Engineering solutions provider Bearing Man Group (BMG) Namibia says its focus this year is on growing the Namibian mining industry through its integrated solutions.
The company has had a presence in the country since 1996 and currently employs about 40 locals at its branches in Windhoek, Swakopmund and Oranjemund.
An example of the integrated solutions that the company offers the mining industry is its involvement in retrofitting a dense media separation (DMS) plant and in plant expansion at the Okorusu fluorspar mine, situated on the edge of an extinct volcano 60 km north-west of Otjiwarongo, Namibia.
“BMG’s scope of work on the project involved the mechanical design and supply of 15 conveyors, with a total length of almost 2 000 m. What made this project unique was that we supplied all the conveyor equipment, including idlers, head and tail pulleys, complete with bearing and plummer blocks, as well as the geared drives and conveyor belt, from our own product range.
“Our design team designed the mechanical requirement of the drives from basic principles, selected drives from our international Nord range of gearboxes, fitted BMG’s electrical motors on to them and supplied a full drive solution,” says BMG Namibia manager of operations Cilliers van Wyk.
The supplied equipment had an estimated value of R6-million and the project was completed and commissioned in June last year.
“This is typically the size of the projects we handle. We also work on bigger projects, which are closely monitored by our project team in South Africa,” says Van Wyk.
He notes that the company offers a vendor- managed inventory system, where BMG stores and manages the mines’ stock on site.
“We hope to continually develop this service offering and, hopefully, will supply all Namibian mines in the future. It gives the customer the luxury of not having to commit capital to buy spares,” Van Wyk says.
All the commissioning spares for the Okorusu expansion project are now stored at the company’s Windhoek branch, two hours from the project site.
“BMG Namibia takes the approach that we own the equipment on that mine; therefore, it should remain our responsibility to ensure that the equipment indeed delivers on the designed capacities,” says Van Wyk.
He explains that the main challenge of the Okorusu expansion project was the difficult terrain, as the project is situated on top of a mountain. Access was, therefore, limited, except when special four-by-four vehicles were used.
“The challenges of working in Namibia, in general, include the presence of only a few customers in a big country, which entails driving over great distances, and competition from South African and other multinational companies. BMG Namibia employs locals and focuses on training them using the training programme of our international partner, BMG SA,” he states.
Van Wyk notes that the future of the Nami- bian mining industry is looking positive, with increased activity in all areas of the country.
“In the area serviced by our Oranjemund branch, there are several upgrade projects and a new mine is opening at Sendelingsdrift. Mining company Glencore is considering the launch of an expansion project at its zinc mine, in Rosh Pinah, and Skorpion Zinc is considering the extension of its current life- of-mine, where we hope to be involved.
“In the Swakopmund area, uranium mining company Husab Uranium is on the brink of opening a new mine, which will boost the economy. In the area serviced by our Windhoek branch, copper smelting company Namibia Customs Smelter wants to increase tonnages at its plant in Tsumeb, in northern Namibia.
“There are also new developments: the building of an acid plant and the reopening of the mine at the Tschudi copper deposit, owned by international mining giant Weatherly International,” states Van Wyk, noting that the most exciting development is a new gold mine being opened by Canadian mining company B2Gold.
This, he says, will lead to substantial growth in the mining sector.
“We plan to offer our services to all the new, developing and existing mining companies in the country and hope to see the industry soar to new heights in 2013,” Van Wyk concludes.