Mega Sabeka Residue Storage Facility

The KZN Sands mining operation is located at Empangeni KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. The Fairbreeze mine, situated in Mtunzini and Central Processing Plant in Empangeni combine to form this operation.

The Fairbreeze Mine uses hydraulic mining techniques to mine slurry that is later transported to the primary wet plant at the mine to produce a heavy mineral concentrate (HMC). The HMC is then transported to the Empangeni Smelter Complex for mineral separation followed by beneficiation processes to produce zircon, rutile and ilmenite. Ilmenite is later reduced into high titania slag and low manganese pig iron after it is fed into two 36 MW furnaces at the mineral separation plant.

The Mega Sabeka Residue Storage Facility (MSRSF) sand walls are the main containment measure for fine tailings deposited in this facility and as such it is of paramount importance that the phreatic levels within the sand wall and pore pressure within their underlying foundation be closely monitored to verify the seepage flow, pore pressure regimes and associated stabilities.

Project Summary

  • Name
  • Mega Sabeka Residue Storage Facility
  • Location
  • South Africa
  • Date
  • 2021
  • Client
  • Tronox Fairbreeze Mine
  • Contractor
  • Fairbreeze Mine
  • Instrumentation Specialist
  • Terra Monitoring
  • Consultant
  • SRK Consultants


Seven instrumentation lines that each consist of two vibrating wire piezometers and one five channel node were installed to monitor porewater pressure. The nodes transmit data by long range radio to a single Gateway.

The data is accessible remotely and can be accessed and downloaded by the engineers through the WI-SOS 480 Web centre.

Due to the size and topography of the mine site, the Geosense WI-SOS 480 wireless observation system is an excellent match allowing the installation engineers to confidently install the network without the risk of transmission issues between sensor locations and the Gateway.