B&E International Namibia grows from strength to strength

By Prime Focus Reporter
December 2013/January 2014
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B&E International Namibia, a subsidiary of the Raubex group of companies, recently celebrated the 20thyear of its involvement in the mining and civil engineering industry in Namibia. This milestone has seen the company’s presence in the country grow from an initial single screening operation to the multi disciplined operation of today.


The year 1993 saw the Companiy’s first foray into the diamond mining industry in Namibia when a contract was secured with the Namdeb Diamond Mining Corporation, a partnership between DeBeers, the world’s largest diamond producer and the Namibian Government. 


The introduction of a  custom built, dry infield screening plant, I.F.S.01, to Mining area 1 where dumps were screened in a beneficiation process, producing a +2mm-25mm product, proved to be an efficient and cost effective operation. The success of this unit led to the introduction of a second such operation followed by a third improvement, I.F.S.03, at the time the first unit was mothballed at end of its life, and subsequently I.F.S.04 which with I.F.S.03 was in operation until the end of 2008 when the recession put a stop to the operation.


The first diversification of operations came about in 1995 when a small sampling plant was commissioned at Daberas some 60 km east of Oranjemund, in the Orange River mining area being developed by Namdeb. The unit, a screening operation, produced bulk samples, which were transported to the Auchas plant, and  then established the Namdeb operation on the Orange River, for processing by the client.


Over a period of four years this unit was modified to suit the client’s requirements  and with the introduction of a jaw crusher and trommel screen, was utilizsd in the Orange River area on further sampling projects at Sendlings drift, dual dry infield screens at Auchas ,and ultimately, in 1999,  moved  back to Daberas.


It was here that the operation underwent a major metamorphosis that saw the design, construction and commissioning of a wet processing plant in 2003. With the addition of a mining team including the introduction of a drilling service, the Daberas unit, now the flagship of the Namibian operation, continued to operate  until  the end of life of mine at the Daberas hub in 2012, a period of eight years and nine months.


With the availability of resources brought about by the decommissioning of the Daberas plant, the client took the decision to have the overland waste conveyor dismantled and moved to Mining Area 1, where it was re-erected and now forms an integral part of the overall Accretion programme. As part of this programme waste from the #4Plant waste dump is transported by the overland conveyor onto the beach,  where it is deposited by a spreader fed from a “camel back” incremental launching system. This contract is expect to move some 4,000,000 tons a year.


In the latter part of 2006, B&E secured the first of a series of onshore stripping contracts in Mining Area 1, a new string to the Namibian bow, where mining at the high water mark is undertaken below sea level in saturated, difficult and extremely corrosive underfoot conditions, and where the terms safety and maintenance take on new meaning .


This aspect has grown over the years and with the exception of the recessionary period of December 2008 to January 2010, has continued to grow. It currently includes the stripping and mining of the resource at Elizabeth Bay Mine south of Luderitz and has included the rehabilitation of portions of the Pocket Beaches area.


The Mining Area 1 stripping contracts have also grown to include the construction of and subsequent continous maintenance of some 10 km of seawall on an as and when basis with activity peaking in the months July to October. Volumes have ballooned and Mining Area 1 now boasts a fleet of 18, 40 ton ADT’s and three, 90 ton excavators with the attendant ancillary equipment. Employee numbers in the mining operation have risen from a modest 30 in 1993 to in excess of 300 in 2013.


While exposure to the Namibian mining industry to date has not been limited to the Namdeb operation, only one other mining operation has been undertaken to date, namely the push back of a pit face at Okorusu Fluorspar mine, some 50 km northwest of Otjiwarongo, which commenced early in 1998.Owned by Solvay, this unique deposit is situated in an extinct volcano and presented some equally unique challenges in the initial push back and subsequent re-establishment of the Pit following a major slip failure in the early stages of the project. By necessity contract was extended to include the clearing of the slip and was successfully completed in June 2000.


Construction of the Trans Caprivi Highway provided B&E with the first opportunity of entering the civil industry in Namibia with the crushing of all aggregates for the project. The upgrade of the road between Nkurenkuru and Elundu in the north of Namibia was the second major road construction project on which B&E was responsible for the crushing of aggregates. Based at Katwitwi,  a total of 750 000 tons was produced from two sources.


The most recent project, the rehabilitation of the road between Gobabis and Otjineni, included the blasting of cuttings for the widening of the road and the establishment of a quarry in the Swart Nossob riverbed from which the aggregates were produced, and was completed over a one year contract.


With B&E’s ever growing involvement in the Namibian market has come the growing social responsibility to the communities in the areas in which they operate in. Just as the company strives to become an integral part of the team on the many projects in which we have been involved, so too they have endeavoured to honour their  responsibilities to these communities by contributing to the societies in which we have lived and worked.


B&E believes that apart from the once-off contributions made to numerous organisations throughout the country, they have become an integral part of society in Oranjemund and the surrounding areas. This has been achieved not solely by assisting the many organisations financially, but by becoming actively involved in and part of their day-to-day lives and activities, so creating a mutually beneficial bond in a society in which we hope to grow and prosper with the community in the future. PF