Renewed strategies, collaboration needed to address challenges

19th June 2020 By: Mc'Kyla Nortje - Journalist

The mining sector is one of the toughest operating environments, driven by a constant need to maximise on yield for profitability while ensuring safety and meeting stakeholder expectations, says industrial equipment supplier Verder Pumps South Africa MD Darryl MacDougall.  

He says the sector continues to face several challenges simultaneously, as the effects of existing challenges have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

At the end of 2019, local mining production faced significant losses for two consecutive years, with production levels 1.3% lower in 2019 than in 2018, which had declined by 2.1%, compared with those of 2017, according to national statistical service Statistics South Africa.

“The reality is that production levels will likely be even lower for 2020, owing to the unprecedented impacts of Covid-19 and the consequent containment measures.”

The industry has to constantly balance costs and return-on-investment in the wake of global economic volatility that directly impacts on investment, says MacDougall.

Other challenges include cashflows and planning; trade or export potential of mineral resources; regulatory changes; geopolitical, civil and social pressures; operational challenges; and pressures associated with environmental and social investment obligations. 

He notes that despite the prevailing challenges in the local economy, lessons learnt from the pandemic have shown that mining – along with other industrial sectors – remains key a contributor to the economy and the country.

“Renewed strategies and collaboration among all stakeholders are needed to address and resolve these challenges, wherever possible, and to promote a more productive and profitable environment that produces benefits for all stakeholders and the broader economy.”

Meanwhile, with a rich history in the South African mining sector, Verder Pumps South Africa provides a one-stop offering of “advanced, cost-effective, efficient and long-lasting” solutions for many mining applications”.

MacDougall adds that, in the mining and minerals processing environment, the company’s range of well-known pumping solution brands include the Verderflex peristaltic pumps, the Packo stainless steel centrifugal pumps, the Verderair air-operated double diaphragm pumps, the Verderhus centrifugal screw pumps and the Verdermag Magdrive pumps.

The company’s solutions are used at various mining sites in South Africa, and across the continent, including a recent copper project in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and gold projects in Ghana and South Sudan, amongst others.

MacDougall says Verder Pumps continues to grow its network of local facilities and distributor partners, as this enables it to offer a range of durable, industrial pumps, pumping systems and high-tech equipment, as well as in-house service and maintenance, across sub-Saharan Africa.

The company has onboarded several new distribution partners, which includes exclusive agreements with distributors for the North West, Mpumalanga, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mozambique, Botswana as well as one which operates in Zambia, Ghana, Tanzania and the DRC.

“Each of these countries have established mining industries and these markets present significant growth opportunities for our business.”

In keeping with upholding the company’s tradition of technical excellence, every new distribution partner has been selected after carefully reviewing the core of its business offerings, its footprint and the potential customer base in the geographical areas that it services, notes MacDougall.

He concludes that the company’s energy and attention remain focused on the quality and performance of its solutions and services as an integrated offering, and is committed to finding innovative solutions to existing problems while forging new paths for future-proof solutions.