The projects completed by specialists Canvas and Tent demonstrated the beneficial use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) for mine-site accommodation, says Canvas and Tent group marketing manager Karen Coetzer.
The company manufactured 65 structures made out of PVC fabric for projects in Madagascar, Botswana and Angola in 2022.
It has been supplying turnkey camps made out of PVC fabric for remote mining operations, including workforce accommodation and on-site mining infrastructure, through its Bushtec Originals brand.
As the world’s “second-largest minerals industry”, the African continent is attractive to mining and exploration companies, which is evident in the increase in demand for mine-site accommodation, says Coetzer.
Increased demand has resulted in the construction period for accommodation having to be as short as possible to ensure that mineworkers are accommodated as soon as possible, while ensuring their safety and the hard-wearing of the accommodation.
The structures are proven, reliable building solutions that endure prolonged use in extreme climates, notes Coetzer, adding that the company also has an insulation system available for any fabric structure to increase interior comfort and energy efficiency in hot or cold climates.
Canvas and Tent offers a large selection of options for its PVC fabric structures, such as different models, sizes and configurations, to meet the on-site requirements of any mining operation.
Consequently, the company engages with mine managers, engineers and principal mine planning engineers to ensure that the modular structures and remote camp systems meet such requirements.
Flexibility is one of the advantages of Canvas and Tent’s PVC fabric structures, as it allows for the dis- and reassembly of accommodation camps, says Coetzer.
This is especially important for mining operations in Africa, as some projects and sociopolitical environments tend to be unpredictable; for example, the security concerns in some Central African countries, the Sahel in the vast semi-arid region of Africa; and the Cabo Delgado province of Mozambique.
Therefore, the ability to establish temporary or semi-permanent accommodation that can be easily relocated if necessary, is ideal.
PVC fabric structures are also cost effective, she adds.
“Temporary or semi-permanent accommodation is often less expensive than permanent accommodation options. This is especially important for mining companies operating in remote locations in Africa where infrastructure is lacking, and the cost of building permanent accommodation can also be prohibitive.”
The PVC fabric structures are also timely, as it takes about four hours to build fully functional accommodation that can house up to eight people in a dormitory style.
Moreover, Canvas and Tent’s accommodation solutions can easily be adjusted, depending on requirements – if an operation requires more workers, more accommodation can rapidly be erected, but it can also be disassembled if required.
Accommodation can range from single rooms with en-suite bathrooms to single rooms in PVC fabric structures with shared ablutions.
Canvas and Tent’s PVC fabric range can also be used and configured for workforce housing; kitchens; dining, medical and maintenance facilities; offices; ablution units; and recreation areas.
The company also offers a hybrid solution which can include flatpacks, containerised solutions and prefab structures.
“Our turnkey solution can accommodate needs as complex as the establishment of a reverse osmosis water-treatment plant. Canvas and Tent also carries out all of the internal and external reticulation such as electricity, water and sewerage systems.”
Mine-site accommodation is crucial, as a large number of artisans and skilled labourers must be housed as close to the operation as possible to ensure that operations run smoothly at all hours of the day, and to safeguard employees, particularly in remote locations, she concludes.