• Swift passage

    Swift passage

    Deep-level mining has become safer with the successful testing of a locally developed mobile mine rescue winder (MMRW) at a shaft in South Africa.

    The operation – led by Mines Rescue Service (MRS) in conjunction with members of Minerals Council South Africa, and the departments of Mineral Resources and Energy and Labour – was carried out at Gold Fields’ South Deep Twin Shaft complex, which at 3 km is the world’s deepest single-drop shaft.

    According to Engineering News, the development is significant in that previously winders could reach a depth of only 1.2 km. The testing involved lowering and raising a lift unguided at a speed of 1.5m per second, with a simulated load of six people, to a maximum depth of 3 km.

    MRS CEO Mannas Fourie says that once the MMRW has been fully licensed by the department, ‘we will be able to access employees located at depths of up to 3 000m faster than we were able to before in the event of an emergency’.

    The MMRW was designed and manufactured for MRS by the Tech Edge Group’s Winches and Winders. According to Winches and Winders chairman Russell Moore, the ‘go-anywhere, self-contained rescue winder is specifically designed to address the need for rapid response, deployment and resolution of underground mining emergencies’.

    9 February 2021
    Image: Mines Rescue Service