With the current interest in Ghana's gold-mining industry, and with the impending sale of the Ghanaian government's majority holding in Ashanti Goldfields, industry observers might be interested to learn that the largest primary grinding machine ever to be shipped to the country, a so-called "sag" mill, has arrived.
Two storeys high
Europe-West Africa shipping specialist OT Africa Line (Otal) set a new record by shipping the two-storey-high, 45-tonne machine from Hamburg to Takoradi, securely lashed and welded onto the deck of one of Otal's multipurpose roll-on/roll-off (ro-ro) vessels.
At Takoradi, the mill was discharged using the ship's own equipment and was placed onto a specially strengthened low loader. From there, Otal's in-house agent, Ro Ro Services, took over responsibility for the movement upcountry.
Port gates dismantled
Before the mill could be moved, the gates of Takoradi port had to be dismantled to allow the 5.7-metre-wide machine to pass through.
Once outside the port gates, the mill set out in convoy, with its own police escort, on a 120-kilometre journey to the gold-processing plant in Ghana's Western region.
A large part of the journey was over narrow dirt roads and through small villages. In some places, telephone and electricity cables had to be taken down or moved to allow for passage beneath them, and an advance team had to fill in pot-holes in the roads caused by recent heavy rains...