ONE of the year’s biggest crane manufacturing contracts, for nine overhead maintenance cranes to be installed at Swakop Uranium’s Husab mine development in Namibia, has been awarded to Condra.
AMEC Minproc, principal contractor on site at Husab, placed the R18m order. It brings to four the number of orders in the R10m to R20m range secured by Condra in recent months, and will take the company’s Germiston factory to 90% of capacity when scheduled manufacturing peaks during February and March next year. The company will manage any capacity shortfall by working with strategic partners on segments of the steel fabrication. Condra is currently running at 80% of capacity.
Swakop Uranium’s Husab Project is an open-pit mine under development near Swakopmund on the west coast of Namibia. The high grade, granite-hosted uranium deposit at Husab is Namibia’s largest, and the third-largest uranium-only deposit in the world.
The first three of the nine Condra cranes ordered for the mine, two 40-tonners and one 10-ton machine earmarked for workshop duty in the uranium processing plant are currently at an advanced stage of manufacture at the Condra factory south of Johannesburg. They are to be shipped at the end of October.
The remaining six machines will be manufactured early next year, and delivered during February and early March. Four of these will be very large cranes: one 50‑tonner, a 50+50-tonner (two 50-ton hoists traversing the same pair of girders) and two 20-ton cranes.
Crane spans in this contract are unusually large. The two 40-ton cranes currently under manufacture have spans of 30 metres, while the 50+50-ton crane scheduled for manufacture early in 2014 will span 24 metres. The remaining six cranes have spans of 20 metres and under.
All cranes will feature live-axle direct drives, squirrel-cage motors and adapted V-belt technology, all of which increase machine reliability and lower the overall lifetime cost. Butt welds across all machines will be ultrasonically tested in accordance with AMEC Minproc specifications.