The RopeCon® system which transports platinum ore from Booysendal South to the existing processing plant went into operation in December 2018. The South African mining company Booysendal Platinum (Pty) Limited, a subsidiary of Northam Platinum Limited, is relying on technology by Doppelmayr for their expansion project at the Booysendal concession. Currently, a second RopeCon® system is under construction which will connect with the first system.
The terrain between the new mining areas to the north of the Booysendal concession and the existing processing plant is challenging in terms of topography. In a straight line, a distance of approx. 4.8km and a difference in elevation of 530m must be covered. For the expansion of the Booysendal mine, a cost-effective, reliable and safe means of transport was required, and Booysendal Platinum (Pty) Limited opted for a RopeCon® system to tackle the challenge of transporting 909 tons of platinum ore per hour.
RopeCon® is a technology developed by the ropeway manufacturer Doppelmayr. The system offers the advantages of a ropeway and combines them with the properties of a conventional belt conveyor. It essentially consists of a flat belt with corrugated side walls. Just as on conventional belt conveyors, the belt performs the haulage function. It is driven and deflected by a drum in the head or tail station and fixed to axles arranged at regular intervals to carry it. The axles are fitted with plastic running wheels which run on fixed anchored track ropes and guide the belt. The track ropes are elevated off the ground on tower structures.
Booysendal was also particularly careful to choose a transport system that would minimise the environmental footprint of the mine. Because RopeCon® is guided over towers, the only space required on the ground is for these structures, which, in the case of Booysendal, amount to no more than 12. At the same time, the system does not represent an insurmountable obstacle for wildlife or humans. The track crosses a number of roads, and even wildlife can roam freely underneath the RopeCon®.
Construction of the RopeCon® commenced in January 2018. 11 months later, and perfectly on schedule, commissioning began. Since 20 December, 2018, the installation has been transporting approximately 20,000 tons of platinum ore per day over a distance of 4.8km between the mining area and the existing plant.
As part of an additional expansion programme, Booysendal awarded to Doppelmayr the contract for a second RopeCon®, which will connect with the first system and enable transport from another mining area north of the concession. The second system is designed to transport 400 tons per hour over 2.8km and a difference in elevation of -160m.
Difference in elevation 530m
Conveying capacity 909t/h
Number of towers 12
Motor rating cont. 2,400kW
Difference in elevation 25m
Conveying capacity 909t/h
Number of towers 1
Motor rating cont. 100kW
Difference in elevation -160m
Conveying capacity 400t/h
Number of towers 7
Motor rating cont. ~0kW
Doppelmayr Transport Technology GmbH
6922 Wolfurt / Austria
T +43 5574 604 1800