Assmang unveils safer control centre

2011-07-22 00:00

THE Assmang manganese plant in Cato Ridge yesterday unveiled a multi-million rand control centre for its furnaces, which it says will significantly reduce the risk of a fatal explosion.

During a visit yesterday, Water and Environmental Affairs Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi said she was pleased with the progress at the plant after it was cited in 2007 for violating numerous environmental regulations.

The control centre, which reportedly cost over R100 million, was installed after six workers were killed and three others injured during an explosion at the plant in 2008.

Goodluck Mzobe, the foreman in the control centre, said the system controls all six furnaces in the plant and none of them are operated manually. “This has drastically reduced any risk the explosion of the furnaces might have. The control centre now monitors all that is happening in the furnaces, and where there is a blockage or leakage of water it appears on the screen.”

Chief executive Jan Steenkamp said Assamang has spent R300 million to improve environmental compliance and will invest a further R400 million over the next 12 months. The plant had been cited for operating a slag dump without a permit, nine unspecified environmental violations and two atmosphere violations and sub-standard living quarters for their employees.

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