We have developed a solid understanding of mining engineering over the past 30 years and this extensive knowledge enables us to advise clients in all related areas; opencast mining, underground mining, surface mining, winders, backfill, mineral exploration and shaft design.
With our global project footprint that has seen us deliver, time and time again – in the most unforgiving of climates and through political instability – we understand the value of flexibility. We plan for the many conflicting objectives and because of our expansive business and technical knowledge we are able to share invaluable insights with our clients and deliver optimum project results. Our relationships are collaborative, with suppliers and clients, to form partnerships that discover innovative solutions to any challenge.
We have specialist capabilities in the design of mines for a wide range of mining methods and commodities. Our mining services extend from pit to port, from the inception of brownfields and greenfields projects to the end of the mine development stage when production begins. Due to our expertise in designing, constructing and operating mines – our professionals are often requested to maintain and manage client assets.
Our consulting and contracting services cover all major project milestones, from feasibility studies through to the design and construction of mines and minerals processing plants:
- Competent persons reports
- Resource estimation and valuation (JORC)
- Reserve statements to international standards (NI 43-101)
- Management of drilling programmes
- Mine design and management of contract mining
- Operations plans
- Project management and engineering in all disciplines
- Shafts and shaft steelwork
- Materials handling
- Water management
- Compressed air management
- Winders, winding systems and headgear design
- Rock engineering
- Ventilation and refrigeration
Complementing these capabilities, is our design and construction management of mining-related infrastructure for both surface and underground operations. Our mining implementation consists of various customised solutions ranging from full management of mining contractors to assisting client teams in developing their own skills and procedures.
Clients have trusted us to design and implement open-cast and underground mines throughout the world. Through these partnerships we now have the proven capability to deliver safe, sustainable, efficient and cost-effective solutions across multiple sectors and commodities. Our multi-disciplinary engineering services set us apart and our expert capabilities provide comprehensive solutions in all phases of the mining value chain. This approach decreases interface management which, in turn, results in fewer project management requirements and lower costs.
Our mining construction capabilities include:
- Surface mines
- Opencast mines
- Decline and vertical shafts
We work closely with our clients and take time to understand their specific requirements. In combining this insight with exploration analytics and our professional knowledge we recommend the most effective mine type with precise cost calculations.
Our professionals design mines and develop resource reserve statements for most types of known deposits but also partner with sub-contractors or consultants, appointed by clients, to optimise solutions when required. Our review process actively excludes “opinion engineering”, at DRA we conduct all assessments from an objective execution perspective. Our continuous improvement cycle, achieved through the repeated design and build process, ultimately results in highly-competent teams delivering world-class projects.
Exploration geology is key to targeting a project's exploration and development goals. Similarly, the geology of any ore body should be well understood and accurately developed before proceeding with the mining project.
Through subsidiary Met-Chem, DRA’s strong geological team has a proud history spanning almost four decades. Our team of experts are proficient in analysing exploration data, and geological groups, to produce cutting-edge designs and services using the most advanced mining software. We acknowledge that a tailored approach delivers the best results; we evaluate each project individually and, based on the geology or client preference, we assign the most appropriate software.
Our exploration management services provide an in-depth understanding of the ore body and produces structures necessary for optimal mine and extraction design. Through this approach we deliver economic mine and extraction designs that realise the full potential of ore bodies.
We prioritise safety and efficiency. Our mining engineers work in collaboration with consultant rock engineers throughout the process of designing opencast or underground mines, using extraction methods such as conveyor belts, vertical shafts, decline shafts, trackless or rail-bound systems.
Exploration services include:
- Managing of exploration programmes
- Providing geological interpretation services in collaboration with specific strategic alliances
- Assistance with resource evaluation and modelling
- Developing a Competent Persons Report (CPR) in accordance with the guidelines provided by recognised institutions such as SAMREC, JORC and NI 43-101
Our mining professionals manage and oversee outsourced exploration services to ensure that clients receive the highest quality service.
Underground mines are synonymous with expense, the deeper the mine the higher the cost. Carefully engineered and efficiently run backfill systems can significantly enhance mining operations through the underground disposal of mine tailings. Our team of professionals reduce environmental impact and provide appropriate materials to improve ground conditions resulting in increased productivity of mining operations.
We appreciate the material characteristics of tailings – sizing, mineralogical composition, rheology and reactivity – which are vital to the design of reliable underground distribution pipeline systems.
Each orebody and mine is unique, requiring a tailored backfill solution based on extensive test-work. We implement all variations of backfill, including:
- Slurry fill, hydraulic fill, or cyclone classified tailings backfill
- Full plant tailings fill or paste fill
- Rock fill
Booysendal UG2 North Mine
Client: Northam Platinum
Location: South Africa
Our team of professionals successfully executed the engineering, procurement and construction management (EPCM) of the Booysendal UG2 North Mine, a greenfields platinum mine on the eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex. The project delivers 187,500 ktpm of platinum via a trackless decline shaft.
We delivered the mining operation, bulk services, surface infrastructure and a concentrator plant on schedule in 2013. In 2014, we are continuing with the mine’s underground development and construction – four of the ultimate 14 strike-belt stoping sections were commissioned in 2013.
Leeuwkop Shaft Project
Client: Impala Platinum (Afplats)
Location: South Africa
Following the successful completion of a feasibility study and capital budget estimate we were contracted to undertake the multi-level mine design of the Leeuwkop Shaft Project for Impala Platinum. Due to our in-depth knowledge of the resource geology we selected the best method of accessing the ore body to maintain optimal, sustainable production output. The project will make a significant contribution to the future economic viability of the group operations of Implats and Afplats.
Client: Sasol Mining
Location: South Africa
Scope: Design and supply of hoisting solution
Our professionals managed the replacement of the existing Irenedale shaft for Sasol Mining in South Africa. The project comprised the establishment of an all-inclusive main service shaft system in the Bosjesspruit Irenedale reserves and related support infrastructure to mine 8 Mtpa of coal. We expertly completed the specification, design, supply of two winders, main and service including the auxiliary equipment including cages and ropes, as well as the design and detailing work for the headgear.