Power and automation technologies firm ABB has been called upon to provide four hoists to the Venetia Mine, South Africa’s largest producer of diamonds.

The company will supply a double drum hoist for personnel and material conveyance, two friction hoists for production, and also one single drum hoist for service duty.

ABB will handle the design, supply, manufacture, installation and commissioning of all four hoists, which includes hoist mechanicals, motors, and electrical drive and control. These are all certified to the highest safety integrity levels (SIL).

According to the manufacturer, this is the first time that multiple, turnkey large friction mine hoists are delivered to the South African mining industry.

The installation of these systems will commence in July 2018 with all four hoists are due to become operational in April 2020.

Roger Bailey, managing director of ABB’s Process Industries business, explains: "With mineral deposits becoming increasingly difficult to access, increasing productivity while ensuring safety and reliability are key customer requirements."

He adds: "ABB is the only supplier with the unique capability to design, supply, install and provide long-term service and support of entire mine hoist systems. "Leadership in supplying power and automation for site is a key component of ABB’s next level strategy. "

Open pit mining at the site is due to continue until 2022. It is expected that underground mining will also extend the site’s operational life into the 2040’s. This move has the potential to deliver an estimated 94 million carats, the equivalent of 18.80t.

This project represents De Beers’ biggest capital investment in South Africa and since hoisting forms a critical aspect of underground mining, the manufacturer believes it is the supplier "best suited with a solid track record" in installing such systems.

ABB has partnered with De Beers previously and says it was selected for its proven ability to provide a complete mechanical and electrical hoist package, as well as its expertise in installing SIL compliant systems.