On the 3rd of July BedRock hosted senior Rock Engineers, Training and Commercial personnel from Lonmin on a plantation and value chain visit. The visit was held over 3 days where the team were taken through the complete “Seedling to Stope” value chain.
The visit took the team though the various phases involved in their support products’ life cycle. They were taken through the entire value chain starting with the initial seedling being planted to the end timber being sent to the mine shaft. Their first learning came from the tree nursery where the actual species of trees used for their support products were grown and further discussed. From the nursery we moved into the plantations where young seedlings were being planted. The processes involved in the science behind the planting of stems per area (hectare) and compartment were explained.
The team were then taken to view mechanical harvesting that was taking place in a nearby pine plantation. There they could recognise the difference between conventional and chainsaw harvesting.
After lunch the visit continued to view conventional harvesting. The team were given a chance to see and experience the manual stripping of bark, which was tried by one or two rock engineers. Tree rationale and optimisation was also explained in terms of length breakdown and optimisation per diameter class. That afternoon a presentation by BedRock Fibre Resources (BFR) was given around forestry, NSV (net standing value), tree optimisation and natural factors (wind, water & fire) affecting the growth of trees. Timber dynamics within in the respective timber markets was also explained and discussed as well as the dynamic forces around the issues BFR deals with regards to security, plantations and Fires on a daily basis.
On the last day the team were taken to Lowveld & Escarpment Fire Protection Association (LEFPA) to witness real time monitoring of the detection of fires within and surrounding plantations. This was followed by a visit to Glenthrope mill where the team could see the actual timber put through its final stages of the value chain. They experienced the milling of timber and the manufacturing of mining support products as well as the assembly lines used in other mining products.
BedRock was pleased to host the Lonmin team with regards to the operational side of BFR and around the entire “Seedling to Stope” value chain. The visit was essential to provide a better understanding of the processes involved to ensure supply of timber into the future. Moving forward, future relationships will need to be cemented with the challenging and changing mining environment. It is therefore essential that customers and suppliers will need to work together in order to maintain sustainability. BedRock were proud to host the Lonmin team and realised the possibility for future visits.