MineARC Systems, which manufactures and supplies emergency refuge chambers for use in underground mining, recently opened a new facility in North Riding, Johannesburg, South Africa.
The opening follows MineARC’s receipt in August of a major contract to supply South Africa-based Anglo American Coal’s New Denmark Colliery with 17 MineARC CoalSAFE refuge chambers.
MineARC General Manager Mike Lincoln said, “What we’re now seeing across Africa is a real determination to bring mine safety to the top of the agenda and in line with world’s best practice safety legislation and technology. The New Denmark contract is justification of this.”
MineARC said its refuge chambers at New Denmark will serve as an advanced safety feature of the mine. Each chamber, according to the company, is capable of housing up to 16 miners each for up to 48 hours in the event of an underground emergency. In order to be safe for coal mines, each chamber operates with intrinsically safe (non-electrically powered) technology. MineARC’s patented liquid CO2-powered technology powers the refuge chamber’s life support systems.
MineARC Africa General Manager Tom Long said, “MineARC has been supplying refuge chambers to African mines for the best part of 10 years. Establishing a facility on the African continent means our local clients will benefit from greater sales and after service support, a faster turnaround time on manufacturing and freight, and lower costs. The new facility will also provide a boost to the local economy, with sub-contractor agreements with local suppliers, and the creation of local jobs.”
The Africa facility is MineARC’s third largest global operation, after Australia and the United States. At current capacity it will produce up to 10 finished refuge chambers per month.
“Work on the Anglo chambers is already well under way and we’re already dealing with back-orders from other clients,” Long said.