The contract mining and outsourcing industry is becoming increasingly ruthless as big construction companies compete with smaller companies for contracts, says mining, construction and general plant hire company West Rand Plant Hire (WRPH).
WRPH assistant plant manager Riaan Botes notes that construction majors, such as WBHO and Group Five, have been retrenching employees because there is not enough work.
“These majors are now playing in the smaller companies’ field as there are currently not many big contracts available,” he says, noting that this has resulted in smaller companies not being able to compete in the market.
However, Botes says that WRPH has been able to survive, as most of its clients are loyal, having formed a working relationship of trust with the company over the years.
WRPH offers services such as bulk earthmoving, plant hire, surface mining and the provision of tailings dams, as well as the rehabilitation of gold sites and mine dumps, says Botes.
“Bulk earthmoving is the main service that our clients ask for – be it the clearing of blasting fields from overburden and building materials or the removal of stockpiles. “Our services for surface mining are also very popular.”
The company preassesses all its jobs, which entails visiting the site to determine what equipment and resources will be needed.
“We then explain to the client what would realistically be needed. For instance. if the project is long-term, we might decide to buy new machines to ensure that we can render a quality service,” says Botes.
He adds that WRPH makes an effort to phase out older machines and replace them with new ones – from suppliers such as mining and construction equipment suppliers Bell Equipment, Komatsu and Cat – to provide the client with the newest technology available.
Botes further tells Mining Weekly that health and safety is crucial for the survival of the contract mining and outsourcing sector.
“Working safely and having healthy employees ensure that we have minimal downtime at our projects.”
He says that, as contractors, WRPH works in accordance with the Health and Safety Act because most mining companies require it.
“The Act requires operators to be well trained and competent, with the necessary accreditation to operate the equipment that the company uses.
“Most of our clients require us to have all this in place before they can contract us,” he concludes.