Lead times in the pressurised African mining industry have become a decisive differentiator for suppliers. With this in mind, Multotec has established a bonded warehouse at Tema Port on the Atlantic coast of Ghana that will drastically reduce its equipment supply lead times to mining operations in Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali, all of which are within 2000 km of the new facility.
“For many years the West African mining industry has faced lead times as long as seven months for imported items of consumable equipment and the move to establish a stockholding at a more central location is long overdue,” Multotec’s Kris Vergote says. “We identified Tema Port as the ideal site for such a warehouse, which will be managed by our office in Accra, just 25 km away.
“We’ve already begun the process of negotiating supply contracts with customers in Ghana, Burkina Faso and Mali, who recognise the significant value to be gained from being able to access the consumable equipment they need in a matter of weeks. At present 99% of this type of product is imported from Europe, Australia, South Africa or other manufacturing hubs, and takes months to arrive on site from the date of order.”
The Multotec bonded warehouse will concentrate on supplying consumable equipment such as mill linings, trommel panels, vibrating screen panels, interstage screens, ceramic tiles and adhesives. Vergote says this fulfils the “speed to market’ commitment within Multotec’s consumables supply model that seeks to respond as quickly as possible to customers’ needs.
There is a clear intention to identify opportunities to establish similar warehouse facilities in other mining centres on the continent during the course of 2014.
Also in Ghana, Multotec has launched a dedicated service for the installation of mill liners, screen panels and the servicing and calibration of ore samplers.
“Offering increasingly better services in the local market is key to our building a business in this region and part of our value proposition, is to help our customers optimise their existing plant assets,” Vergote says. “We currently have more than 80 samplers operating at mining facilities in West Africa, so it makes absolute sense to introduce a maintenance service that will ensure that these critical units function optimally.
“A sampler is essentially a tool used to collect samples and produce data that has to be relevant and consistently accurate. The need for samplers worldwide has seen a surge for two reasons. One is the need to underpin the mining operation’s contractual obligation to deliver the required grade of ore to their clients, and this is achieved by online sampling of the product being shipped. The other reason is to ensure that ore processes are optimised, so sampling information must be quickly obtainable and accurate, allowing this information to be fed back into the plant to guide process adjustments.”
Multotec has trained a Ghanaian technician and who is employed by the company to service its sampling equipment, which Vergote says is also making a contribution to developing local competencies.