Efficient mine housing

by Darren

Corobrik is involved with a project for mine housing in the Northern Cape.

South Africa has the largest known deposits of manganese ore in the world and is the largest producer of iron ore on the continent, making mining operations in the arid Northern Cape critical to the national economy and the largest employers in the region.

Production volumes amongst the two biggest players in the region’s mining sector – Assmang and Anglo American – continue to increase at a tremendous speed. To cater for new employees and respond within the ambit of the revised mining charter published by the government in late 2010, both mining giants are in the throes of creating new and upgrading existing accommodation, with a number of housing projects both on the drawing board and under construction.

Gary Westwood, sales manager at Corobrik for the Free State and Northern Cape region, said Corobrik takes pride in being part of the progress of a sector that is  the greatest contributor to the country’s gross domestic product.

Production at the new Kolomela Mine in Postmasburg came on stream in May 2012, and is expected to add additional production of 13 metric tons per annum (Mtpa). “The Kolomela Mine expansion saw Corobrik delivering some two-million Corngold Satins for the building of 400 staff houses. This project has been divided into three projects, namely Postdene, Airfield and Boichoko,” he added.

He said that, in meeting the objectives of the mining charter, the use of clay brick in housing projects went a long way to provide both affordable and sustainable housing. Very importantly, a clay-brick house meets the aspirational requirements of the prospective homeowners to live in “proper” houses and all the dignity associated with that.

He added that, in the light of the fact that the region borders  the Kalahari Desert  and has  some of the most acute temperature fluctuations in the country, the energy-efficiency  that results  from the use of clay brick is  particularly important. The real benefits of clay-brick construction will be realised in our long, hot summer months, when the natural thermal properties of clay brick help to attenuate the impact of high outdoor temperatures indoors.

“The value of the thermal mass that the clay-brick walls provide slows the heat flow to the inside down by six to eight hours over the hottest parts of the day, moderating internal conditions and providing target thermal comfort for longer, reducing artificial cooling interventions. Miners won’t have the problem of overheating inside, which is widely associated with insulated lightweight walled alternate building technologies such as light steel-frame building. The use of clay brick in this instance well complements the priority being given to the use of solar power in these projects,” he added.

Assmang owns both manganese and iron ore production facilities in the Northern
Cape, with their iron ore mines being located in Kathu and Postmasburg and their manganese operations in the towns of Hotazel and Black Rock.

Corobrik (Pty) Ltd
Tel: 051 432 4791
Website: www.corobrik.co.za

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