Screening and vibrating equipment solutions and services provider Aury Africa is planning to expand its operations into the platinum group metals (PGMs) market this year with the introduction of radio-frequency identification (RFID) audit and inspection solutions.
Aury Africa regards the local PGMs sector as a significant growth area, for which it will develop and review its strategy to become a more significant player in the sector.
Despite Aury Africa’s initial focus on the coal mining industry after being established in 2010, the company has identified opportunities for serving the local PGMs sector, owing to the presence of South Africa’s Bushveld Complex, which contains about 80% of the world’s PGMs-bearing ore.
“PGMs producers require high-quality screening and vibrating equipment solutions, supported by rapid turnaround times and expert technical backup, which is where Aury Africa stands to play a key role. We look forward to taking up all the opportunities that arise in the sector throughout 2019,” says Aury Africa MD Sydney Parkhouse.
The company hopes to use its signature range of products and services, such as vibrating screens; screening media and inspection, installation and maintenance services to capitalise on opportunities in the PGMs market this year.
The RFID audit and inspection solution was formally introduced by Aury Africa during the last quarter of 2018, in conjunction with its technical partner, customised enterprise mobility solutions provider Thembekile Asset Management Solutions.
The RFID audit and inspection solution enables PGMs and other mining companies to inspect plant equipment, mining machines, pumps, valves and pipes. Parkhouse maintains that most equipment requiring frequent inspection and maintenance would benefit from this technology.
“We believe that information management has been taken to the next level through the use of RFID real-time reporting. This technology is a perfect fit for the plants of the future, where information technology is an integral part of operations. “The RFID cloud software enables companies to develop an asset register of its equipment, capture standard specifications for asset categories, view the dates and times of inspections, and even monitor who undertook them.”
This technology also allows for effective asset and regulatory reporting, and will serve as a supplementary measure for inspection, installation and maintenance teams by providing accurate information when they are active in the field.
“We are in discussions with players in the PGMs sector about introducing our solutions to their operations. We can confirm that there is interest from PGMs miners in our high-quality screening systems, new screening media and the introduction of RFID technology for asset management,” states Parkhouse.
Moreover, Parkhouse emphasises how substantial changes in the sector, owing to the planned closure of deep conventional platinum and palladium mines, have resulted in a need for lower-cost, mechanised deposit opportunities. For example, Impala Platinum’s announcement in September last year of its 15% interest investment in the Waterberg PGMs project being part of its strategy to use lower-cost, shallow, mechanised products creates an important demand for service providers with the technology to meet the needs of more mechanised PGMs plants.
In terms of significant PGMs markets for this year, Parkhouse emphasises the continued presence of the automotive industry, as well as the continued growth in the jewellery industry.
The company aims to include the introduction of its Continuous Slot (CS) screen panel to the PGMs market, owing to the suitability of the product for vibrating screens and feeders used in PGMs mining projects.
“The 305 mm x 305 mm CS panels are suitable for a wide range of applications on vibrating screens and feeders, are easy to install and offer increased wear life for enhanced productivity. Various aperture sizes are available for specific requirements,” states Parkhouse.
Aury Africa also plans to progress the company to a fully compliant Level 2 broad-based black economic-empowerment (BBBEE) contributor with mining solutions and consulting specialist Nkomose Consulting Engineers & Projects. The company’s expertise includes mining engineering, project management and consulting, exploration drilling and contract mining, besides others.
The BBBEE deal aims to align Aury Africa with the requirements of the Mining Charter to be a majority black-owned mining equipment and service provider. The deal will see Nkomose hold a 51% stake in Aury, with parent company Dadi Engineering Development Group (Dadi) retaining a 49% stake.
Nkomose group executive director Mduduzi Magubane highlights that the BBBEE deal represents a significant opportunity. “We are delighted to be able to enter into this agreement with Aury Africa, and believe it stands to benefit both stakeholders, in addition to furthering transformation in the South African mining industry.”
Parkhouse states that the company is partnering with key players in the processing industry and will eventually represent parent company Dadi in South Africa to provide a wider range of high-quality products and services for the local mining sector, including the PGMs market.