Booyco Electronics will quickly transition into a fully-fledged international service provider of proximity detection systems (PDS) in 2022. This follows the conclusion of a collaboration agreement with global smart technology solutions specialist Wenco International Mining Systems (Wenco).

The agreement will see both companies work in partnership to deploy Level 9 PDS systems across the global mining industry – as part of their objectives to enhance safety and production efficiency across the sector. Through Wenco, Booyco Electronics is immediately exposed to Wenco’s global distribution network with customers in 40 countries and offices supporting those customers in every major mining jurisdiction.

“The benefits to both companies are significant,” says Anton Lourens, CEO of Booyco Electronics. “Wenco is an internationally recognised and leading supplier of mining technology solutions and fleet management systems who truly understands open pit mining and operations. This affords our business the opportunity to enhance our existing PDS solution footprint and track record through their network. For Wenco, they now have a reference point in assisting their clients reach Level 9 PDS status through a well reputed service provider. Together, we can now collectively offer a safety system in both open pit and surface mines for PDS solutions for optimal personnel tracking as well as fatigue management.”

The Wenco technical services team are experienced in implementing complex real-time mining operation systems. They also have the requisite change management skills to condition these systems.

“As we’ve seen in South Africa, implementing a surface Level 9 PDS solution is highly complex. This was therefore an obvious fit with our system and marks a major step in introducing the highest level of PDS solutions to an international mining clientele,” Lourens continues.

Partnership established through excellence delivery

The collaboration is the result of a working relationship established between Booyco Electronics and Wenco through individual project execution work for new Gold Field’s project Salares Norte in Chile, South America. This is Booyco Electronics’ first execution work in the country together with local supplier, Insucam, and therefore an accolade in itself. Wenco was contracted to deliver a fleet management solution to site.

“Having recognised the Booyco PDS solution, Wenco approached me to evaluate the partnership potential between our two businesses and the rest as they say is history,” Lourens highlights. “Wenco is also recognised for publicly championing the benefits of new technologies and this new relationship is an extension of that message to market.”

With a working partnership firmly in place the focus for 2022 is the successful commissioning of new deployments. “Wenco has a number of contracts already in place with clients that are urgently looking for PDS implementation, so this year is ripe with quick win opportunities for Booyco Electronics. We will simultaneously focus on developing Wenco’s corporate knowledge of our systems so they fully understand the PDS offering, the capabilities of our technologies and then also how to integrate the different solutions into a single cohesive and comprehensive solution,” Lourens outlines.

While the global potential for PDS is clear, Booyco Electronics and Wenco (which has a South Africa-based branch) will focus equally on South Africa. The requirement for Level 9 PDS solutions remains an incoming legislative requirement, which was postponed due to the challenges of COVID-19, but should, according to Lourens be promulgated into law very soon.

“We believe there will be a massive spike in PDS deployment in the next 12 to 24 months as a result of this, equating to a solid and financially strong period for Booyco Electronics moving forward,” Lourens concludes.


De Beers is making good progress on the installation of a comprehensive water management system at its Venetia Underground Project (VUP) in Limpopo Province. 

Costing US$2,2 billion to develop, the VUP will see an ultra-modern sub-level cave mine replacing the current open pit operations, which are due to cease shortly after being in production continuously since the mine opened in the early 1990s.

The cave mining method allows underground mines to achieve the same type of production rates that are normally associated with open pit mines and this is the case at Venetia. Once in full production, the VUP will produce approximately 6 Mt/a ROM to deliver between 4,5 and 5,5 million carats of diamonds a year. These figures are similar to those which have been typically achieved by the open pit operations at Venetia.

The new underground mine is located directly beneath the current open pit. Given that it is a caving operation, water ingress from the pit into the mine, particularly at times of heavy rainfall, is a risk which has to be carefully managed. 

The methods used to mitigate the risk include the installation of an extensive pumping system, as well as the construction of water control doors which will be activated if inflows exceed the capacity of the pumping system. 

The frames of the water doors are each about 8 m high and 7 m wide. The doors are 1 m thick and are designed to hold back a 100 m head of water. They will effectively seal off the ‘dry’ side of the mine, where the water pumps and other critical infrastructure are located, from the ‘wet’ side where the kimberlite is located.

In terms of the pumping systems, a major milestone was achieved in January 2022 with the completion of Pump System 2, which has the capacity to pump 100 litres/second (360 m3/h) out of the mine from a depth of 540 m. It has increased the mine dewatering capacity threefold and allows for active dewatering of the mine groundwater, which is recharged during the rainy season which runs from roughly December through to March.

The system consists of underground pump stations situated on 54-level and 46-level, as well as a pump station located in the K01 open pit on Bench No 27, which pumps to the open pit dewatering pump station located on Bench No 15.

A challenge on Pump System 2 was the installation of two pipe columns which connect the pump stations in the open pit and which are routed 120 m up the pit wall. After an initial unsuccessful attempt to install the columns, the installation method being used was reviewed and adjusted, with the new procedure adopted proving very successful.

Construction is now well underway on Pump System 1 with commissioning expected by mid-year. This system will add a further 40 litres/second (144 m3/h) of pumping capacity and involves the construction of a further two pump stations underground on 46-level and 54-level and one on the surface at Terrace 3 together with all interconnecting pipework.

Pump Systems 1 and 2 are interim water pumping solutions until the main pump station in constructed on 56-level. This is scheduled for completion in Q3 2023. Once it is in operation, the full pumping capacity will be 4 500 m3/h.

Construction of the first water door is currently in progress and it has had an extensive engineering review to ensure the integrity of the installation. The door is secured by 40 mm rock anchors, 234 in total, which are each about 2,5 m long and pinned 1,5 m deep into the host rock.

In total, six water doors must be installed before December 2022 to allow first ore production from the VUP to start by the end of the year. The installation of the water doors will therefore be a major focus for the underground construction team over the next several months.

An interesting point is that De Beers has invested R70 million in a new weather station at Venetia. This is linked to South African Weather Services and will give timely warning of heavy rainfall events and enable the mine to prepare in advance for possible excessive water ingress.


In the mine of the future, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are poised to play a leading role in improving health and safety, boosting efficiencies and achieving sustainability goals.

With BEV technology at their disposal, southern African mines are now able to consider how to prepare themselves to best advantage, argues Deon Lambert, business line manager for load and haul at Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions.

“For mines who are working towards carbon neutrality, there are options to combine on-mine renewable energy generation with BEVs,” says Lambert. “In countries where grid power is unreliable, this strategy also holds the promise of more streamlined and uninterrupted operations.”

With a solid reference base of its battery-powered LHDs and trucks already operating in the field, Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions has made considerable progress in introducing BEV technology into mines. From 4 t LHDs in 2 to 3 m tunnels to 65 t trucks in 5 to 6 m tunnels, the BEV proposition is well-proven. The key, he says, is to ensure that there is the right level of site readiness before bringing any innovation into an existing process. 

“For instance, it is clear that BEVs cannot on their own improve on the carbon footprint of an older, cable-trailing fleet if the mine’s source of electricity is still a coal-fired power grid,” he notes. 

Key to the enabling infrastructure for a productive BEV fleet is the necessary expertise for maintaining and servicing all technical aspects to achieve the expected performance levels. This process of skills development is well underway among Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions people in southern Africa, and will be rolled out into an upskilling process for customer personnel. 

“An advantage of our technology and design is that we minimise the new infrastructure that mines need to put in place to run our BEVs,” he says. “Our LH518B underground loader, which will soon be introduced to this region, needs no cranes or forklifts to change the battery, for example.”

Equipped with Sandvik’s patented AutoConnect and AutoSwap functions, the loader can change batteries on its own in just six minutes. Similarly, the battery charging facilities – complete with cooling component – can be readily moved and installed to suit the location of the fleet. The charger is also designed to have only a light impact on the mine’s electrical network. 

Lambert also highlights the importance of the extended technical support that Sandvik Mining and Rock Solutions can offer to mining customers who employ BEVs for the first time. Service level agreements can include close monitoring and maintenance of equipment, and options such as batteries-as-a-service rather than purchasing batteries.

“The entry of BEVs into our market is an exciting development for the future of mining,” he says. “To fully leverage its value, though, we need strong partnerships at mine level for mines and suppliers to succeed in this technological journey together.”


The new border post at Beitbridge, one of Zimbabwe’s first public-private partnerships, is making good progress toward completion by JSE-listed contractor Raubex, on behalf of its client Zimborders Consortium.

When completed, the facility will provide three new immigration facilities, each custom designed to speed up the flow of traffic, according to Raubex construction manager Herkie Sandenbergh. The first area, dedicated to freight trucks, has already been handed over, and processes approximately 500 trucks a day. Currently underway is the second phase which is focused on bus transport, which will be complete by May 2022. The third phase will be the facility for light traffic, and will be handed over in November this year. 

“Each stream will have its own terminal building where all customs and immigration documentation will be dealt with, thereby streamlining the processes by applying specific expertise in each area,” says Sandenbergh.

He adds that there is considerable related infrastructure around the town of Beitbridge that is also included in the scope of work. This includes an 11,5 million litre reservoir with associated pipelines, an oxidation dam for sewage treatment, a fire station, an animal quarantine facility and a new staff village for border post personnel.

As a key partner in the project, AfriSam has supplied some 7,000 tonnes of its High Strength R42.5 Cement from its Roodepoort plant near Johannesburg. The company will have delivered around 10,000 tonnes of bulk cement by the time work is completed – delivered in 34 tonne tankers. 

Adele Wentzel, AfriSam’s sales manager manufacturing for Gauteng, says the distance from site and the complexities of border crossings have been among the challenges to be overcome. 

“The AfriSam team has been working closely to ensure consistent quality and on-time delivery, while complying with the various customs requirements at the border,” says Wentzel. “Our close coordination – combined with daily interactions with site – have kept the project proceeding well.”

She notes that congestion at the border – which delayed trucks for up to a week – was a particular challenge in the early stages. 

“Our success to date has certainly built constructively on our long relationship with Raubex,” she says. 


Its commitment to Zero Harm and sustainability ideally positioned Concor to complete the Ikusasa office block in Rosebank’s Oxford Parks precinct to 6-Star SA Office V1.1 green standards. 

According to Concor contract manager Martin Muller, the company has constructed a number of buildings in this development and elsewhere to 5-Star Green Star SA level in terms of the Green Buildings Council South Africa (GBCSA) certification. Ikusasa will be the first one of its projects to achieve a 6-Star Green Star SA Office V1.1 design certification. Green Star certification is an internationally recognised mark of quality for the design, construction and operation of buildings, interior fitouts and precincts.

“Concor’s strict performance strategies to manage water use, energy consumption, process waste and pollution all contribute to upholding critical environmental standards,” says Muller. “In addition to carefully applying our client’s sustainable designs, our quality systems all contribute to the points requirement in the GBCSA rating.”

These included Concor’s application of a comprehensive Environmental Management Plan on site, in line with its ISO14001 accreditation. It also applied a rigorous Waste Management Plan, which saw 70% of demolition and construction waste being re-used or recycled rather than going to landfill.

“We also conducted a hazardous materials survey on the project site before demolishing existing buildings, in accordance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and other legislation,” he says. “Wherever we found asbestos, lead or polychlorinated biphenyls, these substances were responsibly removed as the law required.”

Annelide Sherratt, head of department for green building certifications at Solid Green Consulting, notes that four key members of Concor’s site team completed the Green Star online course – which helps the team understand and apply sustainable ratings on the project. Sherratt highlights that the Green Star certification focuses on nine categories of sustainability achievement, from management and materials to the reduction of energy use, water and emissions. 

“In terms of the materials category, for instance, the Green Star rating rewards developers and contractors for reducing the amount of natural resources used, and for reusing materials wherever possible,” she says. “At the Ikusasa project, Concor reduced the portion of ordinary Portland cement used in their concrete mixes by 30% as an average across all concrete mixes used in the project, and achieved a level of 60% recycled content in the steel requirement.”

Local sourcing of materials also played a role in this category, where Concor sourced 20% of the contract value from suppliers within a 400 km radius of the site, and 10% within 50 km. 

In terms of energy efficiency, Ikusasa aims to achieve a Green Star SA Net Zero Carbon Level 1 – by generating as much energy on site as the base building would require. This includes the use of a photovoltaic solar generation system on the roof of the building, producing renewable power. The building’s design and operation enhances energy efficiency by applying sub-metering to track and control the main areas of consumption.

“Any energy uses of 100 kVA or more are metered separately so users can benchmark usage targets and implement opportunities to reduce consumption,” she says. “This impacts on the production of greenhouse gasses and other emissions associated with electricity generated by fossil fuels.”

The data generated by the metering system is captured and analysed by a digital monitoring system for building management, but is also shared with the building’s tenants and visitors on a public display screen – aimed at raising awareness and driving energy-efficient behaviour. 

Conserving water is another important element of the building’s environmental performance. This is optimised using options like low-flow tap fittings and dual flush toilets, as well as water sub-metering for uses such as irrigation and bathrooms. Plant irrigation was reduced by 50% using water-wise irrigation methods and smart sensors. Also, the heating, ventilation and cooling system is cooled by air rather than by water. 


Water purification specialist PCI Africa has expanded the treatment capacity of a wastewater plant south of Johannesburg, installing over 65 WEG motors for optimal performance, reliability and energy efficiency. 

The project involved the addition of an extra module to the existing wastewater treatment plant, allowing it to treat another 50,000 cubic metres of water each day. Ongoing urban migration and development in the area has demanded that the region’s wastewater treatment facilities continue to increase their capacity. 

According to Lebo Rathebe, proposals manager at PCI Africa, the mechanical portion of the contract included the inlet works, 25 metre diameter primary settling tanks (PSTs), a biological reactor, secondary settling tanks and dewatering facilities. 

“We added a sixth module to the plant, which included the installation of two screw pumps to feed the PSTs, with four front rake screens and hydro-conveyors,” says Rathebe. “The PSTs were fitted with 30 metre long half bridges and two recycle pumps per tank.”

The new module treats water using a three-stage process for the biological removal of nitrogen and phosphorous, he explains. Influent – the incoming stream to the plant – first enters an anaerobic reactor before reaching an anoxic reactor and finally an aerobic reactor. 

“Recycle pumps transfer part of the stream from the anoxic reactor back to the anaerobic reactor, to preserve microbiological matter and keep the solution homogenous,” he says. “There are also recycle pumps to move some of the stream back from the aerobic reactor to the anoxic reactor.”

The WEG W22 motors, supplied by Zest WEG, to this project mainly power the numerous pumps on the site as well as the mixers and agitators, says Dillon Govender, Zest WEG’s sector specialist for public sector business development. 

The motors on this site range mainly from 30 kW to 90 kW flange-mounted units and also include pad foot-mounted motors from 1,5 kW to 37 kW.

“WEG motors are installed in all major processes, from screening, de-gritting, primary settling biological nutrient removal reactors, secondary settling and waste sludge thickening up to dewatering,” says Govender. “Our role in this project demonstrates our growing contribution within the wastewater sector in South Africa and the continent generally.”

In this project, WEG motors are also driving the pumps for return activated sludge and waste activated sludge. He highlights the demanding nature of wastewater applications, given the high levels of corrosion that can occur if equipment is not suitably designed and manufactured. 

“The Class H insulation on these WEG motors enhances their durability and lifespan, allowing them to withstand a higher temperature rise,” he says. “The contract also specified the inclusion of anti-condensation heaters for all motors of 4 kW and above. Our motors on site also boast paint plan 212P as well as IP66 ingress protection to help keep them free of moisture or dust.”

With the rising cost of electricity, it was vital for the motors to run at high efficiencies to control the plant’s operating costs. Zest WEG supplied its IE3 top premium efficiency motors to satisfy the client’s specifications and ensure the owner achieves the lowest cost of ownership. Govender notes that Zest WEG also offers IE4 motors, the next level of efficiency.

Rathebe emphasises the advantage of having Zest WEG supply almost all the motors on the project, saying this made life easier for both the contractor and the end-user. 

“In terms of ongoing operation, the plant owner can economise on the spares they carry, and be assured of responsive after-sales support,” he says. “As the contractor executing this project, it was easier for us to have one source of responsibility when dealing with the supplier.”

Govender concludes that the quality, robustness and efficiency of WEG motors allows Zest WEG to offer a five-year guarantee, giving customers not only value for money but peace of mind that operations will not be disrupted by unexpected stoppages. 


As the implementation of proximity detection systems (PDS) takes centre stage at surface mining operations ahead of the yet-to-be-announced compliance deadline, leading PDS and CPS developer Booyco Electronics has encouraged mining companies to give equal impetus to both vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-people installations.  

According to Anton Lourens, CEO of Booyco Electronics, traffic management planning has come under the spotlight recently as requirements for PDS and effective risk management interventions are set to become enforceable under the provisions of the Mine Health and Safety Chapter 8 MHSA Act 29 of 1996. 

Despite the uncertainty around the exact compliance deadline surface mines have, in recent years, advanced their risk assessments and installation of PDS technology, where significant risk exists. However, Lourens is concerned about the seemingly one-sided focus on vehicle-to-vehicle installations, at the expense of equally important vehicle-to-people installations. 

“Out of the enquiries we get, we have observed that there is limited assumed risk on people detection,” says Lourens. “We see a big focus on vehicle-to-vehicle risk, with limited requests for the people protection aspect of PDS installations. We are not sure if the approach is informed by internal risk assessments or the fact that mines have put in place measures to separate people from machines.”

As part of their risk assessments, several operations have, as an example, implemented pedestrian walkways as a means of separating people from moving machinery. While Lourens acknowledges that PDS technology is not a silver bullet on the quest for Zero Harm, he believes that, as an engineering control system, the technology has proven its mettle in mitigating risk at mines. 

“We have seen operations opting for fixed barriers as part of their traffic management plans to separate people from machinery,” says Lourens. “Separating people from moving machinery only mitigates part of the risk, yet the PDS can warn against possible collisions (Level 7), identify corrective paths (Level 8), or implement a ‘slow-down and stop’ intervention together with ‘motion inhibit’ (Level 9), which makes it a better solution than physical barriers.”


The popularity of mobile plants which host a crusher and a screen on a single chassis is testament to the benefits they deliver to the market; but the design should not compromise production performance. 

This is according to Charl Marais, Pilot Crushtec’s sales manager for South Africa, who highlights how the Metso LT220D embodies an innovative new way of combining crusher and screen. 

“The powerful Nordberg® GP220™ cone crusher feeds the ample three deck screen of 1,524 metre by 5,480 metre (18’x5’), with crusher and screen being optimally matched to ensure high throughput capacity of a single sized product or up to three calibrated end products,” says Marais. “The fact that the screen does not constrain the crusher output – or vice versa – is an important factor making the LT220D a real world-beater.”

Combining both elements on a single chassis through a compact design reduces the number of service parts, lubricants, moving parts such as engines and conveyors, making for more uptime and lower cost of ownership. Using crushers and screens in a train, he says, the maintenance of the engines for each component often doubles the downtime – this leads to an interruption in production and the double handling of material while the other is being serviced. 

Driving both crusher and screen, the powerful CAT® C9.3B diesel engine also delivers better efficiency with the direct drive power transmission through a Katsa gearbox, with optimised consumption levels of around 35 l/h. 

The versatility of the Metso LT220D has made the unit a star performer in both construction and mining applications in South Africa – thanks to its considerable production capacity and easy mobility. In road building, the units sold locally have produced sub-base material from G1 to G5 categories, as well as aggregates. In the local mining sector, it has been successfully employed to crush and screen lower grade chrome and in other cases blast hole stemming material. 

“In our South African context, the LT220D unit has achieved G1 production rates of 260 tph, and 300 tph of G4 and G5 material,” says Marais. “It has also produced 140 tph of aggregates, products split into a minus 19 mm, minus 13 mm and minus 6 mm categories. In the mining space, production rates of 160 tph on average have been achieved, generating a minus 8 mm chrome product.”

The screen-first feed configuration means that natural fines and fines generated by the primary crushing stage are removed by the screen so that only material which requires crushing actually reports to the cone crusher, enhancing production capacity. Contributing to its performance and economy is the centrifugal conveyor returning crushed material onto a lifting conveyor to feed the screen. Using centrifugal forces rather than pinching material between two conveyors means less conveyor wear and lower replacement costs. The one metre wide centrifugal conveyor also supports the high tonnages and ensures there are no limitations on the GP220 cone crusher’s throughput.

Marais highlights that the single chassis configuration makes the model ideal for applications where it needs to be moved frequently around a site – or between sites. Transport costs are reduced, as the whole structure – weighing just 48 t – can be moved on one lowbed truck. There is also the benefit of not having to align and configure separate mobile screen and mobile cone crusher components every time it is moved.

“By reducing the set-up time, contractors can enjoy more uptime – which of course boosts production levels,” he says. 

The compact inline mobile cone crusher and screen combination allows for a smaller plant footprint. The smaller footprint is a distinct advantage, especially as it  enhances the high product stockpile heights. The fines conveyor has a stockpile height capacity of 4,3 metres, while the side conveyors can create 3,7 metre high stockpiles. All these stockpiles are well spaced from each other due to the inline footprint of the Metso LT220D.

“The benefit of these high stockpiles is that you can reduce the movement of the front-end loaders which conduct the clearing-out function,” he notes. “Less movement is more economic, and also improves health and safety on site.”

The unit even offers a power take-off (PTO) feature that can drive an additional conveyor for more stockpile capacity. The IC600 intelligent controller monitors key operational process parameters. The information can be viewed by the customer from a remote location. The IC600 is also responsible for protecting the machine, looking after its health; where a jaw crusher is added to the train, it can also communicate with this unit to balance throughput rates and optimise production.


Speaking at AfriSam’s recent National Budget Breakdown function, an annual event now in its fifth year, Dr Azar Jammine, director and chief economist of Econometrix, gave a thumbs up to the 2022 budget, saying it was “highly satisfactory with no harm”.

He cautioned, however, that servicing the national debt was becoming increasingly onerous and now accounted for 14 % of government expenditure. He also expressed the view that there was nothing in the budget “to make one believe sustainable growth will improve forthwith”.

Jammine congratulated Minister of Finance, Enoch Godongwana for making a commitment to increased spending on capital assets while, at the same time, attempting to curb the growth in the public sector wage bill. “We’re now seeing an attempt to slow down the compensation of employees as a percentage of the overall tax bill and to increase the amount of investment in capital assets,” he said.

Jammine was the main speaker at the event and reviewed both the global and local economy. Sharing the stage with him was Trevor Manuel, who served as South Africa’s Minister of Finance from 1996 to 2009, making him the longest serving finance minister in South Africa’s history. Manuel provided valuable and insightful commentary, based on his intimate knowledge and experience. He also fielded many questions from the floor and enlightened the audience with his unique insights into the South African economy. 

Manuel referred to the “ravages of state capture”, saying it was not just about corruption but also the destruction of institutional capacity. As an example, he noted that the SA Police Service (SAPS) would be underspending its budget in the 2021/22 fiscal year by around R20 billion, giving the lie to the often-heard claims that the SAPS was underfunded. 

He added that the situation was even more chaotic at provincial and municipal level. On the challenge of water supply, he asked how it was possible that one of the major metros in the country – Gqeberha – had failed to maintain its water infrastructure.

He also referred to “this horrible phenomenon called the construction mafia”, saying that it basically meant that the pricing of contracts could not be realistic and that projects could sometimes not commence, never mind being completed.

Reviewing the global economy, Jammine said it had grown by 5,9 % in 2021 with the IMF predicting that this figure would fall to 4,0 % in 2022 and 3,8 % in 2023. By contrast, South Africa had shown 4,6 % growth in 2021, well below the global average, with the IMF forecasting that this would drop to 1,9 % in 2022 and a paltry 1,4 % – the lowest of any major economy – in 2023. 

“Since 2009 South Africa’s growth trajectory has lagged that of the world economy,” he said. He added that while activity in the world economy was back to the levels seen before the onset of the COVID pandemic, this was not the case with South Africa, mainly due to structural factors that inhibited growth. 

These structural impediments included skills shortages, state capture and corruption, cadre deployment, the deterioration of SOEs, lack of infrastructural investment, over-regulation and non-payment for work, and labour market restrictions.

On the subject of debt, Jammine told his audience that government debt to GDP ratios worldwide were “quite terrifying” with US debt, for example, now amounting to between 120 – 130 % of GDP. He also noted that since 2020, the US Fed had injected as massive stimulus recovery package of around five trillion dollars into the economy – to counter the economic effects of COVID – and that other countries had followed suit. The result was sharp upward pressure on prices. 

“The genie is now out of the bottle in the form of a massive surge in inflation the likes of which we have not seen in 40 years in the world economy,” he observed. He added that South Africa’s inflation rate was below that of the US for the first time in 30 years. 

Referring specifically to South Africa’s budget, Jammine said SARS had collected R182 billion more in taxes than anticipated, with this economic windfall giving Minister Godongwana considerable leeway in formulating the budget. He pointed out that the windfall was largely due to increased payments by the mining industry as a result of mining companies having benefitted from the current surge in commodity prices. 

Turning to some of the specifics of the South African economy, Jammine said construction – AfriSam’s primary market – had been the weakest sector of the economy over the past decade and now accounted for just 2,5 % of GDP. This was due to gross capital formation in South Africa having declined, as a percentage of GDP, from 19 % around 2014 to the current 13 %.

Concluding his presentation on a positive note, Jammine said the construction industry could receive a big boost from an increase in infrastructural spending. He noted that 51 well-defined projects worth R340 billion had been identified in the 2020 Economic Recovery and Construction Plan and that the project pipeline has since been expanded to include an additional 55 projects worth R595 billion. 

This amounted to a grand total of R935 billion representing 126 % of total annual fixed investment. He said that if all – or even just some – of these projects were implemented it would be a game changer for the industry and a major boost to the economy, with growth increasing by as much as 2 % a year.


Taking forward its sustainability agenda while safeguarding operational performance, Murray & Roberts Cementation is now powering its Bentley Park site near Carletonville using solar energy.

The move puts the multi-purpose training and engineering facility on a stable and reliable energy platform, according to Murray & Roberts Cementation engineering services executive Hercilus Harmse. It is also in line with the company’s strategic aim of reducing its carbon footprint. 

“In recent years, the case for a more sustainable energy supply has grown – especially with ongoing load shedding and power outages due to cable theft,” says Harmse. “This solution allows the leveraging of solar energy to protect the facility against the direct and indirect disruption caused by unreliable electricity supply.”

The solution is a hybrid system using solar energy for most of the site’s requirements, with lithium batteries providing continuous electricity in the case of outages. The existing backup diesel generating system adds another level of redundancy.

“This comprehensive design assures customers that we can continue to deliver our training and refurbishment services irrespective of the threats facing our national energy network,” he says. 

The photovoltaic installation comprises almost 1,400 solar panels and will generate 726 kW of power for the site. Securely situated adjacent to Bentley Park’s offices, training rooms, workshops and other infrastructure, the solar farm comprises about a hectare of north-facing, ground-mounted photovoltaic panels at an efficient 12-degree angle. These also feed into 800 kWh of battery capacity, which provide uninterrupted flow to the range of sophisticated electrical and electronic equipment on site.

“As our operational technology at Bentley Park advances, there is steadily more risk posed by unplanned outages,” Harmse notes. “Our training equipment, for instance, today includes sensitive and costly computerised tools such as simulators, which ideally require constant and controlled energy supply.”

These risks add to the time and opportunities lost when outages prevent training being conducted according to plan, or refurbishments and other engineering work being completed on time. He argues that the direct and indirect costs of power failures made the decision to invest in renewable energy a “no-brainer”. The board approval of the project’s budget allowed work to proceed from mid-2021, with the installation starting in November 2021 and commissioning was completed at end-January 2022. It is estimated that the investment will pay itself back through direct savings in just seven years.  

Prior to starting, the project required extensive data collection and analysis to identify electricity usage patterns and peaks – leading to the most effective strategy. Harmse says the renewable power project forms part of a broader sustainability strategy at Bentley Park, which includes environmental initiatives related to water, recycling and the reduced use of hydrocarbons in energy generation. 

“This bold step into a renewable future puts us on a firm footing where customers can feel confident about our commitment to sustainability and our ability to deliver,” he says.