Quarry Southern Africa May 2019 - Page 20

WINNING Stockpiles had run low at the time of visiting as demand peaked. quality products, but it became more and more difficult to get -19mm products for our trading business. It is not viable to get supplies from outside Polokwane and within Polokwane it was becoming problematic.” When talking of customer service, Van Waveren explains what he means: “We never over-promise. We have never sold more than we could produce (notwithstanding the current situation, which is temporary); if anything, we under-charge on price.” Alpha Sand took the plunge (though Van Waveren says it was not a sudden decision but a long time in the planning) and applied for mining permits as the quickest way to get into production. Roodepoort Crushers was established as a subsidiary of Alpha Sand to meet the requirement for 26% black ownership. It imported a complete crushing plant from China, which he describes as “far more affordable than anything available in South Africa”. Delivered to site, it cost R8- million. About a year later, the quarry was ready to commence mining, having invested approximately R20-million. The response of one of the neighbouring quarries was 18_QUARRY SA | MAY/JUNE 2019 to invest close to R200-million. “The market was not ready for that amount of investment, and it shows: it closed about 18 months ago.” Roodepoort Crushers supplies into its holding company Alpha Sand, which has a large footprint, and only recently started selling directly out of its Polokwane quarry. Location aids the process The norm in quarrying has been to be located on a koppie, but Van Waveren says Alpha Sand sought advice in advance and rather located its new quarry on level land. “If you can find a flat location or slope where the granite is showing, it’s easier. To mine on a koppie, you have to start on top and have access roads and there’s often a problem with working it down. If you start on a flat surface, it’s much easier to make a pit and to plan mining operations, and there’s less of an issue of irregular faces. The quarry produces everything from -19mm and down all the way to crusher sand. “Our biggest seller is our sand products. Our model has always been to deliver premium products timeously. We were also one of the first to wash our sand, and it’s all shaped, which was different to our competitors. This is because from the outset we had a vertical shaft impact (VSI) crusher, so we have two grades of sand: our normal scalping sand and higher-grade crusher sand generated by the VSI.” Roodepoort Crushers has 12 employees, but numbers 54 when drilling and blasting as well as load and haul contractor staff are added in. Phillip Botha, mine manager: Roodepoort Crushers, describes the process through the circuit: “Typically we focus on drilling and blasting a block of about 10 000m3 a time, which lasts us about a month. We keep it quite small and manageable. However, currently we are on new ground and so are able to blast a larger volume of 17 000m3, which gives us about 27 000t of product, excluding overburden.” From the pit, the material is loaded and hauled less than a kilometre to the plant, where it goes into a bin that feeds the jaw crusher. This reduces it to 70mm and from www.quarryonline.co.za