Increased turnover, international market share expected

30th January 2015 By: Mia Breytenbach - Creamer Media Deputy Editor: Features

Increased turnover,  international market  share expected

EXCEEDING GROWTH International sales increased by about 250% in 2013/14, with Hazleton Pumps’ international market expected to grow by another 75% this year

South African pumps manufacturer Hazleton Pumps expects a total increase in turnover of at least 50% this year, states company MD Thys Wehmeyer.

“This expectation follows the exceptional business growth of the company in 2014, with turnover growth having exceeded 100%,” he tells Mining Weekly, adding that Hazleton’s export market also expanded significantly during this period.

Wehmeyer highlights that, while local sales were constant for 2013/14, international sales increased by about 250%, adding that Hazleton Pumps’ international market is expected to grow by another 75% this year.

Hazleton Pumps supplied more than 570 pumps from its Hippo slurry range, including the Hippo medium-voltage slurry submersible pumps range, to the local and international pumps market in 2014. The range is specifically designed to pump high volumes of liquids containing abrasive and corrosive products.

“The capability to pump abrasive and corrosive liquids successfully and the ability to continuously run dry are unique features, which also contribute to the reliability of the Hippo slurry pump range,” Wehmeyer emphasises.

In light of this, the company has also increased its manufacturing capability to match the expected growth and is building a new test facility, which will allow for the testing of vertical spindle pumps with a shaft length of up to 20 m.

International Footprint
Wehmeyer further highlights that the main demand for the Hippo slurry range is currently from users in the mining and process markets – particularly related to the expansion of the oil sands mines at Fort McMurray, in Alberta, Canada.

The Alberta oil sands have a proven reserve of 170-billion barrels, comprising 168-billion barrels of bitumen and about 1.7-billion barrels of conventional crude oil. The oil sands produce about 1.9-million barrels of oil a day and are the biggest supplier of crude oil to the US, Wehmeyer notes.

The Alberta oil sands Kearl expansion project, which is managed by international engineering and project management company Amec Foster Wheeler on behalf of petroleum producer Imperial Oil, will increase production to three-million barrels a day.

Hazleton Pumps is currently involved in the manufacture and supply of medium-voltage submersible slurry pumps for the Kearl oil sands expansion project and expects to complete the contract by 2016.

The value of the pumps required for this project is about R100-million, of which R30-million will be for the supply of medium-voltage submersible slurry pumps, Wehmeyer says.

“While the use of medium-voltage submersible slurry pumps is not well known, it has significant advantages over the use of low-voltage submersible slurry pumps when required to pump large volumes,” he stresses.

Meanwhile, other recent projects include the supply of 200 ∙ Hippo vertical spindle slurry pumps to Namibian uranium mine, Rössing Uranium. The pump, mounted on a pontoon, is used to pump back the acidic tailings water containing solids at a rate of 139 ∙/s, at a 25 m head.

Rössing Uranium has bought 15 pumps to date, with the first order received in 1994 and the last order delivered in November 2014. Hazleton Pumps has also received additional quotations from the mine, Wehmeyer adds.

Further, the company supplied six Hippo vertical spindle slurry pumps, manufactured from duplex stainless steel, to Canadian diversified resource company Sherritt International’s Ambatovy mine, in Madagascar, in the past year, with the last order having been delivered in October.

Ambatovy is the largest finished nickel and finished cobalt operation from lateritic ore in the world to pump acidic slurries.

Industry Outlook
Wehmeyer notes that, although not much growth is expected in the local market, with the selling of some replacement pumps and service exchange units being the only possibility, South Africa can manufacture pumps economically.

This is supported by a drive by State-owned enterprises (SOEs) to buy pumps that have been manu- factured in South Africa, with locally manufactured pumps to be designated by the South African Department of Trade and Industry.

In light of this, an opportunity has to be created to increase the volume of pumps manufactured in South Africa, Wehmeyer stresses, noting that the South African mining industry must also support the local manufacturing of pumps on the same basis as the SOEs.

“It has been proven that there is enough demand for sufficient volume to allow for an economically viable pump-manufacturing industry in South Africa.

“This will definitely also contribute to job creation, which is currently a priority,” Wehmeyer concludes.