GW minerals 2
Members of the G & W management team. (L to R) Arthur Farrell (Engineer); Charmaine Combrinck (SHEQ Mgr.); Andre Kruger (Operations Mgr.); Coenraad Calitz (MD). Pic credit: Kaimara/CSIR

G & W Mineral Resources, part of the Zimco group of companies in South Africa, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Ecobat Technologies group in the UK, is currently in the process of acquiring the international certification for the energy standard ISO 50001.

This move is taken to improve its six operating mine’s efficiencies, throughput and cost reductions to its customer base.

The G & W mines produce Bentonite, Kaolin and various other minerals in Wadeville, Johannesburg.

Large power users

Addressing an audience at G & W’s training centre in Wadeville, managing director Coenraad Calitz demonstrated that a number of key processes had been achieved and implemented in the business operation to turn-around the plant in terms of on -going improvements, lean materials management and safety.

According to a company statement, the plant’s use of Kanban (a Japanese technique for managing and regulating a software development programme in an efficient way) had resulted in faster turn-around times for order-fulfilment and thus more happy customers, as their on time and in-full delivery record has become entrenched over the last 40 months.

Coenraad explained that these were the results of a successful handover and daily operation to the shop-floor personnel.

“Everything we do in these initiatives is largely a success thanks to the ‘buy-in’ by line supervisors – some of whom are here today with us, and of course, the teams operating in each section of the plant.”

Journey to acquiring the ISO 50001

G & W is already a holder of the Integrated Management System certification for ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and OHSAS 18001.

For its journey to ISO 50001, it engaged the services of the National Cleaner Production Centre (NPC) to provide training courses in energy management systems (EnMS) and energy systems optimisation (ESO) which were developed in partnership with UNIDO as part of the Industrial Energy Efficiency suite.

  • The EnMS programme presents a methodical, organised approach to managing energy usage, based on the ISO 50001 standard. It is aimed at individuals who are responsible for developing and implementing energy management systems in their companies.
  • The ESO training programmes include individual courses on a number of energy systems including pumps, compressed air, fans, steam and motors. They combine science and theory and cover management processes, case studies, training on appropriate software toolkits and practical sessions.

Coenraad added: “We welcome Hemant Grover of the NCPC in being with us today as his input was largely instrumental in helping us get to ISO 50001 certification”.

The final stage of the certification process was supplied by DQS Management Systems.

Francois Labuschagne, the CEO of DQS, said: “This is indeed a notable occasion for us and we at DQS are delighted to present the certificate of compliance to G & W Mineral Resources, as the first company in Africa to have achieved this standard through DQS.”