Expressing a positive outlook for the African mining industry in 2022, Condra Cranes MD Marc Kleiner, says the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has the potential for better resource development.
The Gauteng-based company is a supplier of cranes and hoists to the DRC, and Kleiner notes that the company is “very positive going into 2022, as Africa remains a good market and has good prospects”.
Condra Cranes originally established its footprint in Zambia before expanding into the DRC.
There is significant opportunity for the DRC to grow by developing its resources, he notes, adding that “the country could probably better develop its own resources, and maybe add more value going forward. Time will tell how much they invest in their own infrastructure”.
Among the mining activities in the DRC, both copper plate and copper concentrate are being produced, although concentrate production is in decline because of local export tariffs. The DRC government is incentivising adding value within the country rather than exporting the mineral for others to make the plate, he says.
“The DRC is mining ore and shipping concentrate, and while metals concentrate is not that popular anymore, plates are being shipped.”
Condra Cranes supplies parts to and has a maintenance agreement with several mines in the DRC. The company supplies overhead cranes to tankhouse leaching plants for copper mines in the southeast of the country, as well as overhead service and maintenance cranes for plants and workshops at a gold mine in the north.
Designed to work on leach plates, the tankhouse cranes work at higher cycle times and speeds, whereas workshop cranes carry heavier loads. The overhead cranes lift and position plates and slabs during the electrolytic refining process.
“We are busy with a batch of additional spares for the maintenance of the cranes. It is essential to keep these machines running, given that the copper price has been trading at [about] $9 500/t. So, it is lucrative for the mines to maximise productivity. For that they need overhead cranes and, being a supplier within the southern part of the continent, we can supply parts quicker than companies from Europe.”
While the company produces its products and machines in South Africa, Kleiner explains that products and spares can be delivered to the DRC within 48 hours if needed.
“We have a good response time in terms of service and parts”, which benefits Condra Crane’s clients in the DRC, as they have more uptime and, therefore, better production rates.
However, he explains that delivering Condra Cranes products to the DRC can prove challenging because of customs delays at border crossings, as well as the road infrastructure that often cannot support abnormal-load vehicles, ultimately creating additional costs for product delivery.
While the company has no plans as yet to expand to the DRC, it does aim to expand its footprint within the Southern Africa mining industries.
“We are seeking to increase our growth, looking at the rest of Africa on our doorstep”, concludes Kleiner.