Zululand Anthracite Colliery (ZAC)

Flexible equipment solutions for anthracite producer and exporter

Striving to find effective, flexible solutions to customers’ unique needs underpinned Babcock’s recent partnership with Zululand Anthracite Colliery (ZAC). Earlier this year ZAC celebrated an impressive average of 5 000 machine hours worked in the space of just one year, with zero downtime while running 24-hour shifts. 

Zululand Anthracite Colliery (ZAC)

ZAC’s fleet of Babcock-supplied and maintained machinery consists of three Volvo A30G articulated haulers, two Volvo crawler excavators and two Volvo wheel loaders. The machinery was purchased to manage the reprocessing of a discard dump in KwaZulu-Natal, located approximately 100 km from Richards Bay, and has worked up to 5 800 hours per individual machine since July 2017. 

Owned by Menar, a mining resources investment company, the Zululand Anthracite Colliery is South Africa’s sole producer and exporter of prime anthracite coal. COO of Menar, Bradley Hammond, says their purchase from Babcock is an all-round success story.

“In addition to providing us with a highly competitive price, Babcock was the only company able to fulfil our extended service warranty requirements. This cost-effective, tailored package was the ideal solution for ZAC. Babcock also provided spot-on advice as to which machinery would be the most effective and efficient, and we are currently running at full utilisation with no wastage,” says Hammond.

As the mine dump is located in a remote bushland area, dealing with multiple equipment suppliers would not have been a practical option for ZAC. After a thorough assessment of the market, Babcock stood out with a comprehensive, cost-effective package that ticked all the boxes.

Hammond admits that the 10C warranty and attractive maintenance plan offered by Babcock made the package highly cost-effective in the long term.

The CAP10C extended warranty covers 10 000 hours, and Babcock’s Richard Bay branch maintains the Volvo machinery through Caretrack. Caretrack allows for early detection and resolution of problems and Volvo-trained Babcock technicians are sent to site when necessary. 

Hammond affirms that Babcock’s Richards Bay team is the best in the business and has provided maximum value. “The Volvo fleet is a great investment for our mining operation with a fuel burn that is 20% less than competitors and equipment that is perfect for our needs,” says Hammond. 

Siyabonga Mathonsi, Engineering Manager at Zululand Anthracite Colliery, who played a key role in selecting the Volvo machines, adds that the equipment has performed extremely well over the past year in terms of service and ease of usability. As a result, Menar is considering expanding their Babcock-supplied construction equipment for other mining operations within their fold.

The Volvo Construction Equipment operating at ZAC is being used to mine the surface dump and transport it to a newly built processing plant, as well as clean slurry dams at the mine. Although being used for ‘soft’ mining, Hammond comments that the conditions have nevertheless tested the machinery’s capacity and endurance. “The equipment has shown excellent performance in wet conditions, with the crawler excavators doing especially well,” says Hammond.

He adds that ZAC has reduced their monthly operating expenses and attributes much of this to Babcock’s maintenance plan. “Another contributing factor has been employing female drivers who show great finesse and care when operating machinery.”

ZAC strongly supports female empowerment and women in mining as part of Menar’s philosophy of contributing to society through their value chain, reflecting Babcock’s own initiatives to provide opportunities to women in its fields of operation.

Additionally, the mining company is intending to become a member of the Bettercoal initiative, a global non-profit organisation that promotes the continuous improvement of corporate responsibility in the coal supply chain leading to more sustainable, environmentally friendly coal mining practices.

“Sustainability is a core element of our approach to business, much like Babcock,” says Hammond.

The Zululand Anthracite Colliery has a capacity of 100 tph and is expected to wash 3 Mt of discard in the next five years. This reclamation of the long-standing discard dump will decrease the rehabilitation footprint of the colliery and produce 1 Mt of saleable product which will be made available for both inland and export market.

Babcock distributes and supports leading international brands and construction equipment and has a well established reputation of forging long-term relationships with global principals and customers.

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