Africa is a central player in the global mining industry, producing platinum, copper, iron ore, diamonds, gold and more. Several Northern Ireland companies are key suppliers to this industry – providing cutting edge technology such as crushing, screening systems, feeding, washing equipment, and condition monitoring solutions to name a few.
Swathi Sri, Head of the IMEA territory at Northern Ireland’s regional economic development agency Invest Northern Ireland (Invest NI) highlights why Northern Ireland is uniquely placed to support the future growth of the African mining industry.
“Northern Ireland has a recognised centre of excellence in the design and manufacture of engineering and technology led solutions for the mining industry. We have one of the world's most successful clusters of engineering companies who are currently working on projects across the globe, from diamond exploration in South Africa to sand washing in the Arabian Gulf and iron ore mining in India, to name but a few” said Sri.
“When a customer purchases mining equipment and aligned technologies from our Northern Ireland based engineering firms, they are buying over six decades of expertise underpinned by comprehensive R&D investment and testing” she added.
There are over 100 Northern Ireland companies working on materials handling technology. The sector is competitive and agile – bringing new products to the market on a regular basis.
Sri notes a significant increase in demand for Northern Ireland expertise, technology, and industrial machinery from Africa in particular, as the continent continues to invest in its mining and related sectors.
“Based on an increase in demand from Africa, several key mining machinery companies in Northern Ireland have recently expanded to Africa and are seeing excellent results” she said.
Below we explore four Northern Ireland companies that are making strides in the African mining industry.
Northern Ireland diesel generator manufacturer AJ Power offers numerous mining power solutions through their South African subsidiary FGW Generators in Cape Town, South Africa. Mining operations in Africa are often in remote locations, access to the public electricity grid can come at a high cost and is often logistically difficult. Downtime has an immediate impact on a mine’s bottom line and diesel generators are an immediate and portable solution to avoid lost time.
AJ Power recently supplied 18 generators to a gold mine operator in Sub-Saharan Africa, in addition to supplying products and services to customers across the continent.
CDE Global, headquartered in Northern Ireland, manufactures wet processing equipment for the mining industry. Their solutions have helped SOMEVAM, a Tunisia-based operator of sand quarries to diversify their business and enter a new industry – glass production.
The CDE installation for SOMEVAM transforms sand into five high-specification products with exceptional commercial value. It produces glass sand and related products, including oversized sand ready-to-use in water filtration systems, coarse sand ready to be ground to make flour silica, ultrafine sand for ceramics or other industries, and iron-rich sand that can be used in sports fields.
With a moisture content of 12%, the materials are market-ready straight from the belts.
“We are very satisfied with the value for money our CDE equipment has provided,” said Habib Sebri, CEO of SOMEVAM.
“We particularly appreciate the service we received. At the start of the project we visited CDE’s facilities in Northern Ireland and felt assured by the quality of the materials used and the expertise of its engineers, both in the design and in the manufacturing of our installation” he added.
Sensoteq, based in Northern Ireland, provides wireless condition monitoring systems that measure temperature and vibration, connecting machines to the internet and providing the intelligence needed to predict downtime, prevent early life failures, and improve overall plant efficiency.
Their most recent innovation, the Sensoteq Tau® sensor, provides continuous monitoring of stroke, motion, and vibration parameters, measuring screening efficiency and alerting customers to failures before they occur.
Idir Boudaoud, CEO and Founder of Sensoteq commented:
“We are delighted our wireless condition monitoring technology has been well received by the African market, a fantastic endorsement of our products. We have also started collaborating with several globally respected mining equipment businesses in Africa, including Vibramech, South Africa's largest manufacturer of vibrating mineral processing equipment, and Multotec Group, a global supplier of mineral processing equipment, which will accelerate our growth in this exciting sector.”
Vibramech will launch their first online and remote monitoring system, Vibrasure, in the first quarter of 2021 and will incorporate Sensoteq’s technology. This will ensure that all their vibrating equipment will be monitored 24/7, optimising machine performance and safety.
Sensoteq has also developed a day-to-day service tool solution called Sensoteq Chi®, which provides instant feedback on a machine’s health and operational status via an Android App. Sensoteq Chi® optimises operational efficiencies for support technicians on the road and is compatible with all industrial machine types.
“Our partnership with Multotec Group in Australia has been very successful with our Chi® tool becoming an instant hit with their clients. Building on our success with Multotec in Australia, we are now working with them in South Africa and I look forward to introducing our full suite of monitoring products to the region in due course,” Boudaoud concluded.
Northern Ireland manufacturer of feeding, washing, and conveying machinery, Anaconda Equipment, recently expanded into South Africa through an exclusive distribution agreement with Vermeer Equipment Suppliers.
Vermeer will stock genuine Anaconda spare parts within their facility to provide a professional, competitive, and supportive service mechanism to customers within the African region.
The partnership marks a significant milestone for Anaconda and represents their first dealership on the continent of Africa.
In conclusion, Sri said, “Northern Ireland companies are excelling on the world stage and we have a lot to be proud of. They are ambassadors for the country and showcase the fantastic skillsets we have across multiple applications and underpin our region as a global centre of excellence in the manufacture of mobile bulk processing and wet processing equipment. Invest Northern Ireland will continue to work closely with all our companies to facilitate their growth in the years ahead.”
For more information please visit www.investni.com/materialshandling.