Dowding Reynard & Associates (DRA) is responsible for the engineering procurement and construction management (EPCM) of the concentrator and surface infrastructure at Marula Platinum, a greenfields development on the Eastern limb of the Bushveld Complex in South Africa.

The plant will be built to treat up to 233 000t of ore a month. Initially it will treat the UG2 reef, but the layout allows for UG2 expansion and a future plant to process ore mined on the Merensky reef.

The EPCM contract includes R750-million for which DRA is directly responsible. To date, work scheduled by DRA is on time and within budget.

The scope of work on the project includes the following:

• two primary crushers, one at each of the two decline shafts

• two ROM concrete storage silos.

• an overland conveyor to deliver crushed ore to the plant.

• secondary crushing and screening and a coarse ore storage silo.

• DMS plant

• primary and secondary ball milling

• flotation

• concentrate thickening and filtration

• concentrate load-out facility

• tailings dam and a return water dam

• all electrical equipment & transformers

• infrastructure including water purification, sewerage treatment, change houses, administration offices, ablution facilities, stores, plant and portal access roads, in–plant roads and access control facilities.

To date, a 50 000m³ storage dam has been built, potable water reticulation piping and sewage water piping have been installed, change houses are being completed at each decline, and a sewage-treatment plant and potable-water plant have been commissioned.

The storage silos at each of the decline shafts, Clapham and Driekop, have been completed and foundations for the mills and flotation plant are about 50% complete. Foundations for the DMS plant are almost finished. Foundations for concentrate thickening, tailings thickener, DMS thickener, screening and secondary crusher are well underway while the coarse ore silo, mill feed silo and two DMS silos are under construction.

The 33kV power reticulation has been completed. Structural design drafting and detailing is 50% complete and erection of the DMS structural steel began at the end of January this year.

Neil Smyth, project manager for the contract, is pleased with the progress to this point. He said that in addition to the above, procurement in general and placement of contracts was almost complete.

The first phase of the project will cost about R1.3 billion and is scheduled to be commissioned in late 2003.