This year marks 60 years since global engineering and technology corporation Metso’s factory in Vereeniging was established.
The factory became part of the Metso group in 1970 and has played “a crucial role” not only in the South African but also African mining industry.
Speaking during a facility tour to mark the facility’s diamond jubilee, earlier this month, Metso Southern Africa sales and service VP Qasim Abrahams said that, despite the challenges of increased cheap imports into the local market, the facility highlighted the opportunities that existed for local production and distribution to the region’s mineral resources sector.
Metso’s Vereeniging workforce currently stands at about 290 people, noted Abrahams, adding that the employees have a considerable skills pool, including in machining, fabrication, assembly, rubber moulding and rubber lining.
The company’s total South African workforce is about 800 employees.
“I think it’s true to say that we count within our customer base literally each and every major mining house in Southern Africa, [including] significant operators in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” he stated.
The crushers and mill liners supplied and serviced by the Vereeniging facility are used primarily for the production of copper, gold, platinum and coal. Its prime markets are situated in Africa, while the US, Australia and India are also major markets.
Abrahams pointed out that 10% of the company’s global sales stemmed from Africa and the Middle East, which equated to about R4-billion.
The 12.9 ha facility produces slurry pumps and mill linings for the mining industry. The operations also provide crusher and screen repairs and spare parts for the mining and aggregates industries.
Moreover, it also comprises a distribution centre for minerals service and pump products. The operations are ISO 9001:2015- certified.
Additionally, Abrahams told Mining Weekly that Metso was strengthening its operations in South Africa, with the company investing €3.5-million in local crusher wear parts manufacturing by renovating a second melting furnace at the Isithebe foundry, in KwaZulu-Natal, to meet growing demand from the mining industry for such components.
The investment is aimed at improving quality to enable large crusher wear parts castings and ensure the availability of Metso’s heavy crusher wear parts globally.