With the bulk of its business in Africa driven by mining, Cummins has continued to support its major mining clients throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. From blasthole drills and front-end loaders to 360 ton haul trucks and 1000 ton excavators, Cummins’ mining platform delivers engine power from 8 to 47 kW. This is coupled with 80 years of experience in the mining industry globally, developing fuel-efficient and emissions-compliant technology to ensure the lowest cost per ton in the most demanding applications.
“The mining industry has kept the pedal to the metal throughout the Covid-19 pandemic,” notes Dave Rehse, director of Mining Africa, Cummins Africa Middle East. “Business has largely carried on as usual. We are entering some very good rebuild cycles right now. Overall, I would say that the industry has remained buoyant throughout this difficult period.”
Specific commodity sectors such as diamonds are showing green shoots, while the open-cast mining sector has also proven quite resilient. Rehse highlights that a particular challenge has been the restrictions on travel and having to deal with problems on client sites remotely. However, these restrictions are easing globally, signalling a slow return to normal for the mining industry.
Marco Gouveia, parts marketing director, says that a particular achievement for Cummins during the pandemic has been ensuring a consistent supply of parts and spares, despite the global constraints in this regard. Cummins has manufacturing facilities worldwide and different countries have been impacted by Covid-19 at different times and also responded differently in how they have dealt with the pandemic.
A major headache has been circulating manufactured goods around the globe, with airplane and shipping space at a premium due to a reduced number of flights and even a shortage of shipping containers to contend with. Despite these challenges, Cummins’ resilient supply chain network has ensured a steady supply of parts and spares globally. “It is imperative that our mining clients are up and running at all times, as any parts-supply issues can impact rebuild or service times and have a major impact on uptime. In this regard, the global Cummins team has done a sterling job in literally keeping our engines running worldwide,” adds Rehse.
“Genuine Cummins ReCon engines and parts remain a critical component of this global supply chain,” notes Gouveia. “It is important that our mining clients adhere to their rebuild cycles, as this directly affects the total cost of ownership in terms of their equipment fleets. We are also able to tailor-make packages to suit specific requirements. We do have clients who prefer to carry out the work themselves and here we strive to ensure that parts are always on hand when any major interventions are required with their engines on site.”
A key to Cummins’ continued success in the mining industry is the longstanding relationships it has forged with major mining houses, from Zambia to Mozambique and even Namibia. “We have good relationships with key clients throughout southern Africa and this has really stood us in good stead to get through any rough patches,” adds Gouveia.
Commenting on the mining industry’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Rehse stresses that no expense has been spared to ensure the safety of all employees, which extends to third-party suppliers such as Cummins when its technicians are required to go on-site. “As a key supplier, we are part of the mining fraternity and all safety measures and protocols for mineworkers are extended to us to ensure a ‘zero harm’ working environment.”
As to the future and the possible negative effects of new variants breaking out in major mining regions, Rehse believes that the mining industry has already done its homework and has a good foundation in place to deal with any contingencies. “We have refined our own internal processes and procedures throughout the pandemic, so we are in a strong position to continue to support the mining industry as it recovers and shows renewed growth going forward.”
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