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Babcock’s Volvo fleet ticking the boxes at ZAC coal operation in South Africa

South Africa headquartered Babcock Equipment is helping Menar improve productivity and lower costs at its Zululand Anthracite Colliery (ZAC) in KzaZulu-Natal.

Earlier this year, ZAC celebrated an average of 5,000 machine hours worked in the space of just 12 months, with no downtime while running 24-hour shifts.

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, and has worked up to 5,800 hours per individual machine since July 2017.

ZAC is South Africa’s sole producer and exporter of prime anthracite coal. It has a 100 t/h capacity and is expected to wash 3 Mt of discard in the next five years.

The reclamation of the long-standing discard dump will decrease the rehabilitation footprint of the colliery and produce 1 Mt of saleable product to be made available for both inland and export markets, according to Babcock.

The Volvo Construction Equipment operating at ZAC is being used to mine the surface dump and transport it to a newly built processing plant (pictured), as well as clean slurry dams at the mine.

Bradley Hammond, COO of Menar, said Babcock was able to offer something different from its equipment dealer competitors when it came to service.

“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,” he said.

The CAP10C warranty and attractive maintenance plan offered by Babcock made the package highly cost-effective in the long term, he added.

This 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, Babcock said.

Hammond said the Volvo fleet had been a “great investment” with a fuel burn 20% less than competitors and equipment that is “perfect for our needs”.

The equipment has performed so well over the past year that Menar is considering expanding its Babcock-supplied construction equipment for other mining operations within its fold, according to Babcock.

Although being used for ‘soft’ mining, Hammond said the conditions have nevertheless tested the machinery’s capacity and endurance. “The Volvo Construction Equipment has shown excellent performance in wet conditions, with the crawler excavators doing especially well,” he said.

ZAC has reduced its monthly operating expenses and Hammond attributes much of this to Babcock’s maintenance plan.

Babcock Equipment distributes and supports international brands and construction equipment.