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8 April 2004
echnicrete has opened a new manufacturing plant producing composite support packs for underground mining support at Gold Field's Kloof Mine's No.4 shaft.
This plant will be producing about 50 000 units per month. A target of over 100 000 units monthly has been set for early next year. The plant was formally opened by Kloof Mine manager Neil Herrick and operations manager Casper van Zyl.
It is the fourth composite plant to be established at Kloof gold mine. Similar plants are at No. 1,3 and 7 shafts. A manufacturing plant, situated at Technicrete's West Drie operation, is supplying other mines in the region with these support packs.
Originally designed as a timber less shaft, Kloof No.4 eventually started to move over entirely to composite support packs, after trials were carried out on a section of the mine which showed the improved efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the system.
Composites are concrete blocks stapled to fire-resistant mining timber in such a way that each unit can be built into a composite pack which will totally interlock. In a mining setting, a support pack is built in a prescribed manner in stopes and gullies to control the earth's natural tendency to close up areas, which have been mined out. The packs are cost effective and offer several benefits to the mines.
The units are assembled on-site by specially trained Technicrete teams, using concrete blocks supplied by Technicrete and timber chocks from SMT Mining Timbers, a major supplier of timber to the mining industry.