Diamond mines: Samson telehandlers in the depths of Africa

Quarries and mines are unsafe areas, with unstable terrain, poor visibility and long work cycles. Within these environments it is fundamental to use vehicles that are strong, high-performance and prepared for any eventuality. But in addition, operator safety is one of the key considerations when choosing which telehandler to use.

In some industries, accessories, options and cab design features are secondary considerations, but at depths of 900 metres they become essential factors in choosing the right vehicle for the job. The comfort, handling and attention to safety that distinguish DIECI telehandlers convinced Petra Diamonds to invest in three Samson telehandlers for its diamond mining operations in Africa.

DIECI telehandlers supporting quarry and mine operations

Mining is one of the world’s oldest industries. For centuries, coal, metals and precious stones have been—and still remain—among the most valuable currencies in circulation. Yet despite its importance, mining is an extremely complex and unsafe activity.

As part of its mission to build high-performance vehicles specifically for mining, DIECI has invested time and resources into its research and development centre, which designs innovative, technologically advanced vehicles that are structurally predisposed for this line of work.

Versatility, power, compact size and ease of use are key starting points for the design of telehandlers suitable for the three most common types of mine:

  • Underground mines, where it is necessary to carry out maintenance and heavy-duty material handling. For this environment, DIECI has created agile, compact vehicles capable of getting work done faster.
  • Open-pit mines and quarries, which call for extremely versatile vehicles that are fast and also simple to manoeuvre and operate, in order to move heavy loads at an intense pace.
  • Tunnelling, where DIECI telehandlers fulfil multiple roles, actively supporting the various stages of tunnel construction, such as outfitting them with electrical and ventilation systems.

Underpinned by the company’s customer focus, investment in technology and research into materials, DIECI has created a broad and comprehensive range suited to any environment and capable of guaranteeing maximum performance, even under particularly harsh working conditions.

Why the Samson 45.8

The Samson line comprises safe and easy-to-handle vehicles suitable for heavy loads and intense jobs, thanks to their high lifting capacity.

Some of their main safety features include:

  • ROPS-FOPS approved cab, which protects against overturning and falling objects or materials
  • hydrostatic transmission with variable displacement pump
  • optimised air flow
  • inhibited movements in the event of overload

Among the key features that persuaded Petra Diamonds to choose three Samson 45.8 vehicles are:

  • ease of maintenance, thanks to an intuitive system and innovative technology that enables all indicator lights to be checked at a glance
  • low running costs and mechanical diesel injection system
  • 4500 kg lifting capacity
  • 8-metre boom
  • 500-hour maintenance intervals
  • extensive range of available equipment

However, the biggest factor that convinced the company to choose the Samson 45.8 was safety, specifically the vehicle’s full compliance with current regulations. This telehandler provides an array of specific features and accessories focusing on operator protection and comfort, such as:

  • hydraulic fail-safe brakes
  • LED work lights, side lights and running lights
  • protective grilles for windows and lights
  • pressure gauge for the braking system
  • exhaust purifier for dust and fumes
  • battery isolator
  • dash-mounted emergency stop button
  • Operator Presence Control (OPC) on the joystick and seat
  • speed limiter
  • automatic handbrake applied when engine is shut off
  • centralised automatic lubrication system
  • fire extinguishing system
  • solid foam-filled tyres in anti-puncture polyurethane

The three telehandlers were delivered with various accessories—including forks and baskets, which will boost their versatility and efficiency inside the mine—to meet every possible need from material transport to system maintenance, as well as tunnel outfitting and debris removal.

Africa’s diamond mines

The mine where the three Samson 45.8s are working became famous at the beginning of the 20th century for the discovery of the largest rough diamond ever found, weighing 3106.75 carats. That diamond, nicknamed Cullinan in honour of the mine owner, was exhibited in Johannesburg for years, until it was sold and donated to King Edward VII. Cullinan was cut into 9 large stones and 96 minor brilliants. The largest stone, known as the Great Star of Africa, is now part of the priceless British Crown Jewels, along with the other eight major stones. Acquired in 2008 by Petra Diamonds, Premier Mine has produced numerous stones weighing over 400 carats down the years. But that’s not all. It is also the world’s only significant source of very rare blue diamonds. The mine’s operational plan will continue at least until 2030, thanks in part to the trusty support of the three DIECI telehandlers, which are shining in the search for new stars of Africa.