Tips & Advice

Touching base in South Africa

In April 2014 I attended the meeting of the International Presidents of the Institutes of Quarrying, which was held at the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West, South Africa.
The presidents’ meeting was held prior to the IQ Southern Africa National Conference. I met with presidents from the Institutes in Malaysia, New Zealand, the UK, Hong Kong and the host Southern Africa.
It was very interesting to hear how the different Institutes are adjusting to the changing times, the increasing demand for education and possible future expansion of our coverage into other countries.
As part of the conference, each president was given 15 minutes to present an update on the Institute’s activities. For Australia, we have the second biggest membership worldwide and when you look at the education packages and coverage we have, we are hitting above our weight. 
To illustrate this I had a map of Australia showing the spread of branches and membership, then superimposed onto the map the other IQ countries to show how vast we are and therefore how much harder it is to provide value to members in remote areas.
The Southern Africa conference is a little different to our format. There are about 280 delegates – good numbers when you consider the IQSA membership is about 350 in total.
The conference is shorter, about one and a half days, with two keynote speakers, one each morning, and one main conference dinner. 
From a supplier’s perspective, all 40 exhibitors were based on a flat table, with provision of their own backdrops and awards given for innovation in the display using this very simple format. The conference has a raffle, with tickets sold to delegates for the last day and suppliers providing giveaways and prizes such as models, golfing gear, etc. Numbers are drawn and the winner gets a prize, with all funds raised from the raffle donated to a charity.
The presidents’ tour included a visit to Lafarge Tygerberg Quarry, located roughly 30 minutes northwest of Cape Town CBD. In fact, from the top of the southeast quarry face there is a pristine view of Table Mountain, Lion’s Head Mountain and the CBD. Upon arrival at the Tygerberg Quarry, all visitors have to take a breathalyser test. It is also interesting to see on the gate house wall a “no guns” policy for the site.
Andrew Weather, the Lafarge area manager, gave us the rundown on the quarry. It produces 800,000 tonnes per annum but reached one million tonnes per year during the construction phase for the 2010 soccer World Cup.
The rock is a hornsfel metamorphic rock with a projected 50-year operating life, having already run for 40 years. Tygerberg has the lowest operating cost within the 19 quarries and Lafarge South Africa has collectively produced about four million tpa.
Equipment at Tygerberg consists of a single 988G Cat loader, four 769 Cat trucks, a Telsmith 4248 primary jaw with a 1650 gyratory secondary, followed by three Sandvik H4800 gyratory tertiary crushers. Load-out is done using two Komatsu WA470s in a fleet of 30 sub-contracted delivery trucks. 
The site produces the full range of products, with an asphalt and concrete plant based there as well. There are 37 permanent staff and, to compare wages, a dump truck driver would be paid 6000 rand per month. In Australia, this is equal to $600 per month.
The site has a very impressive safety record, with the last LTI recorded on 1 November, 2003, some 10 and a half years ago.
Cape Town is a stunning place to visit. It is interesting and confronting to see the contrast between the slums and the CBD, to see that you can travel in the back of utes/ trucks/wagons – in the tray as long as there is nothing loaded – and those rules are stretched often.
Unemployment is at 25 per cent. Yet the history of the country is rich, with visits to Robin Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, and Table Mountain a must.
Until next time, stay safe!

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