Bridon Gains Foothold in South African Shaft Rope Market

Two Bridon sinking ropes will be used for shaft sinking at Afplats’ Leeuwkop underground project, shown here.
Implats subsidiary Afplats has commis-sioned three 7,000-m (23,000-ft) sinking ropes from U.K.-based ropemaker Bridon International, which will be used in the twin mine-shaft system at the multi-billion rand Leeuwkop development. According to Bridon, it marks the first time in 90 years an international rope manufacturer has been selected to supply sinking ropes for a South African mine.

Three Bridon Tiger Dyform 24LS ropes will be used to sink the mine’s 1,350-m-deep (4,430-ft) shaft system. Once it reaches full capacity, the Leeuwkop mine is expected to produce 250,000 mt of platinum ore per month, equating to roughly 160,000 oz of platinum annually.

Bridon noted that while the South African mining market has historically looked to domestic providers for its rope requirements, Afplats broke with tradition to find a rope solution that could meet the demands of the Leeuwkop project. Afplats, said Bridon, found its 24-strand ropes to be the most technically advanced available, offering a more highly engineered solution than com-petitors’ 18-strand offerings.

Afplats confirmed that the support Bridon offered for the installation and appli-cation of the ropes played a major role in its choice of supplier. Bridon rope advisers were on hand to provide on-site expertise and assistance as the ropes were installed. Bridon said it was able to provide a far shorter delivery time than domestic com-petitors could offer, delivering the three ropes to the Leeuwkop site two weeks ear-lier than originally planned.

The Leeuwkop mine is expected to employ about 800 workers at full produc-tion, and has an estimated life of 22 years. It is the first phase of a major pro-ject, with exploration, drilling and seismic surveys of the remaining areas planned over the next five years to determine the viability of future mines.

As featured in Womp 2013 Vol 01 -