Solutions provider Buraaq Mining Services is working towards rebuilding mining equipment and tailoring its product offering for the South African market.
This forms part of the company’s role in aiding the Mining Equipment Manufacturers of South Africa (MEMSA) in assistimg the Mandela Mining Precinct in realising its vision to revitalise the local mining sector, says Buraaq CEO SAM Kader.
Buraaq Mining Services delivers optimum maintenance services on all original-equipment-manufactured (OEM) machines and specialises in contract mining.
The company offers optimisation rebuild, modification, repair and fabrication services, as well as operator training and specialised technical skills development.
The company is a member of MEMSA, which forms part of the Mandela Mining Precinct. The industrial cluster aims to increase local supply chains of capital equipment for the mining industry.
Buraaq benefited from membership, which has facilitated industry networking opportunities.
“Being a member of MEMSA keeps us in the loop on the latest developments taking place in the sector,” Kader adds.
The company would also like to export to markets in other African States soon.
“From a mining perspective, Mining Charter III provides for several inroads into smaller companies such as Buraaq and other new players. “It opens us up to a much more level playing field, as mines are now required to procure the services of local manufacturers.”
The company, whose services range from mining and construction equipment rentals to frame repairs and fabrication, is working towards producing products comprising local content sourced from only local components. These components would not be linked to exchange rates, which would, in turn, assist mining companies in reducing their costs and increase productivity.
Kader points out that, as part of Buraaq’s long-term goals, the company will launch a new product locally in the early part of 2020. The product will also be supplied to the rest of the continent, where it is considering the implementation of battery power in its new designs going forward.
Owing to resistance to major technological advancements in the sector, Buraaq will, for now, follow a more staggered approach to new technology introductions.
“We would also like to look into automation, but whether South Africa is ready for automation always comes up,” he acknowledges.
He points out that, owing to the lack of skills in the country, which is exacerbated by an exodus of skilled repair and refurbishment professionals, the South African mining industry requires simple mining contractor machines.
“We do not want to bring in equipment that is too high-tech and that cannot be repaired locally.”
Buraaq provides equipment refurbishments such as load, haul and dump – or LHD – trucks, drill rigs and other underground trackless machines “at a fraction of the cost”, compared to those offered by OEMs by “not overstating the markup of their equipment”, says Kader.
He adds that the company has been overwhelmed by the positive responses from mining majors, such as Sibanye-Stillwater, Anglo American and Harmony Gold, following its successful project work.
“Our staff know exactly what makes this industry tick. When we are contracted to a certain job, we do not like to take shortcuts. In as much as we are a small player, because of our extensive knowledge and experience, all clients receive the quality on the level of an OEM,” Kader enthuses.
The local manufacturing industry is dominated by the bigger players in the market and, according to Kader, it has since become a bit more cut-throat, where cost is a notable concern for mines.
He further explains that Buraaq presents solutions that can assist mining companies in saving costs, while emphasising the importance of quality and good service delivery.
“I am very positive about the industry and the new players on the block. However, the challenge will always be with new players who do not have the experience in certain [areas]. The end-user will always use that as an excuse to go back to using OEMs.”
Buraaq launched its maiden apprenticeship training programme in March as part of its continual efforts to track and uplift the correct skills currently required in the mining sector.
The Buraaq team, with its extensive industry knowledge, aims to ensure that people benefit from the company’s knowledge of industry skills.
“Our first apprentice is receiving training here at Buraaq’s centre, in Boksburg, as part of a four-year programme to eventually become a qualified electrician. “Going forward, we would also like to expand our training ground at the company. As our income stream grows, we will take in more apprentices.”
The idea is to eventually absorb them into the company to retain those skills. The company also aims to train for the broader mining industry, says Kader.
Passionate about giving to the communities in which the company works, Buraaq is also affiliated to charitable foundations, ranging from orphanages and other community needs programmes, such as Gift of the Givers and Reach for a Dream.
“We pledge a percentage of our profits to charity and to develop the communities in which we work. The income Buraaq generates does not necessarily warrant the amount of money that we spend in a certain community. As long as there is a need, we will assist where we can,” he concludes.