South Africa’s coal industry has become dependent on two key requirements to ensure their financial and operational success.
These being bespoke processing solutions that deliver on the need for low cost and high volume tonnages and of equal importance, ownership compliance.
Contractors looking to cement their position or secure new business in this sector will thrive if they are able to conform, writes LAURA CORNISH.
Contract crushing and mining specialist B&E International, a subsidiary of JSE-listed construction group Raubex, meets the operational and compliance brief and is quickly building a reputation for its ability to deliver innovative and operationally sustainable solutions for the coal sector.
Meeting the ownership brief
Not only is the company B-BBEE (broad-based black economic empowerment) compliant with a Level 1 rating, it has more recently taken to establishing long-term partnerships with reputable, equitable and well represented HDSA black owners to partner on project work in the coal sector.
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Through this arrangement, B&E International is looking to upskill its partners and develop their technical expertise, in turn offering them the opportunity to establish themselves as competitive contractors in the industry.
“This working model guarantees sustainable solutions for B&E International, our local partners and most importantly, our coal clients,” says Ken Basson, director plant and engineering at B&E International.
Having established numerous partnerships in the coal region of Mpumalanga, B&E International is well underway with the skills transfer process.
“We are also prepared to finance projects on behalf of our partners, depending of course on the feasibility.”
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Basson is confident this concept will further facilitate the entry of new players into the market, giving them the opportunity to develop relevant businesses that meet industry’s operational requirement - despite their lack of technical expertise and in-house resources.
Meeting the operating brief
Having gained more than 40-years’ experience in the crushing and screening business, B&E International today offers truly bespoke comminution solutions thanks to its technical expertise - utilised fully using its in-house engineering, design and manufacturing facilities.
These resources enable the company to stay abreast of technological innovations and after extensive test work saw the company introduce to the coal sector a new coal-specific crushing plant that according to Basson outperforms any other plant available on the market.
Coupled with its BOOT (build, own, operate and transfer) model, this plant effectively takes the capex pressure off the customer and relieves them of considerable production risk.
“We are consequently able to flexibly fit in to customers’ value chains, maximising production performance and machine uptime while taking on the risk of meeting the agreed output targets,” Basson highlights.
“This is a commitment was are comfortable to offer through our entrance into the market with a sustainable coal crushing solution,” he continues.
Following five years of extensive R&D and test work, B&E International earlier this year introduced its first track mounted coal crushing plant onto one of its toll processing operations.
Design optimisation was achieved using advanced modeling technologies, including finite element analysis (FEA) and 3D modelling, combined with practical first-hand experience gained within the industry.
The track-mounted coal crushing plant was designed and manufactured at the company’s premises in Kempton Park, Johannesburg.
The high capacity, track-mounted unit was commissioned on site at a coal mine in the eMalahleni region in June this year and is “performing exceptionally well in all respects.
Designed to crush up 550 tph, the plant is producing coal that complies to the PSD requirements as stipulated by Eskom.
“The design philosophy incorporated into crusher has ensured that zero oversize and minimal fines are produced. This ensures that the gradation of the crushed coal meets the strict quality criteria set by Eskom,” adds Basson.
“Quality conformance, to Eskom standards is essential for our client and our plant is excelling on this front,” Basson notes.
"The plant also delivers on the safety front, which is important given that this newly-designed highly mobile crushing plant can operate at tonnages in excess of 500 tph.
"A further safety advantage, given the high tonnages that this unit can achieve, is that less crushing plant is required on the mine site when compared to current equipment employed by competitors.
"Having less equipment on site but still achieving the desired monthly tonnages not only results in cost benefits being realised by the client, but also equates to less potential unsafe operator exposure.”
B&E International is currently manufacturing its second high-capacity track mounted coal crusher which will be employed in conjunction with a highly mobile primary crushing circuit on another client’s mine site shortly.
In addition to designing and manufacturing high tonnage track mounted coal crushing plants, B&E International also offers bespoke static crushing and mining solutions to prospective clients.
The combination of a high performing plant, operated on the mines’ behalf (on a toll basis) is truly the answer the coal sector is looking for to maintain or secure operational viability.
“We have embraced the operating model required to establish a presence in what remains one of South Africa’s most vibrant mining sectors and are excited to contribute towards helping transform and develop a new breed of locally empowered coal mining contractors whose success will be influenced positively by the skills and technology we share,” Basson concludes.