News Articles

DRD Gold Thickener Project

Cyclone cluster & related pipework

The two main areas of scope:

• The supply, fabrication and installation of:
   o 45m High Rate Thickener c/w bridge with support steelwork;
   o Additional piping racks;
   o Flocculent plant c/w 2off Floc tanks;
   o Ancillary piping;
   o Installation of all free-issued valves and mechanical equipment.

• The supply, fabrication and installation of :
o A new cyclone cluster platform and structure stiffening steelwork, and
o The installation of a free-issued cyclone cluster and associated pipe work. 

The vast size of the steel thickener on this project made it particularly challenging - 45 meters in diameter.   

The contract was awarded in March 2021, after which we engaged with a specialist OEM and Thickener Designer regarding the detailing and design of the thickener and associated steelwork. This is the first time a bolted floorplate 'drop-in' thickener had been designed on such a large thickener.

The Steel Services team spent extensive time planning and building fabrication jigs to ensure that the floorplates would fit on site with minimal rework. We had a team of 16 people on site with an additional 16 people who subcontracted to us. We were working on an operational plant which meant liaising with the client on an ongoing basis to ensure safe access for tie-in work was co-ordinated accurately.

The completed project saw us fabricating, detailing and installing 269.37 tons of steelwork. We were fortunate enough to have the use of Crane Corporations crane fleet - We utilized the flagship 260 ton Crawler crane; a 35 ton mobile crane; a Cherry picker and Telehandler. 

The project was completed on time with the client, (MD of DRD Gold) complimenting the team for our excellent work and accuracy. 

Steel Services along with our partners are very proud that this thickener was constructed with minimal errors and or flaws. 

Chrome Recovery Plant at Modikwa SMPP - Shop Detailed, Fabricated, Delivered...

Left: 200m3 fully welded Surge Tank en-route to site from the Steel Services workshop in Carletonville
Right: Night view of the Spirals building, Feed preparation and 610 Pipe Gantry 

Build of the Chrome Spiral Plant at Modikwa Mine
(The Modikwa Mine in Limpopo is jointly owned by African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) and Anglo Platinum.) In January 2020 Steel Services set to manage and oversee this vast project; shop detailing, fabrication, delivery and installation of the following:

• 445 tons of steel work
• 118 tons of plate work
• 1960 m2 of grating
• 7500 m of piping

Several tanks in various sizes were fabricated:
• 1 off 100m3 Tank
• 2 off 200m3 Tanks
• 1 off 750m3 Tank 

Left: Pipe gantries - pipes pumping water from the Process water tank
Right: Surge and Mixing Tanks that form part of the Feed Preparation Plant 

The Chrome Recovery Plant:
The Steel Services team were responsible for the fabrication & build of the following Areas:

• Feed Preparation
• Spirals Plant
• Thickener Floor Structure and Process Water
• Stockpile Material Area
• Pipe Racks and Supports
• Existing Brown-Fields Tie Ins 

Left: Spirals Plant structure Completed in 4 months
Right: Cyclone Cluster on the Feed Preparation Plant - Spirals plant in the background 

Spirals plant with the 3 Laffing booms on the stockpile

The Covid -19 lockdown unfortunately created additional challenges, fundamentally changing the way we would normally have preceded. New protocols were implemented across the board; from social distancing in busses and accommodation to site work in these ‘usually’ close working conditions, meant a smarter strategy:

• We used colour coding of sub structures for rapid ease of installation, as well as saving time.
• Having our own 70m Skylift; 2 Cherry Pickers and 3 Manitou's on site was a huge advantage.
• We also used Crane Corporations 260T/ 200T/ 80T/ 50T/ 35T/ 2 x 25T cranes.
Having access to a crane fleet within the group was invaluable as it saved time as well as costs for the client.
• Our dedicated team responded by working 24 hour shifts in order to try minimise the negative impact with tie-in complete between 12 and 48hrs. 

Left: Pre-assembled Platform being installed by the 260 ton Crawler crane. 70m Skylift on the right &, 200 ton crane left - Crane Corporation. Right: The 260 ton Crawler crane - Crane Corporation


JP Fouche and Steve Thiart receiving the
"Team Safety award" SSAI 

Although this project had its unique challenges, the Steel Services site team of 220 people who spent 300 000 LTI free hours working on this project were complimented by our client, as “dedicated” while the fabrication was praised as “excellent”.
Our C1 commissioning for the project was completed on site in June 2021.
We look forward to the next exciting project at Modikwa. 

Stockpile pad with 3 Laffing booms that will alternate to allow
the product to dry out before being loaded 

Impala 12 North Headgear refurbished
and shipped to Australia

2020 has been a challenging and unusual year for all of us. One of the exciting projects we continued with this year was the refurbishment of the Impala 12 North Headgear. We began this journey for our client, RSV International with the initial disassembly of the headgear in June 2019. The Headgear (including the bin) and the winderhouse was officially in the workshop by 8 Dec 2019 when the refurbishment commenced.

This headgear was refurbished for an Australian client, ANI (Australian Nickel Investments). The refurbishment comprised of a box girder tower with raking back legs, 8 decks and a 1500t bin. Additional work was required on the headgear, bin and the winderhouse. The majority of the work was covered by:

• Headgear modification to accommodate a 5.2m shaft from an 8.5m diameter shaft.
• Sheave centres were required to be reduced by 770mm.
• Spectacle Plates were rotated 90deg and refurbished.
• Guide centres were decreased by 770mm. 

Besides the modifications required ensuring that the shaft would fit once reinstalled in Australia, a major reason for the actual refurbishment was ensuring that the steelwork would meet the Australian customs requirements. They are extremely strict, meaning that the shaft needed to look new. The cleanliness of the steelwork and platforms was incredibly important. Measures taken to keep these items and the containers clean was a challenge. There were also significant packing and strapping requirements for Australian customs.

The last container left our Workshop on 29 October 2020. Lockdown and the Covid19 challenges obviously affected the project duration, but we managed as always to deliver our best. This project still fell within the viability study. Purchasing the headframe from Impala was considerably cheaper than fabricating a new structure. The capabilities and experience of the Steel Services group and our incredibly impressive workshop capabilities (together with experienced workforce) was what earned us this interesting challenge. ANI have since expressed that they are impressed and happy with the work produced. 

A mine on a ship…

We are excited and proud to announce our part in this fascinating and challenging project.

Our client, Belmet Marine has sub contracted Steel Services (SS&AI) to fabricate & erect the steelwork and installation of all the platework for the diamond processing plant (approximately 800 ton) on board this newly commissioned, custom built diamond recovery vessel.
Debmarine Namibia are extending their marine diamond mining capability. The vessel will be the most technologically advanced marine diamond recovery vessel in the world, and the largest single investment in the marine diamond industry. It will also be the largest vessel of its kind at 177 meters long.

Once the vessel is complete it will be sailed to South Africa where the mission equipment will be integrated into the vessel by De Beers Marine. De Beers Marine (South Africa) will be responsible for the construction of the mission equipment, comprising a subsea crawler and diamond recovery plant.

The ship is scheduled to commence operating in 2022. On completion, the vessel is expected to add 500 000 carats annually to Debmarine Namibia’s production.
Our diverse and highly competent team are enjoying the challenge of this extraordinary project. 

Headframe & Winderhouse dismantled at Impala N 12, Rustenburg

The Rustenburg mining landscape, changed forever... On behalf of our client RSV International, Steel Services has been retained to dismantle and refurbish the Headframe and the Winderhouse Structures at Impala N 12, near Rustenburg. The structures will be shipped for reuse in Western Australia. Quite a sizeable task. It is much easier to erect a Headframe than to dismantle it.

A highly skilled team of professionals, the utmost attention to detail and planning have been essential to performing this mammoth task. The logistics behind transporting the Headframe in sections was a mission, needing special abnormal permits, scheduling and communication between relevant parties to ultimately ensure that all structural components meet the Australian standards and to clear customs.

This will be another logistical challenge entailing detailed planning and research from all parties. The estimated steel tonnages we had to work with: Headframe - 400t, Bin Structure – 200t, Winderhouse – 100t. Our dedicated & skilled team have all pulled together and worked to the utmost precision. RSV International have been is very impressed with our professionalism, the health and safety compliance and the quality of structural steel work provided by Steel Services & Allied Industries. We look forward to the refurbishment piece of this project, which will continue until June 2020. 

A Degrit Plant for Debswana in Botswana

Another challenge for the Steel Services team… we are once again working on an exciting project in our neighbouring country, Botswana, a Degrit plant to the value of BWP56 million at Orapa mine, the ninth largest open-cast diamond mine in the world. This is a combined SMPP project. GEAR Mining Construction(GMC), part of the Steel Services group of companies, was awarded the steelwork order by Flour. As a combined effort within the group, Steel Services has fabricated the steelwork.

We are one of a few companies that have the capacity, expertise and equipment to complete a complex project of this nature in such a short space of time. The scope of this Degrit project included structural steelwork of 665 ton, platework (Tanks, Chutes and Launders) - 140 ton as well as 4 Grit Conveyors - 220 ton. The combined tonnage of steel fabricated was 1025 ton.

The project commenced in January 2019, expected completion is August 2019, so, we are currently in the completion stages. This project will go a long way to ensuring the overall extended life of the Orapa Diamond Mine. Through various projects, they are hoping to extend the life of the mine to 2030 and beyond. The Degrit project will ensure more efficiencies as they strive to achieve a more streamlined and efficient diamond extraction process. 

Steel Services expanding Across Africa…

The Steel Services group are excited to announce our acquisition of GEAR Mining Construction. GEAR Mining Construction (Pty) Ltd was started in 1996 in Botswana. The company has been serving the mining industry with innovative, functional solutions for the past thirty five years. GEAR Mining Construction is a steelwork contracting company that has workshops in Lobatse and Letlhakane in Botswana and will now be supported by the Steel Services groups manufacturing facilities in South Africa for the fabrication, construction, refurbishment, upgrading and maintenance of process plants.

Our Strategic alliances within the group make us a powerful partner. The Botswana Company is now headed by Garekwe Mojaphoko and Lawrence Bartlett. They are assisted by a dynamic and strategic management team that have been part of the company’s success since 1996. This long-standing and experienced management team allows the company to offer an exceptional standard in innovation, commitment and stability to the industry. The company is in the process of growing. We are excited about the construction and development of a central African fabrication facility in Lobatse, which is currently underway.

The main focus of this facility is to provide the company with a local base for the fabrication of steelwork. This enables us to improve capacity as well as expedite turnaround times for our Botswana customers. The facility will also have the capacity to provide steelwork to meet the needs of the greater Southern and Central African mining industry, which we look forward to. On behalf of the Steel Services Group and our staff we would like to thank you, our clients for your support over the past year. We look forward to a prosperous year for all in 2019.   

Steel Services and Allied Industries making our mark in Zambia.

We have recently completed the fabrication of the Mopani Headgear on the Nkana Mine in Kitwe, Zambia. This impressive headgear stands at 70 m tall with a total mass of over 1 300 ton.

The headgear was trial assembled in stages in our workshop in order to minimise the risks of assemblies not fitting once on site. This strict quality control & planning ensured smooth and uninterrupted installation on site. See below to follow the project progression: 

1. Box Girders

Fabrication and quality check on these massive 1200 x 1200 x 45mm box girders.

2. Platform Assembly

Trial assembly of a 150t floor including all the internal beams and braces to check interface and exact fitment took place throughout the fabrication process. This ensured a smooth erection process on site, saving the client time and money.

3. Main Frame Yard Assembly

Assembly off 600 ton of main frame and back legs on top of each other, to check consistency and tolerance within 6mm over 80m.

4. Back Leg Factory Trial Assembly

Trial assembly of the headgear back legs along with bracing.

5. Transport

Complete load ready to start the 2 500km journey to Zambia.

6. Headgear Bin Installation

Erection of the headgear bin. 3500 Liners were processed for this bin and installed into the structure prior to delivery. This translated into significant time savings for the client.

7. Platform – Site Assembly

Site pre-assembly at 40m level in preparation for its big lift.

8. Headgear Progress

Site erection progress up to level 40m.

9. Site Erection Crane

Fabrication and quality check on these massive 1200 x 1200 x 45mm box girders.

10. Sheave Column Installation

Trial assembly of a 150t floor including all the internal beams and braces to check interface and exact fitment took place throughout the fabrication process. This ensured a smooth erection process on site, saving the client time and money.

11. Sheave Wheel Installation

Assembly off 600 ton of main frame and back legs on top of each other, to check consistency and tolerance within 6mm over 80m.

12. Final Platform Installation

Trial assembly of the headgear back legs along with bracing.

13. Joint

Picture of a massive knuckle joint intersection at 50m.

14. Complete

Complete Headgear standing tall at 70m.

Steel Services celebrates success with CNC technology

Manual Methods Don’t Meet Demands
As you know Steel Services specializes in labour intensive steel fabrication projects which were becoming quite demanding using boilermakers or manual fabrication methods. We realized the natural way forward in manufacturing was going to be through the implementation of CNC technology.

An Investment in CNC equipment would ensure that we could better control our capacity. 

Searching for CNC Technology
Steel Services began our CNC investigation by analyzing the different types of fabrication technology available and how each option’s features could benefit our business.

After extensive research we at Steel Services made our first investment in CNC technology in 2012. Currently, Steel Services operates an arsenal of CNC machinery including a plate processor, a high-speed drill line, an angle line, a CNC layout marking machine, a shot blasting system and two structural band saws. With the use of the new CNC technology, we were able to meet timely project deadlines including two large headgear projects recently completed in Zambia.

The machinery has played a critical role speeding up our process ten-fold. Our machines are robust. They’ve got a lot of electronics and sophistication but you can see the base is a solid machine. That’s proven with the amount of work that we put through these machines. 

CNC Performs
The benefits of our CNC investments have lead Steel Services on a steady growth path allowing us to stay ahead of the competition. The HSFDB plate processor returns work back in-house which was previously outsourced to other companies, allowing control over quality, cost and tight time frames. The Advantage-2 drill line removed a bottleneck and allows what would traditionally take a boilermaker a day to mark out, punch, drill, etc. within five minutes on the machine. The Angle CNC machine-643/Q angle line has proven to be three-times faster than what they were previously used to.

Solid Steel Success
The future for Steel Services is promising. Utilizing CNC technology, we are able to accomplish growth while gaining a competitive edge within the mining and commercial industries. We’ve put in a big effort to make sure we are competitive when times are tough. We believe there is a big future with our team. 

A New Factory for Ferrochrome Furnaces

Steel Services & Allied Industries were commissioned by Ferrochrome Furnaces to build a new factory in Zinniaville, Rustenburg. The new Ferrochrome structure comprised of a multi-bay propped portal with a lean-to, to one side. From a technical point of view, this structure is fairly standard. What makes it outstanding is the size and the fact that there are multiple 80ton overhead cranes running in two parallel bays at a height of 33m, for a 152m long building.

The scale of this project demanded that out of the ordinary strategies be applied to the processes from detailing through to fabrication and erection.

For the fabrication and trial assembly the shop detailing was done in Tekla Structures with the 3D BIM model being instrumental in the planning and execution. The clip-plane feature was used extensively to show only the phase block required at each stage of the process. This provided significant improvements to the way that the fabrication process was managed.

•  Part lengths were optimised where possible to reduce waste and the model erection was phased according to the construction plan.
•  The structure was fabricated in 29 modules that enabled sequenced deliveries to site for construction.
•  Cutting lists for each phase were issued and processed using automated CNC machines.
•  Processing of sections and plates were scheduled to enable fabrication of each phase independently from the others.
•  Trial assembly of each gridline was completed prior to delivery to ensure the correct fit of assemblies. Each phase was stored until required on site. 
•  Site erection was completed using our all terrain mobile cranes ranging from 50 to 200 ton and a high reach truck mounted mobile elevated working platform (MEWP) (cherry picker), giving safe personnel access to bolted connections in elevated positions.
•  Erection began in one corner of the structure and then radiated outwards as the phases were delivered.
•  76 Fabricated plate girders, weighing just under 2 ton each were installed as crane beams for the 80ton overhead cranes. The heaviest assemblies weighed around 890kg.

The planning and execution of this project shows the versatility and flexibility of constructing in steel with the added value of technology such as Tekla Structures and Fabtrol MRP. 

Steel Services acquires new cranes

Bronto Skylift’s XDT models are compact and versatile in design, including the most advanced features that give added value in an increasingly competitive and diversifying business environment.

The Telescopic cage boom allows for:
• 70m height & 36m outreach
• 700kg working load
• 90 degree working cage rotation
• Hydraulic extension for more space
• Optimised outreach limitation system in all directions regardless of environmental influences
This excellent height to weight ratio gives us a more economical, more manoeuvrable, lighter chassis.
This compact machine allows for:
• Higher reach
• Access to otherwise load restricted roads & bridges
• Less outrigger pressure on load restricted surfaces
This compact design facilitates:
• Better manoeuvrability
• Access to previously unreachable areas

With the acquisition of the Terrex 200t crane, a compact and agile 5-axle crane we have any complex all terrain jobs covered. 

The Terrex 200 boasts the following features:
• The shortest 200-tonner on 5 axles
• A 12.6m carrier length
• 4 different carriers to choose from
• It enables 4 simultaneous working movements
• Self-rigging with a telescoping and pinning system
• Unequalled 100m combined boom-and-jib length
• 33m boom extension
• Quick connection hydraulic bolt extractors and hydraulic and electric quick couplings allow for fast
(dis-)assembly
• A speed-dependent rear axle steering designed to increase manoeuvrability and driving stability
• A touch screen crane control system for maximum flexibility
• The heavy lift attachments total 8 sheaves at boom head
• A maximum capacity of 147.0 t

With these impressive additions to our crane fleet, we are hoping to venture into exciting terrain and ground-breaking projects. 

Steel Services Exhibits at Electra Mining 2014

Africa's largest mining, industrial & trade Exhibition.

Steel Services - Steel Award 2011

The world's tallest steel headgear at Gold Fields South Deep Twinshaft Vent Shaft won the Mining and Industrial Category. With 5000 torqued bolts - all fitted, innumerable welds all passing the most stringent non-destructive testing and minimal distortion in spite of all the welding, the overall fabrication quality of this project contributed significantly to this award.

The completed structure stands 87m tall and has a mass of approximately 1900 ton. It is the tallest steel headgear in the world and is expected to extend the life of the mine by up to 60 years.

The judges said that this structure was 'especially impressive for two main reasons: steel was the only viable construction medium that could satisfy the complex, constraint-dominated client requirement and, secondly, exceptional technical and project management expertise was required to successfully execute the work in accordance with these requirements'.

They added that this particular project is a great story for structural steel as the material played a pivotal role in helping the mine to make its decision.

As the project team explains: 'Extending the height of the existing concrete headgear was not possible since its foundations were not designed to accommodate the additional mass. Since the existing headgear was still operational, destroying it and rebuilding the headgear was also not an option. The only viable option was to construct a new headgear from steel and erect it over the top of the existing headgear'.

The main framework consists of hollow section structural boxes welded up from plates typically 45mm thick. The plates are welded together with complete joint penetration welds. Each 10-metre section needs two kilometres of pre-heated, submerged arc welding runs.

The judges said that this project is a flagship for the use of steel for several reasons including that it's the highest in the world. "A most challenging requirement was fully satisfied by the excellent use of steel and the related design, fabrication and erection activities. Also, importantly, the site safety record was fantastic. Overall the outcome is a credit to all involved," they concluded. 

World Record - Breaking Steel Headgear Extracts Gold Award

An engineering alumnus leads the steel company which manufactured the world's tallest steel headgear (the hoisting mechanism a-top a mineshaft) and which won the Mining and Industrials category of the national Southern African Institute of Steel Construction (SAISC) Awards on 15 September 2011.

Managing director of Steel Services & Allied Industries, Lawrence Bartlett (BSc Eng Mech, 1997) oversaw the R100-million steelwork component of the 87m tall, 1900 ton A-frame structure built at Gold Fields South Deep Twinshaft complex in Westonaria, south of Joburg.

"We are proud to be a critical part of the project team that successfully supplied, fabricated and installed the tallest, if not largest, steel headgear in the world," says Bartlett.

The conversion of Gold Fields' South Deep existing vent shaft into a production shaft increases the mine's rock-hoisting capacity by 195 000 t/m. Combined with the existing main shaft rock winder, the headgear will help the mine reach its gold production target of 750 000 oz/y by late 2014. The headgear will likely extend the life of the mine by more than 50 years.

The Gold Fields headgear won the "Excellence in the use of structural steel" category at the SAISC Awards. Judges said the project was a flagship in the use of steel and excellently met challenging structural requirements.

"Extending the height of the existing concrete headgear was not possible since its foundations were not designed to accommodate the additional mass," Bartlett explains. "Since the existing headgear was still operational, destroying it and rebuilding the headgear was also not an option. The only viable option was to construct a new headgear from steel, and erect it over the top of the existing headgear."

Further challenges included the height; erecting headgear on top of an existing shaft (from the west side, which was the only option); rotating the legs off square to increase strength; and working with knuckle connections weighing in excess of 40 ton.

The Gold Fields headgear now trumps the world's former tallest steel headgear structure; the 81m high Konkola Copper Mines' Konkola Deep mine in Zambia. South Africa retains the second-highest steel headgear record, with Impala Platinum's Shaft 17 headgear, near Rustenburg at the same height as Konkola.

The world's tallest concrete headgear is at Impala Platinum's No. 16 shaft, near Rustenburg, North West Province. It is 132m high. 

Steel Services and Allied Industries

We have extensive steel construction experience on which you can depend – and our determination to deliver excellence is the foundation on which our reputation for quality is built.

Steel Services & Allied Industries (Pty) LTd

  • Steel Services 

  • Carletonville

  • +27 (0) 18 787 2059

Steel Trading


  • Steel Trading (Pty) Ltd

  • Rustenburg

  • +27 (0) 14 538 0151

Crane Corp.


  • Crane Corporation (Pty) Ltd

  • Rustenburg

  • +27 (0) 14 538 1461

GEAR Mining


  • GEAR Mining Construction

  • Botswana

  • +267 530 0228

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