Equipment procurement shakeup

24th September 2021

By: Claire O'Reilly


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Owing to rising commodity prices and subsequent efforts to ramp up production, the mining industry is focused on the availability of larger earthmoving equipment, ensuring that equipment disposal companies can play a critical role.

Mining and construction equipment supplier MHS Plant & Equipment founder and owner Conrad Smith explains that the impact of Covid-19 resulted in a 30% to 50% reduction in output from equipment manufacturers globally, with limited numbers of new units, especially in the larger size ranges.

As a result, some mining companies have decided to delay their procurement or rebuild plans, while suppliers are reluctant to take on the risk of having too much stock on their books.

However, the commodity supercycle might see these issues addressed constructively. “We are definitely on an upward swing at the moment, which could see some of the major players opt to outsource their equipment requirements, owing to the anticipated scramble to get enough machines on the ground as quickly as possible to take advantage of the expected upturn.”

Based in Midrand, Gauteng, MHS Plant & Equipment sources machines globally at competitive rates, in addition to offering dismantling, rigging, shipping, transportation and reassembly services. It also assists clients in procuring and disposing of redundant equipment.

Meanwhile, the company is looking to expand throughout Africa, including a copper mine project in the Democratic Republic of Congo that is expected to resume operations in 2022.

“Additionally, we are in the process of compiling a large package of equipment for a junior miner working at another mine in Zambia. The parcel includes 100 t rigs, 120 t excavators, as well as loading tools, 16H graders and Cat D10T dozers. We handle the sale, export, transport, insurance and assembly on site, with commissioning of all the equipment upon delivery.”

The company remains focused on larger blue-chip mining houses to achieve the highest possible return on its equipment. Smith claims that larger mining houses do not entirely understand the value of their larger equipment, adding that MHS Plant & Equipment intelligence can pinpoint where similar machines are being operated, thereby recommending the best disposal market.

“This is an example of the type of long-standing relationships we wish to forge with blue-chip miners. The business world has changed after Covid-19. The mining industry has traditionally adopted a conservative approach in its business models, but now has to change with the times by becoming flexible and responsive to trends and developments,” he argues.

MHS Plant & Equipment also owns equipment that it rents to cement and aggregate producers, as well as to a diamond mine in the Northern Cape. This enables the company to rotate its equipment and ensure that the fleet is always current which, in turn, guarantees clients’ peace of mind by allowing for maximum uptime and productivity.

MHS Plant & Equipment also tracks global economies, and if one particular region experiences a dip, it can visit the area in question to identify which machines can be acquired at the best prices. The company has acquired equipment from Australia, Argentina, Chile, Malaysia, Peru and Saudi Arabia, among others.

The global flight restrictions, owing to Covid-19, have meant that MHS Plant & Equipment has had to hire experts on the ground wherever equipment is available to carry out the necessary inspections, Smith concludes.

Edited by Nadine James
Features Deputy Editor


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