he says. There has been considerable interest expressed by the region’s mines to date, with potential projects for the Technology Centre emerging in South Africa, Botswana and possibly further afield . 

According to Bagshaw, applying Sandvik’s digital solutions is the beginning of a  journey for mines, as they move away from paper-based and static data platforms. 

“In addition to installing the hardware and software to generate real-time data for mines, we also work closely with customers on how best to utilise the reports ,” he says. “Building these reports into their daily operations and real time decision making will bring the productivity value add.” 


Zest WEG is installing a range of electrical control and instrumentation equipment at Anglo American Platinum’s Mogalakwena mine in Limpopo province, working closely with engineering group DRA Global. 

The construction is taking place within the Mogalakwena mine’s existing North Concentrator Plant, around various plant areas. The Electrical Control Instrumentation (ECI) package is being led by Eben Kleynhans, E&I electrical project engineer from DRA.

According to Calvin Fisher, electrical and instrumentation construction proposals manager at Zest WEG, the Zest WEG work is being conducted for the mine’s Coarse Particle Rejection (CPR) plant, and will be completed in the second half of 2021. 

“In addition to applying the highest level of workmanship and professionalism, we are carrying out the project in line with our client’s Mining Charter requirements on local procurement,” says Fisher. “This means that over 70% of people involved in our scope of work will be drawn from local communities, and we are sourcing a significant level of our supplies from local businesses.” 

Equipment to be installed includes three 2MVA transformers, stepping down from 11kV to 550V, and a 630kVA mini substation for lighting and small power requirements. Containerised Motor Control Centres (MCCs), complete with Variable Speed Drives (VSDs), an HVAC unit, cable racking, cables, lighting and small power also form part of the scope of supply. In addition, two backup generators will be installed – one of 630kVA capacity and the other 330kVA.

“The three new containerised MCCs and VSD sets will be placed on plinths near the CPR feed tank, CPR process water area and CPR building and a steel roof structure erected over the containers,” he says. “The new transformer bay will be constructed next to the MCC, also with a roof over the transformer.”

About 70km of cable will be laid – ranging from low voltage to medium voltage cable – as well as 3300 terminations and almost 2,5km of cable racking. The various structures that Zest WEG will install require some 9 tonnes of steel. The instrumentation to be installed will comprise about 170 instruments including flow transmitters, pressure gauges, level switches, temperature gauges and density transmitters. There will also be around 250 lights installed, mainly outdoors.

Fisher notes that the electrical installation specialists are typically among the last contractors on a project, and must be quite flexible to accommodate certain modifications that may have been required in the civils, structural and mechanical work completed beforehand. 

“Wherever necessary, we work closely with the client to implement the plan smoothly while meeting their need for safe access to the equipment being installed, to allow maintenance to be readily conducted,” he says. 

In addition to the installation contract, Zest WEG is supplying some of the actual items of equipment for the expansion project, including WEG motors and containerised generators. The electrical installation work is expected to take about six months. 

“We are proud of the high level of quality that we bring to projects like this, where we apply our successful model of procurement to support our clients in meeting their critical local expenditure targets,” he says. “This also allows Zest WEG to make a valuable contribution to uplift local companies wherever we can.”


It is no surprise that cost cutting is the order of the day in the construction sector, but this should not prevent contractors from ensuring that their readymix concrete is up to scratch.

“The manufacture and supply of readymix needs to meet not just customer expectations, but also a range of regulated standards,” says Amit Dawneerangen, construction materials general manager for sales and product technical at AfriSam. “Our experience at AfriSam – where we are regularly asked to step in where a supplier has failed to meet obligations – suggests that it is time to go back to basics.”

The basics in the readymix sector, says Dawneerangen, involves an intricate balance of meeting South African National Standards (SANS), while delivering product at a competitive cost. These SANS requirements cover the manufacture of readymix, and the properties of the input materials. Complying with these standards implies that readymix providers have the necessary systems in place and equipment installed for accurate monitoring of concrete performance. 

He notes that South Africa has, over the past two decades, moved away from on-site batching towards greater use of readymix which can be produced at larger, centralised plants under highly controlled conditions. This gives contractors better assurance of quality levels, and allows the evolution of specialised and complex concrete mixes for challenging applications.

“The sophisticated technology used by many South African readymix producers underpins their compliance with the necessary standards,” he says. “For instance, there needs to be accurate weighing equipment in the batching plant, and systems to alert management if tolerances are breeched.”

This equipment must be calibrated regularly – internally and externally – to ensure accuracy. The standard SANS 878 specifies the tolerances within which the manufacturing and application of readymix must take place. For cement itself, there is SANS 50197 which applies, while standards for aggregate and sand are governed by SANS 1083.

Dawneerangen points to the growing number of ‘independent’ readymix companies who are not formally linked to the producers of construction materials like cement and aggregate. The difficult conditions which have prevailed recently in the construction sector has made it difficult for many to sustain themselves and cost cutting is affecting product quality. 

He emphasises that contractors need to carefully examine the quality systems in place at any prospective readymix provider before finalising procurement contracts. Without the assurance that these systems are being effectively applied, a contractor can expose their projects – and their business as a whole – to a range of serious risks. 


Noting a marked increase in the demand for dry-type transformers for data centres being built in South Africa, Trafo Power Solutions will supply four 1600 kVA units to yet another data centre in Gauteng.

The country is benefiting from a wave of data centre investments in African countries including Kenya and Nigeria, according to a recent Standard Bank report. The trend is driven by advances in connectivity and data consumption, as smartphone use on the continent grows rapidly. Download speeds are rising which, in turn, boosts data consumption. There is also a global shift – driven by factors like data protection regulations – towards hosting data closer to where it is ultimately consumed.

Trafo Power Solutions managing director David Claassen highlights that data centres are energy-intensive, and need high levels of electrical power. In this context, the appropriate transformers with requisite protection devices are vital to support applications as robust as these. 

“Dry-type transformers are ideal for data centres, especially from a safety, reliability and environmental perspective,” says Claassen. “In addition, the load characteristics need to be considered. To suit the high percentage of non-linear or harmonic load, for instance, these transformers have a design K-factor of 13.”

The units were manufactured to the highest level of quality by TMC, a leading Italian transformer OEM, with whom Trafo Power Solutions has partnered to bring dry-type transformers to the African continent. These low-loss transformers conform to the European Directive EU 548-2014, providing considerable savings in energy consumption. An electrostatic shield is an important element of the design, diverting leakage currents to ground. 

“With our experience in dry-type transformer installations around Africa, Trafo Power Solutions are well equipped to assess the application requirement in data centres,” Claassen says. “In conjunction with our manufacturing partner, we can design and deliver a fast-track solution to meet the end-user’s specific needs.”

It is likely that new undersea cables to Africa will continue to raise broadband capacity, driving the trend for more data centres to be established locally.


Construction is underway at Paarl Rock, the fifth building in Concor’s 22-hectare Conradie Park development in Cape Town.

Piling for the eight-storey block began in May 2021, marking the start of a one-year building programme, according to Mark Schonrock, property development manager at Concor. Paarl Rock will comprise 266 architecturally designed apartments in an affordable model for first-time home owners. 

The block is underpinned by 158 continuous flight auger (CFA) piles, which present a quicker solution than bored or driven piles. With depths of 8 to 11 metres, the piles could be completed in just three weeks, Schonrock says, improving the pace of the project. 

“We have also installed two tower cranes – a 55 metre jib and a 45 metre jib – to facilitate our programme of work,” he says. These will lift and move concrete for vertical columns, as well as reinforcing bars for slabs and columns, and all formwork around the site.

Horizontal concrete slabs will all be post-tensioned, a current efficiency trend which reduces the amount of costly rebar required. The planned slab thickness has also been slightly reduced, from 285 mm to 255 mm. While a relatively small reduction, this will allow a saving of some 450 m3 of concrete over the planned area of 15,000 m2 of slab work.

“Pouring of slabs will be conducted by a truck-mounted boom placer, which enhances construction efficiency especially where large continuous pours of 200 to 220 m3 are required on this project,” he says.

The Paarl Rock block will include ground floor retail space, two lifts and a roof top deck on the sixth floor looking westwards at Devil’s Peak and over the Cape Town central business district towards Signal Hill. To minimise the cost of long-term maintenance on the outside walls, the design makes use of face brick – but with a difference. 

“Different colours and shapes of face brick have been specified to create texture and variety in the façade,” he explains. “Patterns are also created with rustication, using bricks of different shapes or with varied orientation.”

A perforated design is also used for the brick walls in front of drying yards, letting through light and air while also giving an attractive texture to the building façade. The laying of face bricks requires a somewhat elevated level of skill and attention, and also takes longer, so the best artisans are put onto the rustication work.

Schonrock notes that Cape Town still offers a good pool of bricklaying skills, but the long period of depressed conditions in the sector is going to be felt in skills supply as building activity improves. As part of its corporate contribution to skills development, Concor conducts a range of training on its Conradie Park site. 

“Through the National Youth Service programme, for instance, we are training six local bricklayer learners,” he says. “Beginning in November 2020, they completed a six-month training course and were then placed with selected sub-contractors to work on the current project.”

Paarl Rock’s innovations include an energy-efficient hot water system for residents, lowering their cost of living and taking load off the national grid. 

A centralised hot water generation system on the ground floor raises the upfront cost but provides many long-term benefits to users. An on-roof solar generator will assist in ‘over-heating’ water during the day in a specially-designed storage vessel to around 85 to 90 C. 

“Tapping into off-grid power in this way means that residents can save on what they pay in water-heating bills,” he says. 

The development is also conserving water and reducing water costs by supplying its own irrigation needs from a master incoming line of treated effluent – at just five to 10% of the cost of potable water. The water quality from this line, which is clean enough to be discharged into river systems, is further treated on site and also used for all irrigation and cleaning purposes.

Concor has been on site at Conradie Park – where the old Conradie government hospital closed about a decade ago – for about two and a half years, preparing the infrastructure for the developments. 

Roads have been installed, along with stormwater drains and a dedicated sewage reticulation system. A pump station was installed to move sewage over the Elsie’s River canal to the main Athlone sewer system and three new electrical substations were constructed.

The Conradie Better Living model is one of seven ‘game changer’ projects which has been prioritised by the Western Cape Government. This aims to improve the lives of citizens through the Finance Linked Individual Subsidy Programme, providing affordable housing situated near the city’s main arterial routes and job opportunities.


When a project to re-mine stockpiles at a large iron ore operation discovered its planning assumptions had been too optimistic, Pilot Crushtec was able to save the day with its experience and its ready fleet of Metso crushing equipment.

The plan was initially to feed natural fines – less than 8 mm in size – from run-of-mine (ROM) stockpiles to the smelter, later introducing a mobile jaw crusher and then mobile cone crushers with a sizing screen. It was found, however, that the portion of fines in the stockpile was much less than expected, putting the whole project in jeopardy. 

To rescue the situation, a fully mobile three-stage crushing and screening plant was urgently required to meet the required tonnages. Crushing and screening specialist Pilot Crushtec, who is also the local distributor of Metso equipment, had the answer and was able to deploy the necessary equipment on site within a few weeks. This included a Metso Lokotrack LT106 mobile jaw crusher, two mobile cones crushers – a Metso Lokotrack LT200HP standard and an LT200HP Short Head – and a Metso Lokotrack ST4.8 triple-deck mobile screen.

This was not the end of the challenges, though, as it soon became apparent that the concentration of iron within the stockpiled ore was lower than believed. Fortunately, the natural fines were richer than anticipated, presenting the opportunity of blending them with the lower-grade crushed ore. Here the Metso ST2.8 screen proved to be the key, with its two-way split providing a consistent supply of iron-rich natural fines to be blended with the stockpiles where required. 

The next step was to find ways of improving production of minus 8 mm material, although the 150 tonnes per hour being achieved was already regarded as good. With Pilot Crushtec’s experience, supported by Metso’s Bruno simulation software, a further increase of 10 to 15% was targeted. The strategy involved a range of complex ‘tweaks’ including an optimised liner profile, a change in screening media and apertures, and splitting the process train. 

This delivered the production target, with better continuity in the process while ensuring that the first two stages of crushing were not constrained by bottlenecks in the tertiary crushing and screening stage. This also reduced fuel and wear costs, as the equipment in the first half of the train could produce the same amount of material in fewer hours. 


Providing solutions to challenging dewatering applications is what Integrated Pump Rental built its solid reputation on and mines from as far afield as Botswana have called on this dewatering specialist to resolve water issues. 

Recently a Sykes diesel driven pump set was used to rapidly dewater an open pit at an existing copper mine in northern Botswana. Using this high performance, high head pump set, 103 million litres of water was removed in just 30 days to enable exploratory drilling to take place. 

Steve du Toit, rental development manager at Integrated Pump Rental, explains that due to unseasonably high rainfall it was no longer possible to reach the benches and the face where the exploratory core drilling needed to be done. 

“This was when the mine reached out to us requesting rapid assistance to avoid any further delays,” du Toit says. “After assessing the application requirement and operating conditions, we selected and dispatched one of our Sykes XH 150 rental pump sets.” 

The Sykes XH 150 Rental pump sets are available either as trailer mounted units or on skids, allowing for easy installation on site, also facilitating the moving of the unit from section to section as required. In this instance, a skid mounted unit was used. 

An advantage with the Sykes XH150 is that it offers automatic priming which meant that on arrival at the mine the unit could quickly be put to work dewatering the open pit. This unit has a flow rate of 120 litres per second which meant that is could move some 3456 m3 of water in eight hours, and as bonus it is also capable of handling solids with ease. 

Engineered for reliable performance with low fuel consumption, the pump is able to work in dewatering applications for extended periods of time and its ability to operate in ‘snore’ conditions allows for conditions where suction levels may fluctuate. 

Du Toit explains that in this particular application, renting a Sykes pump set made more sense for the mine but where ongoing dewatering is required in surface and underground mines customer often prefer to purchase the pump set outright. “In a lot of these instances, we are still called upon to enter in service level agreements to ensure that the pump sets are correctly maintained ensuring the lowest total cost of ownership.” 


Having been introduced to the southern African market only a year ago, there are already two Rhino 100 ‘plug-and-drill’ raiseborers from Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions destined for local mining sites. 

One unit will soon be at work in Botswana, while the second will be delivered to a large South African mine later this year, according to Saltiel Pule, Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions’ business line manager for underground drilling in southern Africa. 

“This machine has raised considerable interest in our market, and we fully expect to see five units at work in our region by the end of 2022,” says Pule. The primary application of the Rhino 100 is for drilling of production slots, but it also makes a valuable contribution in a range of other applications – from ventilation raises and escape routes to ore passes and connections between tunnels. 

“Using conventional drill and blast methods, these vertical or inclined holes can take mines three to six months to complete,” he says. “With the Rhino 100, we are talking about durations of less than a week.”

Drilled as relief holes in sub-level open stoping, slot raises provide the necessary void space for blasting, allowing the expansion of blasted rock into the void to improve fragmentation. Dean Zharare, sales engineer for underground drilling at Sandvik Mining & Rock Solutions, highlights that the conventional blasting of slot raises often creates a bottleneck for mines. 

“We have encountered situations where mine personnel have to return two or three times to a slot raise before it is ready, due to misfires, for instance,” says Zharare. “This creates a bottleneck in the mining process, reducing the monthly metres achieved.”

The mobility and drilling speed of the Rhino 100 can transform this scenario, he says, with an expectation that monthly metres drilled could be improved by 65%. There is even the possibility that one of the units in South Africa will be operated remotely with the operator based on surface while it drills underground stopes. 

Drilling holes of 750 mm in diameter, the Rhino 100 boasts penetration rates of about 2 metres per hour, more than double the rate of conventional methods. As important as the speed, he says, is the reliability of the result.

“These larger holes make the blast much more reliable, avoiding any time consuming and dangerous redrilling in the even of a block ‘freezing’ after an unsuccessful blast,” he says.

Underpinning the machine’s mobility is its ability to carry its own components, including rods, cables, hydraulics and the raiseboring head. It is pulled by a specially adapted double-axle John Deere tractor. To optimise the set-up time – which can take as little as 10 minutes – it has outriggers for stability rather than needing a concrete pad to be poured. No roof bolting is required either, as an inclinometer gives the operator the necessary coordinates for a surveyor to confirm before drilling operations begin.

Since the Rhino 100 was launched 2017, it has achieved a strong global footprint, with over 20 units operating worldwide. Australia has seen particularly strong take-up, with one contractor already ordering four machines. Underground expansions at almost a dozen operations around southern Africa present exciting opportunities for the future of the Rhino 100 in this region, says Zharare. 


AfriSam’s specialised Roadstab cement is helping pave the way for a safer R67/5 road between Queenstown and Whittlesea in the Eastern Cape. 

The contractor – the Raubex Construction and Roadmac Surfacing Cape Joint Venture (RBX / RMSC JV) project – will consume around 180,000 bags of AfriSam’s Roadstab cement for the stabilisation of the road’s G4 sub-base layer. The contract covers 18 km of roadway on the R67/5 route, from the Swart Kei River bridge in the south to Queenstown in the north. 

A complete rehabilitation is underway which will see the road upgraded and widened. The road’s existing three metre per lane will be widened to 3,7 metre per lane, plus a 3 metre surfaced shoulder and rounding off on each side. Some vertical realignment is taking place, such as at those areas where drainage problems are addressed, where livestock crossings are required and at the new Swart Kei River bridge. This realignment will improve line of sight for motorists, allowing the authorities to raise the current 80 km/hr speed limit to 100 km/hr. 

About 700 m3 per day of material is moved to level out the road, allowing the contractors to get on timeously to the layer works – the lower selected and upper selected layers. These comprise an imported G5 crushed gravel material of 300 mm, which is compacted to 95% of modified AASHTO density. This is followed by a 300 mm thick G4 sub-base layer which is stabilised with AfriSam’s Roadstab cement product. 

The project’s stabilisation design requires a 3% portion of AfriSam Roadstab cement in the G4 sub-base. The 150 mm base layer is of G1 imported crushed stone, compacted to 88% of apparent relative density. The road is then completed with a surface of 20 mm Cape Seal with two slurries.

AfriSam ensures that the supply of road stabilising cement is ready and available when required, to support the scheduled roll-out of road construction activities. The Roadstab cement is trucked to site from AfriSam’s Queenstown depot, which is supplied by train line from the company’s Ulco factory in the Northern Cape. The nationwide footprint of AfriSam also allows it to service the project from its Bloemfontein depot, when necessary. 

The road project also includes the building of a new bridge over the Swart Kei River and the widening of the Klaas Smuts River Bridge. The project began in July last year and completion is scheduled for April 2023.