Bridon breaks S.A. sinking rope market in 90 year first

1ST November 2012 - For the first time in 90 years, an international rope manufacturer will supply sinking ropes for a South African mine. In a deal announced today, Implats subsidiary Afplats has commissioned three 7,000 metre sinking ropes from UK-based ropemaker Bridon International, which will be used in the twin mine-shaft system at the multi-billion rand Leeuwkop development. 

The three “Tiger Dyform 24LS” ropes, which were installed April 2012, will be used to sink the site’s 1,350 meter shaft system. Once it reaches full capacity, the 1,500 metre Leeuwkop mine is expected to produce 250,000 tonnes of platinum ore per month - equating to roughly 160,000oz of platinum every year.

Whilst the South African mining market has historically looked to domestic providers for its rope requirements, Afplats broke with tradition in order to find a rope solution that could meet the demands of the massive Leeuwkop project. It found Bridon’s state-of-the-art 24 strand ropes to be the most technically advanced available, offering a more highly engineered solution than domestic competitors’ 18 strand offerings.

Afplats confirmed that the extensive support Bridon offered for the installation and application of the ropes played a major role in its choice of supplier. Bridon’s specialist rope advisers were on hand to provide on-site expertise and assistance as the ropes were installed, as well as detailed technical advice on the benefit of its Dyform products over more conventional ropes.

Bridon was able to seal the deal with a far shorter delivery time than domestic competitors could offer – showcasing its superior manufacturing capacity by delivering the three massive ropes to the Leeuwkop site two weeks earlier than originally planned.

The Leeuwkop mine is expected to employ around 800 people at full production, and has an estimated life expectancy of 22 years. It is the first phase of a major project to mine mineral resources in South Africa, with exploration, drilling and seismic surveys of the remaining areas planned over the next five years to determine the viability of future mines.

Jon Templeman, Chief Executive of Bridon International said:

“Bridon International is the global technology leader in the supply of multi-strand mining ropes for the world’s most challenging applications. When seeking a supplier for the hugely impressive Leeuwkop development, Implats made clear they required the most technologically advanced rope solution available anywhere in the world. The Bridon team relished the challenge of developing and manufacturing these world-beating ropes, and our services team is looking forward to supporting their installation and application.”