Increasing efficiency and Fe Grade at Jenkins Mine

The pursuit of mining excellence at Afrimat is demonstrated through innovative practices and advanced techniques, as showcased by the recent improvements at Jenkins Mine in the Northern Cape.

The eastern part of Jenkins Mine contains well-exposed outcrops of dense black hematite, dipping at approximately 17 degrees to the west. At approximately 200m downslope, the hematite is overlain by the younger Gamagara quartzite and ferruginous shale (Fig.1) This unique geological formation presents both opportunities and challenges for ore extraction.

Fig.1 East-west geological section through Jenkins
Fig.2 Shale waste on top of ore after selective mining

Understanding Blast Blocks and Ore Extraction

Blast blocks are a crucial element in mining operations, forming part of the Three-Month Production Plan. These blocks are designated areas where ore and waste are systematically extracted. In the context of Jenkins Mine, a certain percentage of blast blocks intersects both ore and waste(Fig.2). Efficient extraction within these blocks is essential to maintain ore quality and minimize waste.

The hanging-wall shale waste on the contact with ore is a softer material that traditionally required removal without drilling and blasting. Previously, this was done using an excavator and bulldozer, which often left residual shale waste on the ore contact, diluting the iron (Fe) grade of the extracted material.

Innovations with the Vibrating Ripper

In 2023, Afrimat implemented the vibrating ripper(Fig.3)  to address this issue. The vibrating ripper is a specialized tool designed to remove hanging-wall waste on top of the ore contact more efficiently than traditional methods. This innovation has led to significant improvements:

Fig.4 The vibrating ripper effectively removed the shale waste on top of the ore

The Importance of Iron Ore and Fe Grade

Iron ore is a vital raw material for the production of steel, which is essential for various industries including construction, automotive, and manufacturing. The Fe grade of iron ore indicates the percentage of iron content in the ore. Higher Fe grades are more desirable as they yield more iron during the smelting process, making the extraction more efficient and cost-effective.

The Afrimat Bulk Commodities Devision has Iron Ore Mines at Demaneng, Jenkins, Driehoekspan and Doornpan.

All ore products are manufactured in accordance with customer specifications and sold in terms of the Platts iron ore 62% grade for export. The utilisation of an in-house test laboratory for continuous process control and quality and specification statements are generated by an outsourced accredited laboratory.

The improvements at Jenkins Mine underscore Afrimat’s commitment to maximizing Fe grades, ensuring that the mined ore meets the high standards required for industrial use.

Did You Know?

The Future of Efficient Mining

Afrimat’s efforts at Jenkins Mine represent a broader commitment to innovation and efficiency in mining operations. By leveraging advanced technologies and continuously refining extraction techniques, Afrimat aims to set new standards in the industry.

Blast blocks are planned areas for extraction that balance ore and waste removal, crucial for operational efficiency. The introduction of the vibrating ripper highlights Afrimat’s proactive approach to improving ore quality and reducing waste.

With these advancements, Afrimat not only enhances the economic feasibility of its mining operations but also contributes to the sustainable and efficient use of natural resources. The journey towards mining excellence is ongoing, and Afrimat is dedicated to leading the way with innovative solutions and a commitment to quality.

As we continue to implement cutting-edge technologies and refine our processes, the future of mining at Afrimat looks brighter than ever.

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Tanya Pretorius

Afrimat: Head of Communications

Vanessa Ingram

Keyter Rech Investor Solutions