Spanish mining technology company Torsa has launched its pan-African business hub in South Africa, with plans to “drastically” reduce mining incidents, and most importantly fatalities, in line with a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Spain’s President Pedro Sánchez in October 2022.
The new hub, the company says, will act as a gateway to Africa.
The MoU lays the foundation for cooperation in the field of Industry 4.0, with Sánchez announcing that Spain will make about R35-billion available over the next five years to support the participation of Spanish companies’ projects in South Africa and beyond.
With the government’s intent to see higher levels of foreign direct investment by Spanish companies in South Africa, Torsa accelerated its expansion to the African continent as its collision avoidance technology addresses recently gazetted South African health and safety regulations, to reduce harm and fatalities in local mining.
Most accidents on mines involve heavy equipment, vehicles and workers, prompting the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to bring into law the Chapter 8 clause of the Mine Health and Safety Act Regulations relating to Level 9 vehicle intervention for collision avoidance in trackless mobile machinery, both surface and underground.
Under this law, mobile machines must be fitted with technologies that automatically detect the presence of any pedestrian or other machine within its vicinity.
In the event where no action is taken to prevent potential collision, further means shall be provided for the mobile machine to return to a safe speed after the brakes are automatically applied.
Torsa’s solutions - such as its High Precision Collision Avoidance System with light detection and ranging three-dimensional and global positioning system technology (among other technologies), offering centimetre precision, and its unique Monitor Vibration System - have reduced human injury reports by 80% in a year, the company states.
Torsa business development director Gabino de Diego explains that the best technology is not always the best solution if it is not implemented in coordination with partners and customers.
“With 25 years’ experience of which a decade is mining-specific, and accolades by some of the world's leading mining companies – such as Glencore and BHP – our technology is unrivalled and has provided millions of hours of uninterrupted work in all types of mines globally,” he says.
“The launch of Torsa’s office in Johannesburg is another step in our goal of taking our technology to all the main mining markets in the world, particularly Africa,” says De Diego.
He adds that South Africa is a “very interesting” market, not only because of its mining potential, but also because of its strategic role within the African continent, as well as its current commitment to apply technologies and procedures focused on increasing safety and productivity in mining operations.
De Diego says that, in addition to its South African launch, Torsa has its sights set on the Copperbelt region and other important markets including Botswana, Mozambique and Morocco for future African expansion.
“Our target is to offer the South African and African mining market the same successes we have achieved for our clients throughout Latin America,” he says.