Imports, and not an inability to export, are currently the largest obstruction in the local earthmoving and surface mining capital equipment sector, says South African Capital Equipment Export Council (SACEEC) CEO Eric Bruggeman.
A machine can be imported and then either sold or hired at a cheaper rate than a locally manufactured one, which is detrimental to the local manufacturer, he points out.
“We need to enforce that mines and operations buy local through a locally manufactured minimum-content prescription to level the playing field.”
Bruggeman adds that this will not only bolster the local economy but also help local companies, particularly mines, to comply with the regulations pertaining to local content in Mining Charter III.
Although the council’s main function is to facilitate the export of South African commodities, this requires a strong economy and manufacturing capability first, he tells Mining Weekly.
“We do have great manufacturing ability and offer world-class products – we just need to enable our manufacturers through due process,” he insists.
SACEEC is working with Mining Equipment Manufacturers of South Africa and the Mandela Mining Precinct to help enforce the 60% local-content requirement for buyers as stipulated by Mining Charter III. The correct supply chain within the earthmoving and surface mining equipment sector will empower South African manufacturers – through creating more demand for locally manufactured machines – and, subsequently, help lift the market.
Bruggeman adds that many companies are starting to adhere to local-content manufacture stipulations and are being audited yearly, but more awareness of the value in local validation needs to be created among companies.
He asserts that, through the effective implementation of the charter, a market will be created for local supply. Subsequently, manufacturers will need to take up the opportunity to manufacture en masse, thus bringing down the cost of manufacture, and, in doing so, allow local manufacturers to compete with the imported products.
SACEEC was involved in the planning and hosting of the inaugural Local Southern African Manufacturing Expo (LME) – held in May – which presented manufacturers of capital equipment and allied services to the industry and the mining sector.
Bruggeman enthuses that the drive to empower local manufacturing and export was well received by the almost 4 000 visitors, with exhibitors stating that the event was “a great success for them as well, with enquiries and new contacts being made over the three-day event”.
The event hosted a large percentage of companies that supply directly to the mining sector, as well as a sizeable number of allied services that can be used in the mining sector.
“One interesting aspect we noticed at the event was the number of technology-based companies,” notes Bruggeman.
He suggests that a move to automisation, and self-driving vehicles and machines, was evident at the LME. Automisation is already quite prevalent in the global surface mining and earthmoving industry, he notes, with the ever-changing fields of technology and information capture further allowing for tracking and maintenance from anywhere in the world.
Bruggeman concludes that South Africa’s economy needs to stabilise, technology needs to be embraced, and symbiotic partnerships need to be formed to develop and establish the country’s earthmoving and surface mining equipment manufacturing industry as a global competitor.