Compressed air is widely used on South African gold mines.
However, due to recent and proposed future electricity tariff
increases it is quickly becoming too expensive to produce and use.
Boxfront chute systems at ore passes were focused on during this
study, and a number of alternative power sources were examined.
After comparing primarily costs, and secondarily safety and practicality,
of a number of systems based on water and hydraulic oil, a
system making use of either air or water was determined to be the
most cost effective. A payback time of 8 years was calculated, which
will be significantly less taking into account the avoidance of
failures due to electricity and water shortages, which would not
affect this system due to its ability to swap between either air or
water. It was recommended that this system be installed at all
boxfront chutes as soon as possible so that the company can begin
to benefit from the cost savings.
Paper written on project work carried out in partial fulfilment of B. Eng. (Mining Engineering)