As mining in Africa has accelerated in recent years, South Africa-based Pilot Crushtec has seen export demand grow to almost match the value of its local market. Among the drivers of the company’s growth in Africa is its responsiveness, says Africa sales manager Wayne Warren, with ready stockholding in place to save customers months in lead times.
Whether the operational pressure is on mine production or project start-up time, there is seldom any time to lose when a mining customer in Africa needs a crushing solution, according to Pilot Crushtec Africa Sales Manager Wayne Warren. Manufacturing lead times and logistical delays – where equipment may need transporting across borders to remote areas – can often frustrate customers in the mining sector.
“A recent contract in Zambia showed the value that we bring to customers’ operations by being quick off the mark with the right equipment,” says Warren. “A customer contacted us to discuss their urgent need for a crushing solution, and within a month they could push the button on site and begin operations with a Pilot Crushtec plant.”
This was despite the equipment taking two weeks on the road to reach the site, he notes. With Pilot Crushtec’s strategy of prioritising its large stockholding, it was also able to recently assist another African mining operation with a full modular plant solution at short notice.
“In fact, the initial enquiry from this company was for mobile crushers – but the application was better suited to a modular format,” he says. “We were able to discuss the options with the customer, and they decided to follow our recommendations, which proved even more cost effective for them.”
He explains that Pilot Crushtec had both the mobile and the modular options available in stock, so was able to supply without delay. It is not unusual for this kind of equipment to require a lead time of several months for manufacture, assembly, delivery and commissioning, he says.
There has also been significant uptake of Pilot Crushtec crushing solutions in Africa by mining companies based in Asia, says Warren. While many of these have used crushing equipment that comes at a lower capital cost, a growing number are turning to Pilot Crushtec for its equipment quality, uptime, spares availability, service backup and warranty.
Among the offerings that have attracted customers has been a five-year or 10,000 hour extended protection service (EPS) warranty on major Metso Outotec components – quite unusual for OEMs operating in this demanding environment, he notes.
“Customers find that our equipment also retains its resale value very well – which considerably safeguards their upfront investment,” he says. He notes that a Namibian customer has also recently leveraged the longevity of their Metso Outotec crushing equipment when converting from mobile to modular plants.
“They simply moved the Metso Outotec equipment from the previous mobile configuration, and installed it on the new modular plant,” he explains. “This augmented the additional Metso Outotec crusher that was purchased for the new plant, saving considerably on capex while not compromising reliability.”
“Pilot Crushtec has been operating in Africa for more than two decades, so this operating terrain is very familiar to us,” says Francois Marais, Sales and Marketing Director at Pilot Crushtec. “Our reputation is solid, and for the past seven years we have also marketed the highly regarded Metso Outotec brand. Known for being robust and reliable, Metso Outotec crushers have been the preferred choice for mines around Africa for many decades.”