Known for its use of best in class technology, Murray & Roberts Cementation has added 3D printing technology to its capability portfolio and believes that this will add greater functionality during project design stages.

Allan Widlake, Business Development executive at Murray & Roberts Cementation, says that use of 3D printing technology allows engineers to take designs from CAD or other modelling software and convert this into complete models. “The primary advantage is that the physical model and the virtual model are almost identical and the ergonomics of the structure can be visually checked to ensure functionality.” The first model produced by Murray & Roberts Cementation is of the Ivanplats’ Platreef No. 2 shaft headframe. The model is a 1:260 scale and is an accurate physical rendering of the headgear. It was printed using ceramic as opposed to plastics for aesthetic
purposes, and took just 17 hours.

“3D printing of structures allows for the assessing of the constructability of the design and we believe that this could become a vital tool as it allows a far more realistic perspective. In the case of the headgear we were also able to confirm that there is sufficient space to access all components of the headgear from a maintenance and servicing perspective,” Widlake says.

3D printing, also called additive manufacturing, is the process of creating three dimensional objects from a digital model. Advances in 3D printing technology has seen it become more affordable allowing reasonably priced models to be produced, and from a planning perspective this means that engineers can use these 3D printed models to discuss with crews exactly how the construction will be done. This provides a much more tangible idea of the construction required.

Murray & Roberts Cementation was responsible for the design of Ivanplats’ mechanised, high tonnage Platreef No. 2 shaft headframe. It will be the main production shaft, capable of hoisting six million tonnes of ore per year and will also transport large mechanised equipment between surface and underground. By comparison with most steel frame PGM headgears in South Africa, it will be a considerable concrete structure – 100.5 metres in height. The lined shaft will be 10 metres in diameter. The headframe
will house all equipment necessary for operating the shaft thereby reducing the surface footprint. During sinking, maximum use of permanent infrastructure has been achieved in order to minimise the changeover delay from sinking to permanent conditions.

The No. 2 shaft will be sunk to a depth of 1 080 metres and will feature two high mass, high speed 40 tonne skips running at 18 metres per second. It will also be capable of conveying 40 tonnes of material or 225 persons in a single deck using a cage and counter weight arrangement.


Cementation Canada (“Cementation”) has completed the acquisition of Merit Consultants International Inc. (“Merit”). Merit has worked with clients in the mining and resource industry worldwide providing project and construction management services, successfully participating in projects in the USA, Canada,
Australia, China, Turkey, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Guyana, Myanmar, Peru and Portugal. Merit’s head office is located in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Jay Collins will continue as President of

Roy Slack, President of Cementation said “We have known Jay and his team for many years and recognise Merit has a great reputation and solid performance record in the industry. As project management is a core competency in our business, we look forward to further advancing this area with access to Merit’s specialised project management skills. We are fully committed to the West Coast mining industry and our presence there will help us better support our current and future clients.”

This acquisition establishes a Canadian West Coast presence for Cementation to provide further access and support to the mining industry in the region. This transaction provides Merit with a depth of engineering and technical support and their clients with the option of additional services.

Jay Collins, President of Merit said “I am extremely pleased that Merit has been acquired by Cementation. This arrangement will allow Merit to continue to operate as a project and construction management group based in Vancouver, and we will now have the strength of a very successful global organisation to allow us to expand our services into almost all facets of engineering, procurement and construction.”

Henry Laas, Group CEO, Murray & Roberts, comments: “This is a small acquisition, which supports the strategy to grow our engineering capability in the business platforms that are focused on the natural resources market sectors. Merit will broaden and enhance our existing service offering to our clients in the global underground mining market.”