Water pumps manufacturer and supplier Donnlee Pump Tech has increased its service offering to supply pumps and pump services to the copper fields in Zambia, as well as parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“We are targeting every mine, and are manufacturing and supplying a greater diversity of pumps. We have established a good relationship with a well-known supplier that has offices all over Africa. This has been beneficial and has enabled us to supply pumps to mines in Africa,” says Donnlee Pump Tech sales director Thinus Brits.
Despite the opportunities for supply to the local mining market, the challenges of the local industry have prompted the company to target other regions and sectors.
“Donnlee has, in the past ten years, expanded its market, as the mines cannot sustain our business,” he stresses.
Brits highlights the growth of the company during this period, owing to its supplier and distributive networks, and emphasises the importance of these networks in Africa in achieving this growth.
The company has exclusively focused on the supply, as well as reconditioning, of a range of multistage dewatering centrifugal pumps to operators in the mining industry during this period.
Dewatering pumps are normally required to pump water horizontally or vertically from one pump to another, as water is used and retreated in the processing procedures of mines.
Donnlee has also started to manufacture and supply split casing pumps to the mining industry in Africa.
Brits boasts that the company manufacturers 90% of its pumps in-house, with a manufacturing facility that includes a large foundry, modern machinery and a ceramic coating operation. The 5 000 m2 facility is located in Benoni, Johannesburg.
“We always aim to introduce materials for manufacturing parts, such as stainless or chrome steel instead of the original manufacturers’ bronze or cast-iron materials, that will last longer or be more suitable for the application from the design phase. We have redesigned pumps numerous times in the past, which resulted in the pumps’ lasting three to four times longer than what the client had achieved with the original design.
“This enables us to ensure a quality product, with parts for pumps that are easily available,” he says.
The company’s ISO 9001:2015 accreditation is recognised in 159 countries, it is the only company in Africa with the UKAS accreditation.
Mining companies, particularly gold and platinum miners in South Africa, have been subjected to consistent strikes.
“The mines are struggling financially because of the strikes, which in turn, detrimentally affects suppliers. Mining shafts have also been closing down or have been placed on care and maintenance, owing to unsustainably high production costs,” he argues.
These challenges, however, provide significant opportunities for Donnlee in the supply and maintenance of its pumps, he notes.
“Mines do not have funds easily available and, therefore, tend to run the pumps to the point of failure.”
They tend to neglect the quality and service that comes with a product, and make selections at the bottom end of the market, but if a quality product can be supplied at a reasonable price, “you have a chance of opening new opportunities”, explains Brits.
The search for new business opportunities has resulted in Donnlee’s now also supplying pumps to local waterboards and agricultural markets.
The company also hopes to expand its product and service offering to mining operations in countries such as Australia and Canada.
“Our long-term goal is to become an international brand in the pumping sector. We have set up our short-term goals to build towards this goal. We take it a day at a time to better ourselves and our product from what it was yesterday,” he concludes.