Disagreements over the quality of sand and stone delivered on site may soon be a thing of the past, thanks to the intervention of surface mining industry association Aspasa, whose special task team is moving to formalise standards for the benefit of both producers and customers.

Since the establishment of a special technical committee on quality management, the association has made strides in addressing quality issues internally among its members, as well as assisting in the formulation of new national standards that will be used as a measure of quality among users of sand and aggregates.

According to Saartjie Duvenhage, chairperson of Aspasa’s technical committee on quality management, a number of large strides have already been made to narrow the gap between customer’s expectations and the actual ability of producers to supply the required materials.

Meaningful progress

“First and foremost, we have defined quality and what it means to everyone on the entire supply chain, from extraction, to processing and delivery to the customer’s site. In our case we define this as a product that meets a certain measure of excellence, which is free from deficiencies and significant variations,” said Duvenhage

“To assist our members to achieve this, we have subsequently introduced our own quick guide to quality management. The 123 of Quality Management for Material Producers guide is designed to act as a guideline to quality management and explains the concept with eight steps for members to successfully implement their own systems.

“Included in the guide we walk members through getting buy-in from all levels of staff, determining customer requirements, commissioning of an appropriate laboratory, sampling and testing, reporting, dealing with non-conformances and communication. If members successfully implement the 123 system, they will be well on their way to producing quality products.”

Revising codes

Duvenhage added that the committee would also be assisting in the revision of South African National Standards codes including SANS 1083, as well as the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) revisions of the G-materials guides and the distribution of guidance specification of G-materials.

She said the committee had appointed Barry Pearce to represent Aspasa on a number of relevant technical forums including SABS roads, concrete aggregates and SANS 1083 committees.

“We are working towards introducing mandatory quality audit systems among our members, as well as awarding meritorious achievements among our members. These and other new innovations will also be discussed nationwide as we take our quality solutions to our members further afield across South Africa,” she concluded