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Laboratory solutions provider expands despite commodity price slump

NEW BLENDER Tramecon acquired a new 1 t blender enabling it to process larger amounts of reference material batches

BOOSTING SERVICE Tramecon embarked on three main expansion programmes – the acquisition of a larger warehouse, the commissioning of additional equipment and the employment of two more analytical scientists to increase and enhance its laboratory capability

27th November 2015

By: Donna Slater

Features Deputy Editor and Chief Photographer

  

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Laboratory solutions provider Tramecon is extending its service offering and warehouse capacity, in line with increased demand from the mining industry and despite the current industry slump brought on by the downturn in commodity prices.

The company embarked on three main expansion programmes in July – the acquisition of a larger warehouse, the commissioning of additional equipment and the employment of two more analytical scientists to increase and enhance its laboratory capability.

The company’s new 400 m2 warehouse in Kya Sands, Gauteng, is double the size of its previous facility; this has enabled Tramecon to acquire a 1 t blender, which is currently being commissioned.

Tramecon MD Hannelie de Beer tells Mining Weekly that the new blende rallows the company to process larger amounts of reference material batches for mining clients.

She says participation in Tramecon subsidiary Qotho Laboratory Services’ proficiency testing (PT) schemes is improving with every round of the process and, coupled with greater demand for preparation and reference materials, has prompted Tramecon to acquire the larger blender.

Qotho is also extending its reference materials offering to meet the growing demand for laboratory services in South Africa.

De Beer explains that, of late, clients are requiring laboratories to focus more on quality and, in doing so, demand for products and services from Tramecon and Qotho has increased, with Qotho’s core business being to assist with quality improvements.

To improve quality management, Qotho will be applying to the South African National Accreditation System for accreditation to the International Organisation of Standardisation (ISO) for ISO 17043:2010. This standard specifies the general requirements for the competence of pro- ficiency-testing scheme providers, as well as the development and operation of such schemes.

De Beer notes that the process of obtaining the accreditation, is progressing “very well”, but the application and granting of the standard are taking longer than expected. Nevertheless, accreditation is expected during the first half of 2016.

Through Qotho, Tramecon also aims to expand its reference material business in 2016 by launching new products and embedding itself in the analytical services market.

It will also focus on furthering the global expansion of its PT schemes to attract all those involved in the commodity value chain, from explorer to end-user.

Meanwhile, in terms of the development and retention of laboratory and analytical skills, De Beer tells Mining Weekly that analytical techniques are increasingly becoming “equipment driven”, thereby retarding the process of removing human intervention and, in turn, decreasing the expertise of skilled technicians.

“There is less of an understanding of fundamental scientific and chemical principles among laboratory staff.”

This is where Tramecon can play a key role, says De Beer, adding that the company can assist clients in identifying and eliminating the root causes of problems associated with the quality of labo- ratory data.

Edited by Tracy Hancock
Creamer Media Contributing Editor

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