Weba Chutes Systems, a leading local manufacturer of custom engineered chute systems, has secured a contract to supply four chutes to Sibanye-Stillwater’s Marikana operation in South Africa. These systems will replace existing conventional chutes that have been underperforming and failing to meet the required standards set by Sibanye-Stillwater.

Render from the 3D scan data taken during the site survey showing the relationship between the current equipment on site.
Render from the 3D scan data taken during the site survey showing the relationship between the current equipment on site.

The four surge bin discharge chutes supplied by Weba Chute Systems will be responsible for feeding UG2 ore with a chrome content of 25% onto a vibrating feeder at the Marikana operation. The vibrating feeder operates at a peak capacity of 250 tons per hour, conveying fines with a maximum lump size of 90 mm and a bulk density of 3.8t/m³.

According to Dewald Tintinger, Technical Manager at Weba Chute Systems, the existing conventional chutes at the concentrator had been causing frequent blockages as well as exhibiting high wear, both of which was unacceptable. “As always when faced with such situations our objective is to custom engineer a chute system that will address these issues and consistently perform according to the required specifications in the long term,” he says. 

Showing an engineer in the process of designing a Weba transfer chute.
Showing an engineer in the process of designing a Weba transfer chute.

These Weba chutes will be manufactured from 6 mm 350 WA mild steel plate, and will incorporate Weba chute quick release lips for enhanced efficiency. 

Tintinger says that Weba chutes are renowned for their reliability and durability under the most demanding operational conditions with a typical lifespan of up to 10 years in the field. Many installations have, however, surpassed this lifespan, continuing to deliver optimal performance.

“We continue to receive worldwide recognition for the unique Weba chute concept which is based on the principle of material impacting on surfaces that already contain material, ensuring efficient material flow,” he says. “One of the key requirements in transfer chute design is guiding and controlling the material throughout the system and we achieve this by leveraging our cascade or “supertube” concept, which ensures material-to-material contact at all times. Our chutes are engineered to precisely control the direction, flow and velocity of conveyed material, considering factors such as belt width, belt speed, material sizes, shape and throughput.”

Weba transfer chutes being fabricated at Weba Chute Systems’ facility in Germiston.
Weba transfer chutes being fabricated at Weba Chute Systems’ facility in Germiston.

By creating this cascade effect, the generation of dust and fine particles during material transfer is significantly minimised leading to a marked reduction in unwanted dust and noise pollution with associated improvements in health and safety. 

Achieving the correct and appropriate chute design is crucial, and Tintinger emphasises that the company doesn’t just simply manufacture chutes. “We assess both current and historical data to fully understand the specific requirements and this enables us to identify the critical factors that need to be addressed for a specific application. 

“Weba Chute Systems has seen remarkable growth and this further solidifies our position as an international market leader in this field. This statement is also underpinned by the increasing number of retrofit projects we are currently undertaking which indicates that conventional chutes often fail to meet expectations,” he says. 

Tintinger attributes this to the prevailing belief that chutes are merely platework. Leveraging innovative technology, Weba Chutes Systems established the benchmark for custom engineered transfer points that address the inherent limitations of conventional chute design.

While Weba chutes have primarily been applied in the mining industry for the transfer of materials such as copper, gold, iron ore, diamonds, coal and platinum, the company has noted a growing demand from other sectors including aggregates and sand quarrying, power generation, steelmaking, cement production and food processing.


Amid an evolving market landscape, customers in southern Africa are increasingly turning to larger mobile crushers and hybrid solutions, observes Francois Marais, Sales and Marketing Director at Pilot Crushtec.  

In the past three to four years, says Marais, there has been a noticeable preference for bigger mobile crushers such as Metso Outotec’s Lokotrack LT120 jaw crusher and the Lokotrack LT300HP cone crusher. 

“At the centre of this trend is the changing face of the contracting sector. Instead of the traditional three to five year contracts, most of the projects coming to market are barely longer than six months,” explains Marais. 

The Lokotrack® LT120E™ is a hybrid crushing plant with e-Power that can be operated by plugging into an external network or by the 420 kVA onboard diesel generator.
The Lokotrack® LT120E™ is a hybrid crushing plant with e-Power that can be operated by plugging into an external network or by the 420 kVA onboard diesel generator.

Contractors, he says, are therefore turning to larger mobile crushers to enable them to execute these shorter contracts quite quickly so that they can then move on to the next project. This allows them to increase the volume of work within a short space of time.

“In addition, larger crushing equipment allows contractors to minimise the number of machines that they have to mobilise on site. Having less kit to move between sites translates into reduced transport costs and quick setup on the next job,” he explains. 

With operating costs in mind, contractors in southern Africa are also increasingly seeing value in dual-powered crushing solutions. With their ability to have both electricity and diesel as power sources, hybrid solutions provide customers with the best of both worlds – significant fuel savings and a marked reduction in carbon (CO2) emissions.

“Significant cost reduction is achieved when customers can connect their mobile crushers to the grid or to the mine’s own renewable energy sources,” says Marais. “Contractors running these machines have seen a massive reduction in their cost per tonne of material produced.”

To provide context, a South African contractor running two Lokotrack E-models has seen a massive 30% fuel saving by switching to hybrid units. As a result, the company is converting its entire fleet to Metso Outotec dual-powered units.

With data being the new currency for crushing and screening businesses, telematics constitute an invaluable tool for gaining a competitive edge and remain one step ahead in tough economic times. 

To meet the growing demand for valuable operational data, Pilot Crushtec now offers the recently upgraded version of Metso Outotec Metrics, an innovative cloud-based tool for real-time monitoring of Lokotrack mobile crushers and screens.

“The new system moves from the traditional satellite feed to a GSM signal infrastructure, thus offering significantly better connectivity and optimisation benefits to customers’ crushing processes. Other features include CO2 tracking for sustainability benefits, 24/7 access to real-time data, a maintenance module, and critical dashboards for utilisation and geolocation,” concludes Marais.


In the mining industry’s drive to conserve energy, a focus on pumps is essential, especially given the sheer scale of pumping equipment required on the average mine and mineral processing plant. 

On this score, global minerals process specialist FLSmidth has allowed mines to achieve new levels of efficiency with the initially patented wear ring technology on its KREBS pumps, according to Stephan Kruger, FLSmidth’s Vice President Pumps, Cyclones and Valves for Sub-Saharan Africa, Middle East and South Asia. Mines have seen significant efficiency gains by using KREBS pumps, explains Kruger, resulting in considerable bottom line impacts when multiplied by the dozens or even hundreds of pumps often employed on a single mine site. 

A KREBS® slurryMAX™ high pressure tailings pump on a mobile skid.
A KREBS® slurryMAX™ high pressure tailings pump on a mobile skid.

“It is not only the rising cost of electricity that drives mines’ energy strategies, but also their commitment to a low carbon future,” he says. “FLSmidth’s KREBS pumps directly support these efforts by our mining customers, thanks in great part to our innovative wear ring technology.”

He highlights that two key aspects that reduce efficiency in slurry pumps tend to be suction side recirculation and mechanical grinding between the casing and the impeller. The wear ring significantly reduces both of these factors, leading to lower power draw and longer pump life. 

“Through our case studies, we have seen power draw being cut by 5 to 10% for the same flow and head with the application of KREBS pumps,” he points out. “Similarly, we have measured the impact on pump life, and have shown that the life of wet end parts can be lengthened by one and a half to two times.”

Final adjustments on a KREBS® gravelMAX™ pump.
Final adjustments on a KREBS® gravelMAX™ pump.

According to Derek Lane, General Manager Operations, conventional products in the market solve only one of these factors through impeller and liner adjustment which may reduce recirculation but simultaneously exacerbates the grinding. “This leaves the pump user having to compromise on efficiency, which we do not expect our customers to do,” Lane explains.

He says adjusting the wear ring allows the speed of the pump to be maintained as a constant, rather than users having to speed up the pump in response to the impact of grinding and wear. The wear ring in KREBS pumps can be easily adjusted so that it continues drawing the same power for the required pressure, holding energy consumption to a minimum.

The regular adjustment of KREBS pumps can also be done without shutting down the pump and disrupting operations, says Morne Potgieter, FLSmidth Sales Manager Pumps, Cyclones and Valves for Central and Southern Africa. This is important as it contributes to the general continuity – and hence efficiency – of the whole operation. 

“The wear ring can be simply adjusted by hand while the pump is running, and without the use of any special tools,” he notes. “This allows the gaps to be kept as small as possible to avoid recirculation inside the pump, while maintaining speed and pressure.”

FLSmidth makes the most of this technological innovation through its skilled field service teams and training offerings, which ensure that customers understand and apply the wear ring adjustment to best effect. Potgieter says the training leaves on-mine operators more comfortable with the task of adjustment, even if many of them may be hesitant about working on rotating machinery.

“We also do extensive technical training with customers on aspects such as pump assemblies, and make sure that we are available when they need us,” he says.

The life of KREBS pumps is further enhanced by the range of materials of construction available to suit the application, says Kruger. “The choice of material is based on the application requirements and in particular minimising wear. There are a number of factors considered which determine the material of construction such as pump size, impeller size and tip speed as well as slurry hardness.”. 

Materials used in the construction of slurry pumps are classified into two main types: metals and elastomers. For metal pumps high-chrome alloys, hypereutectic alloys, hypoeutectic alloys and stainless steels are commonly used. Elastomers options vary between natural rubber, polyurethane and synthetics such as neoprene.

He emphasises that the application of these materials makes their own contribution to the mining sector’s sustainability agenda, by reducing the level of scrap produced due to equipment replacement. 


2022 sustainability report highlights milestones in climate ambition and ethical leadership of the diamond industry

De Beers Group today provided an update on progress toward its 2030 ‘Building Forever’ sustainability goals. The goals were set in 2020 and are De Beers’ blueprint for creating a positive and sustainable impact in its host countries and throughout the diamond value chain. They span four pillars: leading ethical practices, partnering for thriving communities, protecting the natural world, and accelerating equal opportunity.

During 2022, De Beers saw advances across all four Building Forever pillars and all 12 goals, which included reductions in water use and energy intensity, innovations in diamond tracing technology, increased representation of women in senior leadership and progress toward its climate commitments.

A notable milestone was setting emission reduction targets across Scopes 1, 2 and 3, which have been validated by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi). De Beers’ near-term SBTi-validated targets are to reduce absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions 42 percent by 2030 and to reduce absolute Scope 3 emissions 25 percent within the same timeframe. In setting the targets across all three scopes, De Beers is extending its climate ambition over and above its existing commitment to be carbon neutral across Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030.

The SBTi-validated targets represent the reductions required by the organisation to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change. However, under its existing carbon neutral commitment and with the implementation of its ‘Reduce and Replace’ strategy, DeBeers expects to exceed its SBTi-validated targets for reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030.

De Beers also accelerated the pace of innovation and investment in its blockchain provenance platform, Tracr. The platform was deployed at scale in 2022 and enables participants to provide assurance of a diamond’s source as it travels through the value chain. More than half of De Beers’ global production by value is now being registered on Tracr, which was recently named by Forbes as one of the world’s 50 leading blockchains for the third time.

Al Cook, CEO, De Beers Group, said: “De Beers has a simple belief that informs everything we do: the diamonds we discover belong to the communities and countries in which they are found. We are inspired by the beauty and rarity of natural diamonds and the natural world, and we know how precious diamonds are – not  only  for  the  people  who  wear  them,  but  for  all  those  they  touch  along  the  way.

“Building Forever is about taking a long-term view. We work hand-in-hand with the communities in which we live and work to shape a better future. Our actions range from addressing the climate crisis to growing prosperity wherever we operate. And by using our proprietary technologies, we can now connect our customers to the origin, impact and stories of their diamonds. Building Forever will continue to guide every decision De Beers makes and touch every diamond we discover.”

The 2022 sustainability report provides a detailed overview of the Building Forever pillars and goals, along with key progress toward each –a summary of which follows:

Leading ethical practices

De Beers is committed to advancing industry standards, enhancing the transparency of diamond provenance and improving the livelihoods ofartisanal miners.

Key highlights include:

  • Increased the number of entities participating in the Best Practice Principles, the company’s set of leading ethical, social and environmental standards which are independently audited, to 2,690 from 2,283 in 2021.
  • Launched the Tracr blockchain platform at scale, enabling diamond origin to be immutably recorded from source to store. More than half of De Beers’ global rough diamond production by value is now being registered on Tracr.
  • Increased the number of mine sites participating in GemFair, De Beers’ programme to support the formalisation of the artisanal mining sector, to 263 from 219 in 2021. The programme also provided fair and equitable finance to support the operations of 49 members.

Protecting the natural world

De Beers understands that for its business and host communities to thrive, it must protect the natural world. In all of its activities, De Beers follows best practices for biodiversity and water management, air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, waste and mine closure and rehabilitation.

Key highlights include:

  • Achieved a 14 percent reduction in freshwater withdrawals and a four percent reduction in energy intensity compared with 2021.
  • In partnership with Anglo American and EDF Renewables, commenced development of more than 70 MW of renewable energy projects in southern Africa.
  • Invested $2 million in Kelp Blue, a start-up that grows underwater kelp forests off the coast of Namibia, which can absorb carbon up to 50 times faster than land-based forests. In addition to supporting De Beers’ carbon neutral commitment, KelpBlue will also create jobs and support sustainable economic development in Namibia.
  • Marked the 20th anniversary of the Diamond Route, the 500,000-acre network of conservation sites that De Beers manages across southern Africa, protecting more than 50 mammal species.
  • Continued Okavango Eternal, a partnership with National Geographic to protect the critically important headwards of the Okavango Delta. Progress included installing innovative water monitoring technology, deepening research and understanding, and engaging with communities on soil-friendly farming methods.

Partnering for thriving communities

De Beers is focused on working with a range of stakeholders to help build a sustainable future and contribute to a better quality of life in its host communities, with particular emphasis on health and wellbeing, education and skills development, economic diversification, and livelihood support.

Key highlights include:

  • Marked two decades since the introduction of De Beers’ pioneering HIV programme to provide free and confidential treatment to employees and their families living with HIV and AIDS. The programme has helped to save an estimated 650 lives during this time and has also ensured there have been no cases of mother-to-child HIV transmission among De Beers employees or their partners for 14 consecutive years.
  • In collaboration with Right to Care, rolled out a community-oriented primary care partnership to strengthen medical clinics in southern Africa, prioritising areas that lacked medical provision.
  • Supported 420 students in securing 12-month internships in different sectors through a partnership with InternationalYouth Foundation.
  • A total of 18 southern Africa-based companies completed the Stanford Seed Transformation entrepreneurship program that De Beers supports in partnership with Stanford University.
  • In total, more than 3,340 jobs were supported by De Beers through various socioeconomic development projects and initiatives and 71 percent of its goods and services were procured from local suppliers.

Accelerating equal opportunity

De Beers is focused on accelerating economic inclusion and supporting diverse voices to help shape the future of its business, host communities and society at large, with a particular focus on addressing the historical underrepresentation of women in its talent pipeline and encouraging fresh and diverse talent into the diamond jewellery sector.

Key highlights include:

  • At the end of 2022, women comprised 33 percent of senior management positions within De Beers Group (up from 31 percent in 2021).
  • Extended the partnership with WomEng, a highly regarded social enterprise committed to helping women and girls pursue careers in engineering and technology, for another three years.
  • Since 2018, De Beers has provided 89 scholarships to women studying STEM at universities in Canada, has reached more than 3,700 school students in southern Africa through STEM workshops, and has supported more than 2,400 women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses.
  • Provided funding for a free 12-week jewellery making course for teens in New York City, which aims to fill the void of limited access to jewellery studios for teenage designers. De Beers also established an internal Equity, Diversity & Inclusion (EDI)Council bringing volunteers from across the business to deepen understanding of the company’s diverse workforce and further cultivate an inclusive culture.

De Beers Group’s full 2022 sustainability report is available to read here.


Quality construction is the foundation upon which infrastructure and buildings can stand the test of time, providing the most value for all stakeholders including clients, users, and the broader economy.

David Akinnusi, Quality Manager at leading black-owned contractor Concor Construction, highlights that this principle is at the core of the company’s build-to-last philosophy. With its track record of more than 150 years of construction experience, Concor continues to imbed quality through its depth of expertise and dedication to quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC), says Akinnusi.

Backfilling and compaction of G5 materials in layers of 150 mm in preparation for the delivery and installation of the mini substation for 5 Parks Boulevard.
Backfilling and compaction of G5 materials in layers of 150 mm in preparation for the delivery and installation of the mini substation for 5 Parks Boulevard.

“Looking back at the iconic landmarks we have built over the decades, our commitment to this philosophy is well proven,” he says. “These mega-structures range from the Greenpoint Stadium in Cape Town and Pavilion shopping centre near Durban and the mega Menlyn Mall, to our current work on the Msikaba River bridge in the Eastern Cape.”

He highlights the key elements of Concor’s quality control systems as being its detailed systems and procedures which ensure operational standardisation across all projects. The company puts designated QA/QC personnel on each project, to monitor and ensure compliance to internal and external requirements and specifications.

“At the planning stage, for instance, our contract directors and estimating teams undertake detailed tender reviews – to fully understand the project’s resourcing, scheduling and costing requirements,” he explains. “Drawings are then generated at design stage for construction by professionally registered engineers, with collaborative efforts to identify and address any constructability concerns.”

Strict quality control plans are also compiled for the execution stage and agreed upon by the contractor and client. These plans outline the specific testing and inspection that is required for the different trades employed for each project. This attention to detail continues through the handover stage, when the structures are handed over to clients through trade data book reviews. 

“Our clients are contractually allowed to snag the works to ensure handover is done to their satisfaction,” he says. “A contractual defects liability period is applied to each project and, depending on the latent defect root cause, Concor remedies defects that arise during the liability period.”

Concor applies a rigid non-conformance system that determines root causes of defects, as well as corrective and preventative measures. Post-project reviews are conducted to ensure that lessons learnt are effectively captured and applied to the next project. The company is also transitioning to digital inspection systems for improved efficiencies and data analysis.

Akinnusi emphasises that Concor’s quality regime is aligned with world class industry standards, including being certified in terms of the ISO 9001 quality management standards. This keeps its management systems in line with the highest international requirements; it does the same in the fields of health and safety (ISO 45001) and environmental management (ISO 14001).

“These standards ultimately give effect to the quality of structures we build for our clients,” he says. “We are also members of well established and credible construction industry bodies such as the Master Builders Association, the Construction Industry Development Board and the Green Buildings Council of South Africa.”


A large complete substation E-house locally manufactured by Zest WEG will help power Sasol’s Upstream PSA project currently under construction in the Inhambane Province of southern Mozambique.

According to Lukas Barnard, Zest WEG’s Business Development Specialist for the oil and gas sector in sub Saharan Africa, the contract also includes locally manufactured transformers and diesel generator set – and is being procured by EPCM contractor Wood. The PSA development is an integrated oil, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and gas project. It will supply a 450 megawatt gas-fired power plant and an LPG facility in Mozambique, as well as export gas to Sasol’s operations in South Africa.

Lukas Barnard, Zest WEG’s Business Development Specialist for the oil and gas sector in sub–Saharan Africa.
Lukas Barnard, Zest WEG’s Business Development Specialist for the oil and gas sector in sub–Saharan Africa.

“This is an exciting project for the southern African region, and we are proud to be part of a development with such an important energy impact,” says Barnard. “We are also pleased to be partnering with the well-respected engineering firm Proconics.”

Zest WEG, part of the global WEG group of companies, will supply a complete substation E-house package measuring 45 m by 22 m in size and containing medium voltage (MV) and low voltage (LV) switchgear, a battery room, a local equipment room and an HVAC system. It will be manufactured and pre-assembled in Zest WEG’s advanced local manufacturing facility in Heidelberg, Gauteng. 

“This large and complex structure will include staircases and platforms, as it will be elevated 2,1 m above ground for ease of cable entry,” he says. “The design will accommodate the uneven ground on site by accommodating the precise metres-above-sea-level elevations of each corner.”

After factory acceptance tests (FAT) are conducted, the structure will be disassembled for delivery and reconstructed on site. Barnard highlights the quality and cost benefit of the E-house option, which can be built and tested under factory conditions. This enhances safety and avoids the costs, risks and logistics of having multiple teams on site for extended periods to build an equivalent brick-and-mortar structure. 

Given the humid and corrosive coastal atmosphere, the E-house will be constructed using 3CR12 stainless steel. The manufacturing and testing of the E-house will be conducted to Sasol’s stringent standards and requirements, he notes. 

The supply package also includes one 1,250 kVA Zest WEG diesel generator set for backup power, and two 2,5 MVA 6.6/0.42kV distribution transformers.

“Once again, these aspects of the contract showcase our local manufacturing capabilities,” explains Barnard. “While the gensets will be manufactured in our dedicated facility in Cape Town, the transformers will be built in Zest WEG’s Wadeville facility.”

Zest WEG will also be supplying a heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) system to control the temperatures inside the E-house and ensure optimal functioning of all components. He highlights that the company’s experience in E-house design and construction has given it considerable competitive advantage as demand for these solutions has grown.


Some advice when choosing the most suitable dewatering pump is not to confuse the concepts of head and pressure, according to Steve du Toit, rental development manager at pump and dredging dewatering specialist IPR. 

With over 16 years in the pump dewatering business, IPR has both the range of pumps to choose from and the expertise to guide customers to the right choice, says du Toit. IPR was recently appointed by leading pump brand Atlas Copco as a master distributor for the Southern African region for its extensive range of dewatering pumps. 

Set up conditions are critical for any pumping operation, especially where a high head is required.
Set up conditions are critical for any pumping operation, especially where a high head is required.

“In layman’s terms, the pump head is the height to which a pump can raise fluid – measured in metres or feet,” he explains. “The head is important when specifying centrifugal pumps because their pumping characteristics tend to be independent of the fluid’s specific gravity, which can also be referred to as relative density.”

He highlights that head can sometimes be confused with pressure, as there is a close relationship between the two parameters. However, there is one fundamental difference: head is independent of the fluid characteristics. 

“In other words, regardless of the fluid’s relative density, the pump will lift it to the same height,” he says. “It does not matter, therefore, whether the fluid is just water or a heavy sludge.”

On the other hand, pressure is indeed dependent on the fluid being pumped, and is affected by gravity. As a result, the same head will generate a different pressure – depending on the fluid’s relative density.

“Suction conditions are also relevant to the pump head,” continues du Toit. “So if the suction level is lower, the head measured will be less.”

What the motor of the pump essentially does is convert electrical energy into mechanical energy; this energy is then imparted into the fluid as pressure. When the suction level is raised or reduced, the potential pressure of the liquid is adjusted accordingly. The more pressure a pump can deliver, the higher the head will be.

“Of course, pump manufacturers cannot know your suction level parameters, so they calculate the pump’s total head,” he says. “This is done by subtracting the total suction head – measured as height above sea level – from the total discharge head.”

He notes that the next important question is about the amount of friction that needs to be considered. There are substantial losses in the pumping circuit due to friction, depending on the length and diameter of the pipe itself, as well as the bends and gate valves through which the fluid flows. 

“The sum of the head and friction loss will result in the total head, which is a more reliable indicator of pump performance than pressure,” says du Toit. “The total head indicates what the pump can do regardless of the suction conditions; when combined with your flow requirement, the total head will allow you to choose the right pump.”

Finally, the performance of a pump at a certain speed – or revolutions per minute (RPM) – can be found in the manufacturer’s datasheet. There, it will be displayed as the flow rate (Q) versus head curve. The flow will have zero or little flow at its maximum head, which is also sometimes called the shut-off head. Pump users need to ensure that the pump they choose has enough flow at the head they require. 

“Remember that this selection procedure only applies to centrifugal pumps,” he says. “Piston pumps can provide more pressure, and they are selected based on flow only.”

In conclusion, du Toit notes the difference in flow units used between North America, where US gallons per minute are used, and those countries with the metric system. The latter use litres per minute, cubic metres per hour and litres per second. 

“When making your selection, be sure that the units that being referred to by OEMs and service providers align with the units that you are using for your calculations and planning,” he says. 


De Beers Sightholder Sales South Africa (DBSSSA) officially unveiled its new rough diamond sorting, valuation and sales facility in Johannesburg today at an event attended by the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Gwede Mantashe, Gauteng MEC of Economic Development, Tasneem Motara, and De Beers Group CEO, Al Cook.

De Beers Group announced in January 2023 that it was relocating its Sightholder Sales activities in South Africa from Kimberley, where it has been operating since 1974, to Johannesburg following a review of its sorting activities in South Africa. The relocation supports the government’s strategy to consolidate the country’s mineral beneficiation sector into one area at the Gauteng Industrial Development Zone, close to the OR Tambo International Airport. 

The relocation also supports the company’s evolving footprint in the country over the past decade, with the world class Venetia mine in the Limpopo Province being its only active mine.  With no mining activities in the Northern Cape since 2015, De Beers is consolidating its remaining operations to be in close proximity to provide efficiency in operating costs, greater effectiveness and to contribute towards the country’s national beneficiation agenda.

A total of 87 employees were successfully relocated from Kimberley to the new 6747 mfacility in Sky Park Industrial in Johannesburg, which has two floors comprising Sightholder offices, hand and machine sorting areas, a training academy and a diamond cleaning plant.

Honourable Gwede Mantashe, Minister of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, said: “Whilst we congratulate De Beers for the grand opening of the Sightholder Sales facility, we also welcome the R35 billion investment in the unground mining in Limpopo. We encourage you to continue investing in South African mining, particularly in the Northern Cape and other Provinces. Doing so will help us change the economic architecture which stands on three legs Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.”

DBSSSA is part of the Global Sightholder Sales network that sells rough diamonds for beneficiation purposes in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Canada.  It is also responsible for the distribution of De Beers rough diamonds in South Africa and seeks to support the industry at large in maintaining a sustainable diamond manufacturing industry through its beneficiation strategy.

The beneficiation strategy is aligned to the South Africa government’s local beneficiation objectives and engages in a range of activities that aim to support and further the country’s economic goals.  These include skills development, enterprise development, industry development, as well as marketing and promotion of South Africa abroad.

In South Africa, DBSSSA has nine Sightholders that it sells rough diamonds to 10 times a year. The consistent and predictable supply of rough diamonds to South African Sightholders supports their ability to invest in local cutting and polishing factories and together, they have employed 620 cutters and polishers since 2020. 

Last year, De Beers Group and several key industry players – including the SA Diamond and Precious Metals Regulator, the SA Diamond Manufacturers Association, the SA Diamond Dealers Club and the State Diamond Trader – partnered to launch a Small Beneficiator Customers (SBC) pilot programme with seven identified cutting and polishing businesses receiving assistance.

The objective of this programme is to broaden supply and access of rough diamonds to small South African owned beneficiation companies. To further assist emerging businesses with access to affordable rough diamond parcels, De Beers Group is offering SBCs parcels of diamonds consisting of an aggregated mix of diamonds from its mines in Namibia, Botswana, Canada and South Africa. 

The SBC programme follows the successful launch of the Enterprise Development Project for Diamond Beneficiators in 2016, which saw one of its alumni companies, Molefi Letsiki Diamonds, becoming the first majority black owned South African Sightholder for the De Beers Group. Nungu Diamond, a company that was also part of the first cohort, entered into a partnership with Pluczenik, a De Beers Group Sightholder, to establish Pluczenik SA, headed by Nungu Diamond’s owner Kealeboga Pule.   

Now in its second cohort, the Enterprise Development Project aims to facilitate the growth and transformation of diamond beneficiation in South Africa.  The focus is on delivering this through a holistic approach that seeks to optimise interventions in all aspects of the diamond pipeline from rough diamond purchasing, state of the art manufacturing of diamonds and jewellery, to marketing and distribution.

To date, 10 diamond cutting and polishing companies have benefitted from the ground-breaking Enterprise Development Project, with 60% of these companies being women owned and 80% black owned. Each participating company received an allocation of rough diamonds from De Beers Group, in line with their market requirements and capacity. In addition, the project facilitated local and international market access and sponsored their participation at international trade shows, including the Hong Kong Jewellery and Gem Fair and JCK Las Vegas. 

Moses Madondo, Managing Director of De Beers Group Managed Operations, said: “South Africa is a significant source of rough diamonds and aside from helping to upskill the industry, it is important for us as diamond producers to assist small beneficiation customers with access to affordable parcels of rough diamonds. We are excited to now be located in the beneficiation hub where we can continue working with our partners to further support the local beneficiation industry. South Africa is sharply focused on being internationally competitive, and with government’s support as envisaged through the GIDZ, the country is well placed to support the growth of its beneficiation sector.”    


As mines continuously hone the skills development requirements of their Social Labour Plans, many are partnering with the Murray & Roberts Cementation Training Academy to begin preparing unemployed youth for prospect careers.

In cadet programmes lasting from two to six months, Murray & Roberts Cementation Training Academy has been designing and implementing training interventions that empower young members of communities from within sending areas of various mining operations. According to Tony Pretorius, Education, Training and Development (ETD) Executive at Murray & Roberts Cementation, this adds to the skills pool in these communities and opens doors to a range of opportunities for trained cadets.

Training interventions are customised to clients’ requirements at Murray & Roberts Cementation Training Academy.
Training interventions are customised to clients’ requirements at Murray & Roberts Cementation Training Academy.

“These programmes, customised to our clients’ requirements, help to develop the local talent pool,” says Pretorius. “We have the capacity and competencies  to develop a pipeline of skills that feeds the human resources strategy of the client – so that they can potentially fill their vacancies with young people with the necessary requisite skills sets.”

The scale of the two cadet programmes currently underway – for blue chip mining companies – is a good indicator of their value and impact, he explains. With 150 cadets in one programme and 65 in the other, he says there is growing appetite for this important level of youth development.

There is also a deliberate effort to achieve a better gender balance in a traditionally male-dominated sector, so the groups comprise both men and women. The interventions deal with entry level skills in fields ranging from health and safety to underground hard rock mining – depending on the operational environment of the mine.

“In a mechanised mining operation, for instance, there is a primary suite of skills related to drill rigs and bolters, and a secondary suite of loading, dumping and utility vehicles and the likes,” he explains. “Clients ask us to customise entry level training as building blocks for these roles.”

Training interventions deal with entry level skills in fields ranging from health and safety to underground hard rock mining.
Training interventions deal with entry level skills in fields ranging from health and safety to underground hard rock mining.

This approach allows new entrants the opportunity over time to progress up the development pathway into more senior production positions. To follow this foundation level training, Murray & Roberts Cementation Training Academy provides a multi-layered selection of training interventions that support this upward development.

“The importance of the cadet schemes is that they improve the cadet’s access to available employment, while also paving the way to grow within that career to supervisory and management levels,” he says. “The cadetship itself allows the learner to achieve a specific skills requirement which has been defined by the client.”

He notes that the skills imparted through the cadet programmes also have relevance in industries beyond mining. Aspects of health and safety qualifications are covered in the cadetships, which provides insight into generic safety programmes applicable in many sectors. Pretorius says cadets have in the past found opportunities in the construction, engineering and mining industries – and even some in agriculture.


With an extensive installed base in Zambia already, SEW-EURODRIVE is further building its capacity to serve customers with in-country skills, resources and inventory.

Francis Musaba, Business Development Representative in Zambia for SEW-EURODRIVE, says the country holds exciting prospects in a number of the economic sectors – and the company is embracing these with its proactive approach. The establishment of its Zambian branch, for instance, aligns well with the recent priority given to localisation of business. Further, there is a growing focus on conserving energy in the power-constrained economy – for which SEW-EURODRIVE’s innovative technology is ideally positioned.

As an electrical and mechanical engineer with more than a decade of experience in Zambia, Musaba’s knowledge of products and markets gives him deep insight into local business dynamics and demands. He points out that the company’s Zambian branch is allowing quicker turnaround times and continuously improving service levels for customers in mining, milling, sugar and beverage sectors.

“There is also a strong move by the country’s business chambers of commerce and industry to localise transactions,” he notes. “The company’s commitment to strengthening our branch in Zambia is aligned with a strong focus on l ensuring that the technical capacity and skills base for locally supplying and servicing our equipment matches the global standards demanded by SEW-EURODRIVE.”

SEW-EURODRIVE's product range includes IEC certified motors.
SEW-EURODRIVE’s product range includes IEC certified motors.

Musaba already works closely with customers to analyse their critical components and plan their inventory requirements. This includes applying condition monitoring and preventative maintenance plans.

“An important consideration for all sectors in Zambia is our shortage of electricity – and this is another area where SEW-EURODRIVE has a strong competitive advantage,” he says. “Our engineered solutions are renowned for their energy efficiency, and this is becoming critical for Zambian companies.”

Poor rainfall over recent years has undermined the electricity generation levels from the country’s hydropower stations. He highlights that government is driving regulations that penalise energy users who have a poor power factor in their operations. This factor usually derives from the user’s process itself and the efficiency of their equipment, including the standard motors used by many companies. As a certified energy auditor, Musaba is also able to audit customers’ operations and advise on strategies to improve energy efficiency.

“As a start, it is important to migrate to high efficiency motors,” he explains. “This begins the payback process towards the capital cost immediately by reducing energy costs, and contributes to reducing the risk of penalisation.”

SEW-EURODRIVE's innovative DriveRadar condition monitoring solution.
SEW-EURODRIVE’s innovative DriveRadar condition monitoring solution.

He also points to other SEW-EURODRIVE products such as gearmotors, frequency inverters, industrial gear units, decentralised drive systems and servo technology IEC certified motors, electronic drives, frequency inverters and in particular to the innovative DriveRadar® solution. All products are designed to  achieve high efficiency levels due to their advanced design and engineering. From the materials of construction to the smart technology, this innovation allows less energy to be used to generate the same torque as many competitor products.