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Geosynthetic Cementitious Composite Mats in African mining

The development in Geosynthetic Cementitious Composite Mats (GCCM) in recent years has resulted in fascinating opportunities for the future of mining infrastructure, along with other industrial sectors.

Developed by Concrete Canvas Ltd, as an alternative to traditional poured concrete, the GCCM is a concrete impregnated fabric. Far easier and faster to install than traditional concrete, essentially, it’s concrete on a roll which can be cut to size. Once in place and secured down, hydrate and leave to harden. Within 24 hours, you then have a highly durable and waterproof concrete layer.

Concrete Canvas offers two products which, due to their ease of installation and cost-effective benefits, have made significant improvements to mining projects around the world. The company’s original product, Concrete Canvas, requires no specialist labour or equipment and can be installed with basic hand tools. Similarly, Concrete Canvas Hydro (CCH) only requires the material to be thermally welded and the installation of a built-in air channel. Concrete Canvas Ltd is the sole producer of GCCM products and as such export the material around the world.

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Amvia bulk roll

For mining purposes in Africa, the material can be highly beneficial in two key areas. Firstly, due to CCs water resistance, it makes an excellent ditch liner, ideal for securing water runoff channels to prevent storm and contaminated waters from entering sensitive areas or damaging equipment. Once hydrated, CC reaches 80% of its total strength within 24 hours, providing a swift solution to urgent problems. Furthermore, it is not possible to overhydrate CC, which means it can be installed in even the most severe wet weather.

Secondly, CC is an excellent solution for protection against slope erosion, subsequently also protecting the natural slope material from slip. Using a GCCM also makes this task significantly easier compared to trying to achieve the same outcome with traditional concrete in projects with accessibility restrictions. Implementing slope protection can improve the safety of a mining facility, and from an environmental perspective, CC is considerably cleaner to install and is therefore a significant improvement to poured concrete. CC is recognised as an eco-friendly concrete alternative by the UK’s Environment Agency and has been specified by environmentally conscious bodies worldwide. It has a lower carbon footprint than conventional concretes along with a low alkaline reserve and washout rate, which eliminates the need to treat runoff.

An example of Concrete Canvas being used successfully in an African mining project is the recent installation of CC bulk roles to act as slope protection and drain lining solution in Ahafo, Ghana. As part of the Ahafo Mill Expansion (AME) Project, the Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) site needed to install a solution quickly before the rainy season began in April. As a result, in March 2019 CC was installed rather than stone pitching to provide the protection and drainage needed to secure the site. 9,750m2 of CC was installed safely and on time, resulting in extremely happy clients and contractors.

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deployment of CC fabric to the slope

Concrete Canvas has seen continued growth in the mining sector in Africa and they envisage this continuing and for the sector to grow into one of their biggest in the region over the coming years.

When looking to specify Concrete Canvas, it’s vital to understand what you’re hoping to achieve and which one of the products will help you achieve it. There is also a range of material variations which alters the length and width of a roll of CC fabric, so doing some measurements before ordering is always vital. To ensure a successful installation and for project-specific advice, contact Concrete Canvas directly.

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