Home » Murray & Roberts Leads Dual-Function Shaft Project at Ivanhoe Mines’ Platreef

Murray & Roberts Leads Dual-Function Shaft Project at Ivanhoe Mines’ Platreef

Murray & Roberts Cementation Repurposes Shaft for Ore Hoisting at Platreef Project, Showcasing Engineering Innovation

by Adenike Adeodun

Murray & Roberts Cementation is leading a groundbreaking project at Ivanhoe Mines’ Platreef project, repurposing its 3 Shaft from a ventilation function to also hoist ore. “This project is unique as the shaft will serve dual purposes of hoisting ore while facilitating upcast airflow,” says Graham Chamberlain, New Business Director at Murray & Roberts Cementation. The company’s expertise played a crucial role in developing this innovative solution.

The Platreef project’s progress included the sinking of a vent shaft by Murray & Roberts Cementation, featuring precise drilling with raise-boring equipment. The 5.1-meter-diameter shaft intersects with horizontal development 950 metres below the surface.

As Ivanhoe Mines explored early ore generation, it became clear that additional hoisting capacity was needed. “We established a team to retrofit the vent shaft into an early hoisting shaft, as the timeline for the main shaft was not suitable,” Chamberlain explains.

According to a report by Mining Review, Murray & Roberts Cementation conducted a feasibility study and designed the necessary winders, headgear, hoisting, and tipping arrangements. Awarded the project in September 2023, they expect completion within two years.

“This project exemplifies innovation, adaptability, teamwork, and design. We drew on our extensive experience to meet these challenges,” Chamberlain adds.

One technical challenge is working within the vent shaft while maintaining airflow. “We must manage ventilation reduction periods carefully, ensuring adequate airflow,” he notes. Another vent shaft is in the pipeline to boost future ventilation capacity.

Addressing slight deviations in the shaft’s design was crucial, as vent shafts differ from hoist shafts intolerance. The team will use a small, skilled workforce to install compact headgear and refurbished winders from their strategic stock.

The project will feature man-less operation technology to enhance safety, employing automated loading and measuring processes. Specialized subcontractors will handle much of the equipment, while local businesses provide day-to-day consumables.

“We support local businesses and develop their capabilities through our procurement system and enterprise development commitment,” says Chamberlain. “This helps nurture small businesses until they become self-sustaining.

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