Modern Mining March 2023

As a final comment on automation at VUG, Marais says that as important as the capability of the auto mated machines themselves are the skills required to operate them remotely from control centres and to install and maintain the systems. “This represents a real challenge as skills of this type are in extremely short supply in South Africa,” he says. “Clearly inten sive training and upskilling is required and this is already underway in conjunction with Sandvik. We’re confident that as we implement autonomous mining at VUG the skills required for every step of the jour ney will be available.” 

Breed adds that an integrated operations centre on surface at Venetia is under construction and that it will be equipped and commissioned in H1-2023. There has also been a focus in recent months at VUG on asset health monitoring and location track ing of the Sandvik fleet being used by the Integrated Owners’ Team. The location data generated can be used for statistical analysis while the asset health monitoring system delivers major benefits by detect ing potential problems with machines – which can then be rectified – before they result in breakdowns and downtime.

Use of underground mine simulators plays an important role in training employees.

March 2023  MODERN MINING  35

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