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Liebherr reflects on Zambia’s evolving role in global mining tech advances

Liebherr Zambia has celebrated its 10th anniversary, with employees travelling to the Kitwe branch to begin the proceedings with a tour of Kitwe’s office, warehouse and remanufacturing facilities before attending a company-wide address from Liebherr Zambia’s managing directors.

Henri Wassink, Managing Director of Administration, Liebherr Zambia, said: “We appreciate everyone who has supported Liebherr Zambia during our journey. We thank our employees for their dedication, creativity and loyalty over the past 10 years and look forward to what we will achieve together in the years to come.”

Liebherr Zambia was originally founded to support mining operations in the Zambian Copperbelt. During its first five years, Liebherr Zambia was solely a Liebherr Mining sales and service company, providing machinery, technical support and spare parts to the open-pit copper mines in the country. However, in 2019, the company began offering equipment from Liebherr’s earthmoving product segment to expand its support capabilities and work alongside the gemstone industry as well as contractors providing mining and construction services.

“When we first opened, we had a handful of employees: one accountant, one parts representative and a single technician,” Wassink says. “Today, Liebherr Zambia is more than 100 employees strong, and we are present on different customer sites.”

Despite being home to 20% of the world’s emeralds and being the seventh largest copper producer in the world, the Zambian mining industry is a small one and therefore extremely competitive. To meet customers’ high expectations, Liebherr Zambia has developed a variety of tailored support solutions that range from ad hoc and on-call support to full service contracts with more than 70 people involved.

Jeffery Johnson, Service Manager, Liebherr Zambia, said: “Customers’ needs are rarely static. As such, it’s important that we regularly engage with our customers to be sure that the supports and resources we provide, such as spare parts, are always exactly what they need.”

In recent years, Liebherr Zambia has played a significant role in the development of product innovations such as Liebherr’s Trolley Assist System for haul trucks and the D98 series of combustion engines, designed specifically for the mining industry. In 2016, Liebherr Zambia welcomed the first two T 284 haul trucks in Africa. These were the first trucks to operate using Liebherr’s trolley and pantograph technology – a crucial step forward in the design and development of the Liebherr Trolley Assist System available today.

Sebastien Tomasina, Managing Director of Operations, Liebherr Zambia, said: “The success of the trolley trial in Zambia paved the way for a substantial international sale of a T 284 fleet using trolley technology.”

During the validation of the D98 series of combustion engines, Liebherr Zambia commissioned the first D9812 12-cylinder engine in 2018. Three years later, Liebherr Zambia repowered a T 284 haul truck so that it was the first to run on a D9816 16-cylinder engine. These were crucial steps in the creation of Liebherr’s D98 range of engines, which has now been adopted by customers in major mining markets all over the world.

Kaluba Chaikatisha, General Manager, Finance and Administration, Liebherr Zambia, said: “A key driver in our ability to cope with the rapid expansion and evolution in the industry in which we operate has been the core values of the Liebherr Group that have shaped our organisational culture. These have driven, and continue to drive, the quality in our output, the innovation required to optimise solutions, and the trust we build with our stakeholders.”

When Liebherr Zambia first opened its doors 10 years ago, the company had just the one location and employees you could count on one hand. Today, Liebherr Zambia operates locations in Kitwe, Lusaka, and Kalumbila; represents multiple Liebherr product segments; and supports customers from a range of different industries.

Muonga Kaunda, Head of Human Resources, Liebherr Zambia, said: “I am so proud to be part of the Liebherr Zambia team. Our diverse and talented workforce thrives on teamwork and supporting the business in reaching its business objectives. I’m excited to see what the next 10 years brings for us!”

2024 also marks the 75th anniversary of the Liebherr Group, with celebrations taking place in locations all over the world throughout the year.