An Australian-designed low-profile feeder (LPF) comprising about 50% local content has been successfully delivered to a mine on the Zambian Copperbelt, with advanced discussions on the further supply of such units under way with various clients.
The LPF is the first to be produced by Australia-headquartered bulk materials handling equipment supplier Transmin in South Africa. Traditionally, the company fabricated its equipment in Western Australia and then shipped it to mines worldwide, with equipment and plants also having been supplied to projects in Africa.
Following ongoing interactions with African clients, the company identified the need to reduce fabrication costs and lead times and introduce local content to the equipment it supplies to mines on the continent. Clients are also keen to have a source of supply closer to their home base to reduce shipping times.
“The need for increased local content is particularly true in South Africa, which is one of Transmin’s key markets, owing to the requirements of the country’s Mining Charter III,” says Transmin official African distributor Carmaky COO Miguel Dos Santos.
He adds that significant time has been spent on identifying and assessing various companies in South Africa to be part of Transmin’s localisation process. “The assessment process is ongoing and reviews of performance are conducted at the close-out of each project,” Dos Santos explains, noting that Transmin is also looking to fabricate its isolation gates and mill ball addition machines locally.
However, as the Zambian contract was the first attempt at introducing local content to the Transmin LPF, the focus was on ensuring that quality standards and delivery goals, rather than cost-reduction targets, were met.
“The Zambian project is still being reviewed by the engineering and project teams, but it is likely that this particular unit did not benefit significantly from a cost perspective,” Dos Santos admits.
However, opportunities have been identified and Transmin is looking to leverage these to improve the cost effectiveness of future local fabrication.
Completed in the fourth quarter of 2018, the Zambian order comprised fabrication at a facility in Meyerton and assembly in Jet Park, both in Gauteng, over nine weeks. The largest component of the 41 t unit to be fabricated locally was the LPF frame. The unit has a 2 100 mm belt width and is designed for a nominal feed rate of 2 000 t/h with a P80 of 177 mm. The unit comes fitted with an automatic lubrication system and has a rail system to facilitate its removal when required.
Shipping of the feeder to Zambia was arranged by the client. Originally, the unit was to be transported in two sections and reassembled on site. It was, however, subsequently proposed that the unit be shipped as one piece to save time on site and shipping costs.
Transmin and Carmaky continue to look for opportunities to increase the local content of the LPF. However, the companies advise that, as Transmin equipment is trusted by the largest mining companies in the world for its reliability, robust nature and high levels of availability, throughput and safety, the identification of companies with the necessary capacity, skills and systems to deliver these expectations is a key challenge.