Mammoet moves mining plant

30 September 2020

Mammoet has transported Kenmare Resources PLC’s mining plant from its previous location at Namalope, Mozambique to Pilivili—a new high-grade ore zone at the Moma Mine— in one piece. The transport consisted of a wet concentrator plant (known as WCP B) and its dredge.

Mammoet says it is the heaviest piece of mining equipment to be transported in Africa to date, with 290 axles required to lift and transport the WCP B-unit. The move also represented the most SPMT axles used in Africa and one of the largest moves of a single piece of mining equipment in the world.

Having considered other options, it was decided that the lowest-risk option and least downtime was to move the assets intact and by road. Disassembling and reassembling the plant would have taken significantly longer and transporting the plant by sea barge may have resulted in further delays as a significant period of forecasted calm seas would be required.

The plant was floated into an excavated starter pond and placed on constructed concrete plinths. The pond was then drained, allowing 290 axle lines of SPMTs (in 5 x 58 configuration) to be positioned underneath the plant, before it was moved along a 23km long, purpose-built road with a weight-bearing capacity of 8.4t/sqm, to its new location.

In Pilivili, the operation was completed in reverse: the plant was positioned on top of concrete plinths and then pond around it was flooded, which allowed the plant and the dredge to float to their new mining position.

WCP B weighs approximately 7,100t, including ballast, and measures 80m long, 60m wide and 24m high. The move was particularly unusual due to the combination of the weight of the load and the length of the distance travelled.

 “Moving the plant in one piece, an object weighing the equivalent of 550 double-decker buses, taller than a seven-story building and wider than a football pitch, is a huge achievement for our company,” said Michael Carvill, managing director at Kenmare Resources. “This type of relocation is rare in the mining industry, but it was the clear choice for Kenmare given the economic benefits and lower risk profile it provided, compared to the alternatives we considered. I would like to extend my congratulations and thanks to the Kenmare team on site and our specialist contractors for completing this record-breaking task safely and overcoming many challenges as a result of Covid-19.”