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Trends in the mining sector from a supplier’s perspective

The mining industry in South Africa plays a significant role in the country’s economy but the ailing sector has seen some major changes and developments over recent years. Rand-Air, a leader in portable compressed air and power generation rentals have been servicing the mining industry for the past 40 years and have noticed that the sector has become increasingly safety, energy and cost conscious which is having a direct impact on all its ancillary suppliers.

 

With government taking a strong stance on mining safety, businesses that support this industry have had to invest large amounts of money into ensuring they comply with safety laws and regulations. “In order to provide the service levels our mining customers need for business sustainability, it is important to adhere to stringent health and safety, quality and environmental standards,” explains Louwrens Erasmus, General Manager of Rand-Air.

Conforming to International Standards such as ISO forms an integral part of health and safety, quality and environmental standards. “Obtaining ISO certification is an expensive exercise as it requires an initial cost. Further to this, maintaining the certificate entails well defined and regularly reviewed processes and procedures at a constant expense. Safety is a number one priority in our organisation and it is for this reason that we have an ISO 9001 Quality Standard certification as this guarantees that our customers who hire out our equipment have the highest possible standard in terms of reliability and performance,” Erasmus adds.

“On the energy side of things, in the next 5 years we foresee a continuation of the current limitations of power supply and thus increased demands on effective energy and electricity utilisation. It is for this reason that mines need to consider all components in the energy chain and constantly drive to seek efficient options. Rand-Air is proud to be part of Atlas Copco who have been successful in producing diesel and electric compressors that are energy efficient,” he explains.

Whilst businesses that supply products and services to the mining industry have experienced the effects of the dwindling sector, Rand-Air has had great success as they are determined to continue providing well maintained and safe equipment that runs efficiently. “In certain shafts one of our customers recently placed compressors closer to the drilling face to reduce any potential inefficiencies. This illustrates our increased focus and the result was a positive development whereby we have seen many of our mining customers looking to follow suit,” he concludes.

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