Multinational mining and mineral processing equipment manufacturer Sandvik launched its new high-tech head office facility, workshop and manufacturing complex today in Kempton Park, east of Johannesburg, on September 9.
The facility was officially opened by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The launch of Sandvik’s Khomanani facility is a fulfillment of the industrial giant’s investment pledge of R350-million, made at the fourth South African Investment Conference six months ago.
“Government is hard at work to create the conditions that will enable businesses – both big and small – to emerge, to grow, to access new markets, to create new products and to hire more employees. The establishment of this facility is testament to that commitment,” Ramaphosa said.
The Khomanani manufacturing site is one of Sandvik’s biggest and most advanced facilities globally, consolidating operations previously undertaken at five separate sites and accommodating 550 employees.
For the first time ever, the company now has its soft rock, hard rock and surface businesses all under one roof. Khomanani, which occupies a 62 000 m2 site, can produce underground loaders with over 60% local content, allowing them to be designated as ‘Proudly South African’.
Acting VP of Sandvik Southern Africa’s sales area Reinhard Reinartz said Sandvik’s mining divisions supply the industry’s needs with equipment, parts and services, with the aim to fuel growth in a sustainable way.
“Our role is not only as an original-equipment manufacturer (OEM) to our customers, but also to be good corporate citizens. Hence, we are investing in localisation, and this new assembly facility relocates activities from China and Finland to South Africa,” he stated.
Localisation is a cornerstone of Sandvik’s operations, which supports government’s aim to build domestic production capacity to supply local and foreign markets, to support broader economic development and to create more jobs.
The investment by Sandvik in local manufacturing capacity is an important vote of confidence in South Africa and its mining sector, the President noted.
“With industrialisation and manufacturing being essential pillars of South Africa’s Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, it is gratifying to see this commitment turned into reality here in Gauteng,” he said.
Reinartz said the decision to invest in South Africa was a simple one. “South Africa is still one of the biggest mining markets in the world, with resources including coal, platinum group metals, gold and iron-ore. With both surface and underground mining, there is no question about investing here,” he enthused.
The expansion of local production will make South Africa’s economy more inclusive and create more opportunities for new entrants into the industrial sector.
Greater investment in mining, localisation and beneficiation all contribute to extending mine life, to increasing mining exports, to skills development and to the creation of employment.
The President pointed out that the mining machinery and equipment sector also has significant linkages into other parts of the economy.
The companies supplying equipment to the mining industry have important backward linkages to major assembly suppliers, sub-assembly and parts suppliers, specialist component suppliers and raw material suppliers.
“Increasing local production will contribute significantly to the revival of South Africa’s manufacturing industry,” he said.
The machines being assembled at Khomanani are the 12 t LS312 flameproof loader for underground coal operations, as well as the LH115 and LH208 loaders, respectively of 5.5 t and 7.7 t capacity, for underground hard rock mining.
Not only are these machines being supplied to the Southern African market but Sandvik can also export them. They are produced to the exact same quality standards as Sandvik machines manufactured at its overseas factories. Moreover, the company is able to produce them at a cost which is very competitive by global standards.
Sandvik is proud of Khomanani’s environmental credentials and the company has prioritised energy and water efficiency. Solar power forms an important part of the energy mix. There is already a shared solar facility which generates 500 kW and the company recently installed additional solar units in its own facility, which will be sufficient to take it entirely off the grid in the middle of the day under ideal conditions.
Further, Sandvik is committed to sustainability and has developed its battery electric vehicle (BEV) range of trucks and loaders. The TH665B truck with a payload capacity of 65 t was unveiled at Electra Mining Africa 2022. Commercial production of the unit, which ranks as the largest capacity BEV truck in the world, is planned for late 2023.