Amid the current uncertainty, influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic and various other factors outside the control of the industry, SANY Southern Africa has established a rental division, offering flexible and cost-effective yellow metal equipment solutions to help opencast mining contractors navigate the tough operating conditions, writes Munesu Shoko.
In an environment where mining contracts are few and far between, and that those that come to market have become shorter, SANY Southern Africa’s equipment rental facility provides contract miners with a comprehensive range of yellow metal solutions that speak to their needs.
Established in 2021, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the rental arm of SANY Southern Africa’s business is aimed at helping customers deal with increased uncertainty, explains Samuel Zhang, GM of Southern Africa.
SANY Rental is focused on open-pit mining, largely targeting mining contractors. On the loading front, SANY Rental offers the SY365H (36 t), SY500H (50 t), SY750H (76 t) excavators and the SYL956H (5 t) wheel loader.
This is complemented by the SRT55D (60 t) and SRT95D (100 t) rigid dump trucks, as well as a range of rollers and graders to keep haul roads in top condition. The rental fleet will this year be expanded with the introduction of the 100 t SY980H excavator, articulated dump trucks and wide body dump trucks, Zhang tells Quarrying Africa.
The SANY Rental fleet is currently deployed across commodities, including coal, granite and chrome. The machines have thus far proven their mettle. Their efficient operation in unforgiving applications such as chrome mining are testimony to their ability to match up to taxing operating conditions.
“Our rental machines are enabling our customers hassle-free operation, thanks to their great stability, productivity and a strong backup regime. We have received positive feedback thus far, with operators enjoying working with SANY machines because of their power, high efficiency, comfort, smooth and precise control of movement. Since the introduction of the division late last year, our rental fleet has already clocked more than 6 000 hours, offering non-stop production to customers,” says Zhang.
Commenting on why contract miners should consider the rental route, Zhang says, firstly, it gives them the opportunity to test the quality and service of the machines to avoid bad procurement choices when it’s buying time.
At a time when the market is enduring a seemingly tough cycle, especially in the aggregates sector, buying equipment for some cash-strapped contractors might be out of question. However, when the market turns, companies may probably consider revving up their procurement engines again. Running a piece of equipment on rental gives the company a good testing platform, thus informing sound procurement choices when it’s buying time.
Given the tough financial situation, rental helps contract miners minimise their capital outlay and reduce the risk of an uncertain market. Traditionally, contractors working in the aggregates sector have generally preferred outright purchase and ownership of their equipment, which is still largely the case today. Owning equipment may be part of a company’s culture or simply a financial preference. Additionally, some contract miners opt to own their equipment because it provides physical assets and a sense of control over the assets.
However, in recent years the status quo has changed significantly as varying underlying forces – including the size and duration of projects and the general tough economic conditions – have had far-reaching effects on mining contractors’ businesses. This has cultivated a growing rental culture as companies continue to investigate smart ways of executing their mining contracts.
While there is no right or wrong in either buying or renting, Zhang says rental gives contract miners access to the equipment they need with minimal the upfront costs and credit constraints associated with outright purchasing. Renting also reduces the need for a down payment and allows mining contractors to redirect the little cash they have to other areas of the business, especially when times are this tough.
Zhang adds that rental also makes sense for most emerging mining contractors. Buying new equipment comes at a huge upfront cost, which most start-ups can’t afford. Given the growing local procurement strategy in mining, where local mining contractors are given preference as part of mining and quarrying companies’ enterprise development efforts, rental makes sense for these young companies.
Given that SANY’s rental fleet is serviced and maintained by the OEM, contract miners can eliminate the headache associated with servicing own equipment, keeping parts and employing a dedicated service team on site. Full-service rental from SANY, says Zhang, is of great benefit to mining contractors who don’t have their own mechanics and workshops.
“Our OEM service teams are professional and know the product very well. Customers can, therefore, focus on their core business, which is to mine, and leave the servicing and maintaining of equipment to us,” says Zhang.
Efficient production is the goal for every company. All SANY rental machines are relatively new, maximising efficiency, productivity and equipment availability. “All our machines in the rental fleet are brand new, so customers can have peace of mind knowing that they are guaranteed high machine uptime and efficient production. Operators are also at their productive best as they enjoy working with new models,” concludes Zhang.