Aspasa (Aggregate and Sand Producers Association of SA) is working with the Government to ensure its members understand and adhere to new requirements relating to proximity detection systems (PDS) for mobile machines in surface mining operations.

New legislation promulgated by the Department of Mineral Resources requires mines to take steps within the next two years to physically prevent contact between mobile machines and humans or to install PDS on trackless mobile machinery (TMM) for effective collision management. These measures need to be in place by no later than December 2020. Failing to adhere to this deadline means severe action will be brought against responsible parties and mine owners.

Thys Greyvenstein of the Minerals Council South Africa says, “This is not as straight tforward as it may seem as proper risk assessments need to be done first in order to know how to comply and it is precisely for this reason that Aspasa is holding workshops and developing documentation that will guide our surface mines in future.”

Thys explains that in order to comply, mine management teams need to understand how to undertake effective risk assessments, they also need to understand PDS control systems’ effectiveness and how to implement traffic management plans that remove people from harm’s way. They must also understand that by the time TMM or alternatives become mandatory where risk exists, the technology will not be fool-proof and mine owners will still need to look at other ways to reduce the risk.

“With fatalities on mines increasing, there is no way the industry can ignore the requirement but should rather embrace it and find the right solutions that will work on individual mines. It is also important to know that there are alternatives to expensive technology if mines compile proper traffic management plans and implement them effectively,” he says.

Aspasa, Nico Pienaar, Tel: (011) 791-3327