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Case Studies: Geocells Solve Mining Deadline Dilemma – Kaytech Engineered Fabrics

If not for Kaytech’s tried and tested Multi-Cell system, a Limpopo mine would not have attained one of its many deadlines. Ivanplats, lying just outside Mokopane, is a platinum-focused subsidiary of Ivanhoe Mines which is currently in the development stage of potentially becoming one of the largest Platinum-Group Elements (PGE) mines in the world. 

When storm water channels at Ivanplats Mine required not only urgent lining but also a high MPa rating as requested by engineers, the time-consuming conventional method of concrete construction was pushed beyond consideration. Forced to seek an alternative option, Grinaker Mining, the main contractor, approached Kaytech for a solution. The immediate proposal was the fast and effective Multi-Cell, a honeycomb structure of three-dimensional diamond-shaped cells providing in-situ shuttering for casting continuous, interlocking concrete paving.

Multi-Cell is manufactured from UV stabilised, laminated polypropylene woven slit film tape strips providing a high tensile strength and seam strength. Lightweight and flexible, Multi-Cell is quick and easy to install, conforms to existing surfaces, may be installed on clays or in high water table areas and provides hydrostatic pressure relief through built-in joints in the concrete infill.

Having no previous experience with Multi-Cell, the contractor was initially sceptical of the product’s efficacy but after a brief training session supplied by Danie Herbst, a Kaytech representative, both contractor and workforce realised the many benefits of this outstanding product. In a short space of time, 900m2 of Multi-Cell 75 mm was installed, pegged down and ready for concrete infill.


Excavating the channel Using the the tension frame to peg the Multi-Cell in position


With its proven track record of approximately twenty-five years, economical Multi-Cell has been used as an effective erosion protection treatment for hydraulic structures, for slope protection where cells may be soil filled and vegetated, for load support and for cast in-situ concrete roads.

Thanks to a 19 metre, ultra thick, relatively shallow and predominantly flat underground mineralised belt known as the Flatreef Deposit, the Platreef Project seems destined to become the future of platinum mining in South Africa, with the Ivanplats Mine breaking new ground.

Numerous deadlines imposed on the development of Ivanplats could have rendered this project relatively impossible, but with the specification of Multi-Cell, severe time constraints were totally eliminated.

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