covid-19 south deep

As the COVID-19 pandemic tightens its grip, thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions is assisting customers to maintain operational efficiencies through sustainable service delivery and innovative technologies.

“The global economic crisis, as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, has put the drive for efficiency into top gear,” states Philipp Nellessen, CEO of thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions Sub Sahara Africa.

This article first appeared in Mining Review Africa Issue 8, 2020
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“Fundamental to this drive is technology. Through our ongoing investment in people and R&D and our over 200 years of expertise, we are able to develop advanced technologies to assist mining and other industries in achieving maximum operational efficiencies.”

Read more about COVID-19

Although the South African mining industry was not operational during national lockdown Level 5, critical repairs were still permitted. As an essential service provider, thyssenkrupp has been delivering maintenance and repairs as well as rebuild work to local mines.

The company assisted a platinum mine in Limpopo Province with a roll change on one of their flagship products, a High Pressure Grinding Roll (HPGR).

“The scope of work required a rebuild on the HPGR set as well as the installation of the hardware on the mine site, making this our largest project in the national lockdown period,” says Nico Erasmus, thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions Sub Sahara Africa head of service operations.

“We are very pleased that even in a complete lock-down situation, we were able to complete the project in a healthy and safe manner, in excellent co-operation with our customer,” says Erasmus.

In order to remain operational and continue seamless service delivery to customers, thyssenkrupp has implemented all necessary policies in line with Government COVID-19 regulations.

These include possession of all essential services permits and strict entry control protocols for employees, visitors and suppliers at all premises.

Employees are required to attend mandatory training sessions, wear all necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), sanitise regularly and maintain social distancing.

Organisation key to operations

A dedicated COVID-19 committee has been set up to assess changing regulations and risks associated with office and site working environments.

“With the majority of employees working from home, we have faced our fair share of challenges but the process was very well organised with IT managing it all incredibly well ensuring that everybody was equipped in time,” notes Erasmus.

“We only had one day of downtime at our essential service workshop site. The pandemic has significantly changed the working landscape but thanks to our flexibility, employees will be able to carry on doing the majority of their work from home as we continue to offer the same high levels of service our customers have come to expect,” adds Erasmus.

Meanwhile, an optimistic Nellessen says that he is in no doubt that mining in the southern African region will recover.

“The people here are incredibly brave and innovative and companies will find their way out of the crisis. As industry partners, we are here to offer our support.

Despite tough times ahead for some industries, the mining sector continues to show growth and here I foresee a restart and a good recovery,” he concluded.