Epiroc continued to register high demand from the mining sector in the September quarter, as several large mining equipment orders were won over the three-month period, leading to a 17% year-on-year rise in orders received.
This total of SEK14.36 billion (US$1.29 billion) was supported by strong organic growth and acquisitions, Epiroc said, as well as its largest order ever received – a SEK700 million agreement to supply the Kamoa-Kakula copper operation in the DRC with Minetruck MT65 S haulers, Scooptram ST18 S loaders, Boomer 282 face drilling rigs and Simba E70 S production drilling rigs.
In a quarter that included no acquisitions, Epiroc saw its operating profit increase 12% to SEK3.26 billion, while its operating margin was up at 21.7%.
Helena Hedblom, President and CEO of the company, said the quarter saw particularly strong demand for its automation and connectivity solutions, which was reinforced by a recent agreement with Boliden, Algoryx and Örebro University to evaluate autonomous face drilling options, plus a separate strengthened cooperation with Newcrest Mining to take a holistic approach towards the entire mining process at several Newcrest mines.
Outside of these financial specifics, Hedblom said the company was also looking to consolidate several functions – transactional and human resources, among them – into new regional centres of excellence to better serve customers in certain markets as part of its wider operational excellence pursuit.
“These will be rolled out region by region,” she told IM.
One such change is happening in South Africa, with the company moving production of its low-profile machines from Örebro, Sweden, to South Africa. This move follows the acquisition of Aard Mining Equipment in April of this year, and recognition of a substantial portion of the low-profile market being in southern Africa, Hedblom acknowledged.
Aard, based in Chamdor near Johannesburg, designs, manufactures, services and supports a wide range of mining equipment, specialising in low-profile underground machines for mines with low mining heights. Its products include drill rigs, bolters, loaders, scalers, and more.
BEV retrofits on the up
A key differentiator in the Epiroc electrification portfolio that has been covered extensively by IM is the company’s battery-electric retrofit options.
Launched in the March quarter of 2021 – with the first retrofit kit offered for the ST1030 underground loader – the solution was viewed as a sustainable way to electrify machinery, with the conversion kits expected to be fitted during a midlife service rebuild.
Hedblom said interest for these retrofits continued to build from the mining community, with the company scaling up the number of retrofit kit models available, the expertise and resources to enact these changes, and the “standard operating procedures” required to offer this.
“It is still early days…but over the coming years we expect to have a mix of both new [battery-electric] equipment sales and retrofits coming through,” she said.