Engineering remains the backbone of mining, and is a focus that Murray & Roberts Cementation continues to prioritise through its extensive capabilities in engineering services.
“More than ever, our customers are looking to us for engineering excellence that will underpin their safety, productivity and profitability,” says Hercilus Harmse, engineering services executive at Murray & Roberts Cementation. “This means retaining a formidable base of local expertise, a well-resourced engineering facility and a range of specialised offerings.”
Located at the company’s 57 hectare Bentley Park premises near Carletonville, south-west of Johannesburg, is some 9,690 m2 of covered workshop space – constantly busy with a variety of engineering activities. The engineering personnel numbers almost 70 permanent, qualified technical staff, with more contractors brought in as work requires, says Harmse. The workshops link with the Murray & Roberts Training Academy, situated on the same site, to further develop hands-on artisan and technical skills.
“Key at our Bentley Park facility is our rebuild and refurbishment workshop for trackless mining equipment,” he says. “We can completely refurbish equipment such as load haul dumpers, drill rigs and utility vehicles from a range of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).”
This work is conducted on equipment in Murray & Roberts Cementation’s own large fleet, as well as on behalf of mining customers. During 2020, over 30 full rebuilds were conducted for customers, complete with on-site commissioning.
“Our long history in the sector gives us a depth of knowledge and systems that comply with the necessary ISO certifications, as well as the stringent specifications of OEMs,” he says. “We work closely with OEMs to ensure quality assurance and quality control in line with customers’ expectations and codes of practice.”
The capability includes a fabrication facility for light, medium and heavy steel structures. The company’s fabrication and boilermaking expertise is applied in a number of applications, allowing complete new frames for LHDs and drill rigs to be built from scratch.
“This local refurbishment and fabrication capability is part of our wider contribution to the skills base of the South African economy, which we must nurture in pursuit of inclusive economic growth,” says Harmse. “This local content is today a more formalised requirement in the Mining Charter, but we have been working this way for many decades.”
Murray & Roberts Cementation’s specialised rigging team also plays a vital role in heavy rigging and installations, especially with regard to winders and winder ropes. Providing a scarce skill-set to mines in various countries, the team tackles the roping up of new winders, replacements, tensioning, servicing and remedial rope repairs among its tasks.
“In response to our own needs – as well as those of our mining customers – we are also active in container conversions for specialised purposes,” he says. “We convert these 6 metre or 12 metre containers into change-houses, laundries, offices, pumping stations or storage facilities, to name just a few uses.”
The technical capability at Bentley Park covers the full scope of trades and skills involved in producing these structures – from metal work and racking to electrical wiring and plumbing.
“Our in-house capacity and experience in delivering this range of engineering services ensures customers of a cost-effective solution and rapid response times, while not compromising on quality,” he concludes.