Experienced local electrical control and instrumentation specialist E and I Zambia has successfully completed a large project on a new process plant for one of Zambia’s leading copper miners.

The contract included the installation of six electrical substations, 20 transformers, five 1,250 kVA diesel generators for backup power and a 950 metre overland conveyor. Almost 250 kilometres of cable was pulled and nearly 15 kilometres of cable racking was constructed.

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Also completed were six earth mat rings, 12 mast lights and a range of general plant earthing and lighting installations around the plant, as well as the fitting and termination of instruments.

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E and I Zambia conducted the work between January 2019 and April 2020, in close collaboration with both a leading design house and the end-client. According to projects manager Dave Opperman, the company has a sound track record in the country, having been active on the Copperbelt and beyond since 2002.

“The experience of our team on site, the quality of our artisans and the training of workers ensured that the quality of this job was world-class,” Opperman says.

“While prioritising safety and quality, we were still able to adapt to the inevitable fine-tuning of project parameters and schedules, and to deliver on the client’s timelines.”

The safety standards were well reflected in the achievement of 395 Lost-Time Injury Free (LTIF) days. This was done despite a busy site – peak manpower grew to over 270 employees and subcontractors – in a project that consumed almost 590,000 manhours. Almost all the staffing on the project was local.

“Being so well-established in Zambia, we have a solid database of skilled artisans that we can draw upon for large projects like this one,” he says. “The country has a good foundation of these trades, and we can select the most suitable profile of skills to match the project.”

A close relationship with trade unions – maintained by regular consultation – ensured that no labour issues arose that could disrupt the project, he says.

“The company maintains a comprehensive collective agreement with labour, and our collaboration means that the unions understand what the success of the project demands,” Opperman says.

“This creates a win-win relationship that allows the smooth running of projects – a vital factor in the meeting of strict deadlines.”

He notes that the company is also able to optimise its local procurement through its network of reliable suppliers, while maintaining a strong cross-border supply chain for large and specialised equipment and components from South Africa.

In line with quality standards, each phase of the project involved the sign-off of both in-house and external quality control officers. This ensured that all work was done in accordance with engineering designs and industry standard specifications before being certified ready for use.

Enhancing its local expertise and experience, E and I Zambia is able to draw on the extensive technical capacity of South Africa-based EnI Electrical, an operating entity within Zest WEG.