KUKA Mining Logistics – Industrial Aerial Ropeways

Kuku Mining Logistics is a specialist developer of Industrial Aerial Ropeways for the transport of ore. It focuses on areas that are difficult to access without decent road/rail infrastructure in Africa, Australasia, Asia and South America.

Since the company’s inception in 2003, KUKA has accumulated significant intellectual property through its internal professional team whose expertise is continually enhanced by exposure to mining and industrial projects worldwide. The company has developed a highly skilled team of South African engineering companies, and entered into a technical agreement with Leitner, one of the leading ropeway companies in the world with 150 years’ experience. Leitner acts as system integrator and supplies the critical components.

“Meeting client needs with superior materials handling system solutions has placed KUKA at the forefront of the development of material ropeways as utility assets for a range of mining clients. KUKA offers the full spectrum of activities from planning and basic design, through detailed engineering design, contractors’ activities, procurement and commissioning, project financing and risk insurance, ending with project delivery, operations and maintenance,” says Louis van der Walt, Managing Director.

Described as a revival of an old logistics concept tailor-made for new mines developed in remote and difficult accessible terrain, Industrial Aerial Ropeways is normally the most efficient form of mining product transportation.


In most countries the mining industry has sought to complement the existing rail capacity, with the introduction of a substantial number of articulated tipper trucks in order to transport mined ore and coal from the mines to plants and ports. Unfortunately this has led to a number of unintentional consequences, including alarming degradation in the quality of available road infrastructure, with substantial damage being done to the roads on an ongoing basis; ongoing negative environmental impact manifested primarily as noise and dust pollution and heightened emissions; and high cost to build heavy-duty roads from new mines in remote areas to processing plants or ports.

In comparison, rope technology possesses the advantage of being:

  • Adaptable: Traversing prohibitive or mountainous areas; Long distance (100km+); High freight rates (800tph+)
  • Robust and Durable: Low life cycle cost; Operate > 50 years
  • Simple: Very high availability; relative low operating cost
  • Environmentally sustainable: small footprint; energy efficient; no noise; no emissions
  • The ideal mode of transport: Provide competitive interface to rail networks; ideally suited for remote areas and difficult terrain.

KUKA has completed numerous small ropeway projects and feasibility studies for a number of large ropeway projects in Africa and South America. KUKA should start with the construction of a 16km long ropeway in Steelpoort Valley during the second half of 2016.

For more information, contact Kuka Mining Logistics.

Originally published in the 2017 edition Mpumalanga Business