Designer, manufacturer, distributor and servicer of engines and related technologies Cummins Botswana is confident of the potential for measurable growth in the local mining sector, following the establishment of the $3-billion Cut-8 extension at mining company Debswana Diamond Company’s Jwaneng openpit diamond mine in 2010.
Cummins Botswana will supply a significant amount of equipment through its original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) delivery partners.
Currently, there are 20 Komatsu 930E powertrain haul trucks, supplied by Cummins, operating at the mine, with an additional ten to be delivered during the course of 2013.
The company, based in Gaborone, says the Jwaneng Cut-8 project represents the single largest private investment in the history of Botswana. It is also the largest by value in the world, set to unearth diamonds worth an estimated $15-billion.
The Jwaneng diamond mine is jointly owned by diamond company De Beers and the Botswana government, with each party investing half of the required R25-billion over the next 11 years in the mine. It would otherwise have run out of ore by 2017.
In 2010, Debswana-Jwaneng GM Balisi Bonyongo told Mining Weekly that the project would extend the mine’s life to 2024 and yield 102-million carats in the process.
Mining Weekly also reported that Debswana mining manager for the Cut-8 project James Kirby described Jwaneng as “the most valuable piece of diamond real estate on earth”, stating that there was “nothing else like it on the planet”.
Cummins Botswana area manager Frederick van Ryneveld says the scale of the Cut-8 extension project has catapulted Jwaneng to ‘super-pit’ status, as the depth of the mine will increase from 330 m to 624 m by 2017.
The mine, with its 2 000 employees and production of 13-million to 15-million carats a year, is a crucial contributor to the economy of Botswana.
In total, more than 700-million tons of waste earth is expected to be moved to reach the kimberlite deposit, says Van Ryneveld.
He notes that the company is also considering the expansion of its geographical footprint by setting up an additional satellite branch closer to the expansion project, which is located about 160 km from Gaborone.
“By establishing a permanent presence closer to the project, we can ensure faster turnaround times by dealing with any challenges related to the engines swiftly and effectively. This should be in place by the end of the first quarter of this year,” he says.
With an estimated contribution of 30% to Botswana’s national gross domestic product, mining is recognised as the lifeblood of the country’s economy. Van Ryneveld notes Cummins Botswana’s long-term commitment to the local industry.
“Mining plays a vital role in the country’s prosperity and the same is true for Cummins Botswana, which generates more than 80% of its revenue from this sector.
“I am confident that Cummins Botswana will experience measurable growth going forward, particularly within the diamond mining industry,” he says.
Van Ryneveld notes that the 50 ℓ, 16-cylinder Cummins K2000E mechanically operated engine has been used in the Botswana mining industry for several years. It houses robust and reliable fuel systems and electronic controls, which makes it suited to power all types of earthmoving equipment in the most challenging mining applications in the country.
He does, however, point out that the Cummins range of new-generation QSK- series and QSL-series model engines has gained popularity in the country’s mining sector for powering dump trucks and front-end loaders.
“I believe that this range has the greatest potential for growth, as a result of the establishment of the Cut-8 project. I also believe that this project will bring substantial growth to the industry as a whole,” Van Ryneveld notes.