Opencast mining and underground solutions, and materials handling equipment supplier Tenova Takraf is tendering and negotiating for a contract to supply materials handling machinery and services to a major coal project in Mozambique.
Tenova Takraf Africa MD Riccardo Tonini tells Mining Weekly that there is potential for further work at Brazilian major mining group Vale’s flagship Moatize project after the successful completion of Phase 1 in the fourth quarter of 2011, for which it designed and supplied a rapid load-out station.
“Negotiations for Phase 2 are ongoing,” he notes.
Mining Weekly reported in March that Vale was slowing down the development of Phase 2 of its 11-million-ton-a-year coal mining project, in Tete province. This was to ensure that Phase 2 came into operation in conjunction with the commissioning of the company’s new Nacala Corridor rail route, which would transport coal from the mine to the coast for export. This was revealed in the group’s financial results report for 2012.
Moatize Phase 1’s tonnage is divided into about 70% metallurgical or coking coal and 30% thermal coal. Phase 2 will double the tonnages while retaining the same ratio of coal types, which will involve duplication of the mine’s coal handling processing plant and related infrastructure.
Civil engineering works for the stockpile area and the crusher for Phase 2 are in progress. To date, 27% of the expansion project’s physical infrastructure has been completed.
The production ramp-up at Moatize gave Vale a record coal production last year. Apart from Moatize, Vale also owns combined metallurgical and thermal operations in Australia and has minority participations (25% in each case) in two metallurgical coal companies in China. Moatize is Vale’s biggest coal project.
Tenova Takraf – previously Bateman Engineered Technologies – was awarded the tender for Phase 1 of the project in 2010, in which it supplied the train load-out station at the project.
“Tenova Takraf has established exper- tise in developing load-out station capabilities, which contributed to our winning the bid for the Phase 1 tender,” notes Tonini.
He points out that train loading stations are a specialised part of the materials handling industry. “The turnaround time for a train is crucial, requiring it to be loaded quickly and accurately – distribution of material in each wagon has to be accurate, otherwise damage to rail infrastructure could occur.
Further, Tonini highlights that Tenova Takraf is providing a total solution for State-owned power utility Eskom’s Kusile materials handling contract.
Tenova Takraf tendered for this project in 2008 and received allocation in November 2010. The project comprises three packages – the stockyard materials handling system, the terrace materials handling system and the limestone materials handling systems, which include 79 conveyors, totalling a distance of over 16 km, and the installation of 13 machines consisting of stackers, reclaimers and feeders for the coal and limestone stockyard packages.
“It is a huge lump-sum turnkey project for us and showcases our technology and project offering. It is also the largest project that Tenova Takraf Africa has been awarded,” says Tonini.
State of Industry
The local materials handling market is not living up to its full potential, with a lack of new projects being rolled out, states Tonini, adding that many current projects are either refurbishments or smaller types of expansions.
He adds that the local market is changing, as the financing model of mining projects has changed, with political influence and labour unrest affecting local investment, while the rest of Africa is booming with international investment capitalising on increased opportunities to develop projects in mineral-rich countries right up to north Africa.
“Fifteen to twenty years ago, South Africa was the conduit into the rest of Africa. However, African countries are finding other ways of importing goods and services into their countries, such as building their own ports and harbours, and are becoming more stable from a commercial perspective, rendering reliance on South African avenues unnecessary,” Tonini points out.
This provides both a challenge and an opportunity for South African companies, he states, adding that it is driving Tenova Takraf’s focus on expanding into Africa more aggressively. The company has a strong record in sub-Saharan Africa, with projects completed in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia, amongst others.
“We are comfortable operating in those areas, and also see opportunities in North Africa; therefore, the latter is an area where we aim to establish a stronger presence through the use of local established contractors.”
With more than one year since the antitrust approval of the purchase of Bateman by Italian company Tenova, which resulted in the establishment of Tenova Mining & Minerals in April 2013, the group is seeing the benefits of the synergies between its wholly owned industry brand leaders – Tenova Bateman, Tenova Takraf, Tenova Bateman Technologies, Tenova Delkor and Tenova Pyromet.
Tenova Mining & Minerals president Walter Küng told Mining Weekly in Septem- ber 2012 that Tenova Mining & Minerals had the broadest mining value chain offering of all comparable companies worldwide.
“Bateman has given Tenova Mining & Minerals the opportunity to be a strong presence in South Africa and a supplier along the complete value chain, from geological and mine developments to building downstream processing facilities. The company also brings extensive experience and expertise to the undertaking of mining projects in Africa.
“Tenova Mining & Minerals gives Bateman a wider market presence globally, with Tenova’s first aim being to use Bateman’s know-how in South America, North America and Australia, and to expand into Africa in the longer term,” he said.
Küng added that its head office in Greenstone Hill, Johannesburg, means it is well placed to support its network of international offices and service the rest of Africa.
With more than 2 400 employees, Tenova Mining & Minerals has operating companies on five continents. The group combines various sources of equipment supply, as well as engineering and project management services, for the production of the full range of minerals and metals, he said.
Küng noted that the decision to acquire Bateman was supported by a study carried out by research and consulting group McKinsey & Company, which Tenova commissioned, to identify the ideal direction to facilitate the company’s future growth.
“Traditionally, Tenova has focused on the supply of technologies and equipment to the steel industry. However, in recent years, the company has been advancing steadily into the field of mining services, firstly through the acquisition of openpit mining equipment supplier Takraf, followed by the acquisition of pyrometallurgy com- pany Pyromet in 2007/2008.
“This was followed by the acquisition of Bateman, which included engineering and engineering, procurement and construction management services provider Bateman Engineering, bulk materials and specialised equipment supply specialist Bateman Engineered Technologies and minerals processing and solid/liquid separation equipment designer and manufacturer Delkor,” he explained.
Küng added that the McKinsey report recommended that Tenova acquire a mining consultancy and/or an engineering, procurement and construction management firm to diversify from its core competence of iron and steel. This was intended to make the company less vulnerable to the cyclical nature of the steel industry.