The South African Mineral Processing Equipment Cluster (Sampec), which was launched earlier this year, has gotten off to a flying start, says South African Capital Equipment Export Council (SACEEC) MD Sybil Rhomberg.
The cluster, under the auspices of the SACEEC umbrella, aims to help drive government policy and focus for the minerals processing sector, identify opportunities and obtain government’s assistance on packaging deals. Through clustering, the value offering for customers also increases, especially on large projects.
The organisation further aims to develop the minerals processing equipment market, while simultaneously developing the member companies to supply the market.
In addition, Sampec would identify research and development requirements to ensure South Africa remained ahead of the world technology curve, while also working to identify larger contracts, which would allow for control over local content.
Speaking at the Sampec networking event, held at the Electra Mining Africa Exhibition, on Tuesday, minerals processing and industrial mining components company Tega Industries South Africa MD Fernando Monteiro, who is tasked with spearheading Sampec, said the cluster's aim, going forward, will be to get enough momentum and membership within the organisation to form subgroups.
This is expected to resolve some of the key issues, such as labour, skills and localisation, facing the South African minerals processing industry.
Specialist engineering and project management company Roymec Technologies sales and marketing director Hoosen Essack is also championing Sampec.
Monteiro said Sampec wants to find common ground among minerals processing industry stakeholders and have them focus on the issues affecting the industry's efficiencies and effectiveness.
He also highlighted that clustering is about maximising the collective assets and skills of a sector, while maintaining individual intellectual property, cooperating in the value chain, yet still remaining firm competitors.
Rhomberg iterated that, while South Africa does not have the funds to meet the required capital investment to gear each of the individual companies to be global players, she believes it could be achieved for the industry as a whole if the individual companies work together towards the common goal.
She noted that the only way to develop an industry quickly is through clustering, as it creates a platform to interface and link synergies.
A good complement of stakeholders in the minerals processing industry was represented at the meeting and included representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Mineral Resources, the University of Johannesburg, the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction and the Technology Localisation Implementation Unit, which is hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology .