With more than 50-years of experience at METS MINING and more than 60-years at SHAFT SINKERS, our two companies have pioneered many innovations in the mining industry which have effectively delivered faster and more profitable returns on investment for our clients. Our recently established company METS PROCESS also incorporates extensive minerals processing expertise and has recently developed an innovative approach geared to revolutionise the speed and ease of plant design, construction and commissioning. METS PROCESS is able to provide clients with scalable solutions geared to meet their budgets.


Design Innovations

METS MINING has delivered many innovations over the decades. Some notable ones are:

  • 1

    Mid-shaft loading system

    Having worked on the original mid-shaft loading system whereby access to horizontal ore bodies is achieved from a vertical shaft while primary sinking is still in progress, METS MINING further refined this by designing mid-shaft loading systems that can be added to existing shafts and that were not planned for in the original shaft construction. Mid-shaft loading systems are usually planned for as part of an original shaft system design and generally cannot be added later due to the size of the underground cavity that needs to be established. Using only the available space (±5.5 metres) on an established station and through an innovative design approach, METS was able to fit a new type of “direct feed” mid-shaft loading system for a client using a combination of conveyors and flopper chutes which enables the skips to be loaded directly in the middle of the shaft with absolutely zero spillage.

  • 2

    Steel brattice wall

    A client requested that an existing conventional man & material shaft be reconfigured to also hoist rock from a recently installed mid shaft loading system. A hanging 400-meter long brattice wall and skeleton system needed to be designed and installed onto the existing shaft steel structure in the shaft without negatively impacting factors such as ventilation and shaft performance. A suitable solution was engineered and successfully installed by METS MINING.

  • 3

    Shaft steel repair system solution

    The custom design and delivery a shaft steel repair system solution for a client. Although simple in appearance, the design was complex. METS worked very closely with the fabricator and client and managed to deliver 25 tons of light steel to site within a week. This steel consisted of 20 new bunton sets. The design allowed for all of the available steel to be fabricated and installed within three weeks when the shaft recommissioned to full function.

  • 4

    Re-purposing of an existing underground shaft

    Re-purposing of an existing underground shaft originally used to extract rock into an underground dual-purpose man & material-shaft thereby reducing the 2,5-hour travel time to get to the stope. METS was awarded the project on the basis of its innovative and cost -effective approach. METS designed a system that would quickly change out the rock housing skip with a 3-deck man cage. The system also required all the steelwork for the headgear and stations to embark and disembark on all three decks simultaneously. The system further incorporated a cage-stabilizing system to prevent the cage from moving during the embark and disembark periods.

  • 5

    4-stage crushing process

    Design of a 4-stage crushing process to reduce rocks averaging around 2m3 in size to smaller than 8 mm in size that could then fed the clients DMS plant. This crusher system also incorporated a feedback loop that would prevent any oversized rocks from slipping through the system.


An Innovative Approach

To broaden our service offerings across the mining value chain and deliver a turnkey solution for the mining industry, we have established a processing company in the UMS Group. Headed up by a leading expert in the field with decades of processing experience, METS PROCESS has developed an innovative process methodology that enables it to provide clients with fully scalable solutions around the design, fabrication, erection and commissioning process thereby enabling clients to start producing as soon as possible.


Project Innovations

Since its inception in 1961, Shaft Sinkers has undertaken in excess of 250 contracts around the world.

To date we have sunk over 170 kilometres of vertical shafts, sunk in excess of 35 kilometres of incline and decline shafts and in doing so it has achieved a number of world firsts:

We were the first company to sink the world’s deepest shaft at Moab Mine (3649 metres). We have routinely sunk ultra-deep shafts in excess of 1200 metres.

We have also executed the fastest continuous sink rate achieved at just over 200 metres within one month, have such the widest shaft at a finished diameter of 19 metres and sunk an oval shaft 11 metres wide and 12 metres long.

Over the years Shaft Sinkers has been instrumental in pioneering a number of mining innovations:

  • Introducing numerous innovations around safer working practices to dramatically improve safety during sinking and mining operations. These focus primarily on reducing accident contributors and occupational health contributors.

  • The mid-shaft loading system – a system that facilitates horizontal access to ore bodies from a vertical shaft while primary sinking is still in progress

  • Prototyping the jumbo drill and mini jumbo drill

  • Perfected control blasts thereby decreasing blow over, improving cycle times and reducing costs to clients

  • Masterarch spilling system for working through and stabilising highly fragmented rock

  • Prototyping methodologies for working in high heat conditions in ultra-deep mines

Industry Innovations Placeholder
Industry Innovations

We have experience in working in all types of conditions:

Sinking in frozen ground/ arctic conditions

Sinking through highly faulted, fragmented and unstable ground

Sinking in excessive water tables (aquifers)

Working in heat conditions at ultra-deep levels

Sinking mining shafts through clays and sand