The Netherlands: Richards Bay Minerals Completes Dredging Process Training

Richards Bay Minerals

Recently, a team of operations specialists and maintainers from Richards Bay Minerals successfully completed a Dredging Process Training at the Training Institute for Dredging (TID), The Netherlands.

During the one week training programme, several key aspects of the dredging process were addressed in order to optimise the use of their dredge mining equipment.

Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) is a major South African sand mining and mineral processing company, situated north of Richards Bay in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. The company employs both wheel and cutter dredgers for extracting heavy minerals from sand dune mining ponds, to produce rutile, zircon, titania dioxide feedstock and high purity pig iron. Over time, IHC Merwede, TID’s parent company, has supplied Richards Bay Minerals with six dredgers, all of which are still operational and employed by RBM.

Although being highly experienced through decades of dredge mining, RBM decided to call on the Training Institute for Dredging (TID) to strengthen and consolidate their theoretical and practical knowledge of dredging. Accordingly, a group consisting of four operations specialist, a training officer, a maintenance controller and a special projects superintendent visited the TID site in The Netherlands to attend a Dredging Process Training. This training took place over a period of five consecutive days and started off with a discussion of the different components and systems of RBM’s equipment, this to improve technical understanding of the dredger. Furthermore it mainly addressed the following four aspects of the dredging process: cutting, suction, discharge and hauling.

On the one hand, purpose of the training was to reinforce existing knowledge and gain new insights regarding process optimisation under different circumstances. On the other hand, participants attended in order to facilitate knowledge management within their company and to transfer knowledge to RBM operator-level personnel. Therefore, the training included the module train the trainer, addressing the indispensable skills of educating in a professional and responsible manner.

Part of the training comprised practice sessions on TID’s own cutter suction dredger simulator, enabling the participants to test their enhanced knowledge and honed skills in a practical way, under various circumstances. Several scenarios were simulated, including the dredging of different soil types, such as rock, clay and sand. During these exercises, the RBM team was supported by experienced Dredge Master Alex Lanser, who guided them through the dredging process and demonstrated which factors to manipulate in the pursuit of optimal production. “This information was very helpful and will definitely be incorporated by our own operations specialists, who will be spending time on our dredgers sharing this week’s lessons learned”, said Quintin van der Merwe, Specialist Superintendent Mining for RBM.

Both RBM and TID were very satisfied with their collaboration and with the course of the training programme. As Mr. Van der Merwe indicated, similar types of training might be beneficial for other RBM personnel as well and future training participation will certainly be an option for Richards Bay Minerals.


Press Release, November 7, 2012