Original-equipment manufacturer Weir Minerals Africa is continuing its strong focus on sustainability across its West African operations.
With the company’s fully integrated, customer-centric approach, an opportunity arises to further support clients’ sustainability efforts, says Weir Minerals Africa Rest of Africa sales director Pieter van den Berg.
As operations increasingly move towards sustainable mining practices, the need to lower energy consumption, water use and emissions has never been more important.
“We partner with our customers to support them to achieve increased operating efficiencies, throughput and reliability,” he says, noting that the solutions Weir Minerals Africa supplies is beyond just selling a product.
The company delivers high-performance equipment and components with a value proposition of the lowest total cost of ownership, underpinned by all aspects of equipment, design and engineering, as well as ease of component changes, quick repair and maintenance and a robust service network and aftermarket.
With technology at the heart of sustainability, the company has unique expertise to assist mining companies in tackling their environmental footprint challenges and is accelerating its commitment to develop the solutions needed to confront climate change head-on.
The need for the mining sector to undergo a technology transformation to reduce its energy, water and waste provides a significant opportunity for the group.
West Africa, which is an important focus for Weir Minerals Africa, has extensive gold, mineral sands and iron-ore resources and, as global demand for these commodities improve, mining houses are ramping up production and working to improve productivity and efficiency while ensuring the operations are as environment friendly as possible.
“Increasingly, customers are either improving the capability or throughput within new greenfield projects with new technology or improving the capabilities of old equipment at brownfield projects with the integration of new technology,” Van den Berg comments.
“This is where we really want to get into that value-add partnership, and with innovative technology we can actually support the customer needs for this,” he tells Mining Weekly, highlighting the value of aligning with corporate health and safety and environment in the countries in which the company operates.
In line with this, a water- and energy-saving product, with low energy consumption, low maintenance requirements and high availability, has been installed, for the first time in West Africa, in a comminution circuit at an iron-ore mine in Nigeria.
The Enduron high-pressure grinding rolls, which set the benchmark for energy efficient grinding and use dynamic skewing to provide best-in-class wear life for mining applications, leverages innovative technology that can deliver energy reductions of up to 40%, when compared with traditional grinding circuits.
The machines are contributing to sustainability agendas and initiatives as they also operate dry, eliminating water consumption, he explains.
Alongside this, new technology is being integrated into well-established equipment.
“One of the other really great products, that has been around for more than ten years, is the Warman WRT, our wear-resistant technology delivering wear life improvements in the Warman AH slurry pumps.”
“We have developed, over the last three years, the same WRT technology for our Envirotech Alpha range.”
Many gold mines across West Africa that use Envirotech equipment can now also share in the reduced wear life and energy savings that come with this upgraded WRT component, he says.
“Currently, this is installed across the entire West Africa region in both gold and mineral sands applications. It is doing very well, and 95% of the aftermarket we supply in West Africa is on the new technology,” Van den Berg adds.
The region is also about to get bolstered support as a new satellite office is set to be opened in Abidjan, in Côte d'Ivoire, during the second half of 2022.
Weir Minerals Africa currently operates from the full-service main support hub in Ghana, which has about 40 employees, all of whom are local, barring one regional manager, and from Dakar, in Senegal, which has five employees covering the full spectrum of services.
“In Nigeria, we have recently appointed a full-time comminution product specialist on a new mine being commissioned,” he adds.
The various hubs service more than 40 customers across the 16 countries that make up West Africa.
The company is now actively recruiting three employees for its planned Abidjan hub.
Weir Minerals Africa has invested significantly in the people and infrastructure in the region to further provide integrated support to its customers.
“Part of our drive is becoming an even greater customer-centric firm. We have built our business model around supporting our customers as best as we can, as close to them as we can,” he says.
“We have to fully understand our customer needs and challenges. We employ people from the region. We continue to provide support and service for all our products, deliver value-add initiatives, provide customer training and conduct plant audits and process optimisation, besides others.
“It is not just about selling a product, but rather, about adding value to the customer on a daily basis, delivering support to solve their problems as quickly as possible and constantly come up with innovative solutions,” he concludes.