Master Drilling Group Ltd has announced an initial 25% investment in A&R Group as the drilling company continues to diversify its services and address its clients’ demand for increased mechanisation and digitisation.
Over the years A&R Engineering & Mining Supplies has become a leading operator in the underground rail-bound and trackless equipment hardware environment in terms of management systems and focusing on safety solutions, Master Drilling said. The digitisation by installation of thousands of intelligent devices across various mining operations has resulted in various spin-offs that include measurement of productivity; missing person location; and pedestrian, vehicle and other asset tracking.
The core offering of Lamproom Solutions & Consulting, part of the A&R Group, is the Comprehensive Mine Management System (CMMS). This software currently manages in excess of 100,000 cap lamps on a daily basis over a wide geographical area, Master Drilling said.
The ongoing need and drive for intelligent management information is constantly driven by the end user and this service is provided by Moxie Digital whose area of expertise is centred around providing reporting and data visualisation as well as 24/7 software support for the CMMS.
Since acquiring a stake in Embedded IQ (EIQ), a Johannesburg-based R&D business, over a decade ago, A&R Group has developed proximity avoidance hardware for underground rail-bound and trackless vehicles to facilitate safe and efficient mining. Equipment and systems supplied by the group track the movements of more than 50,000 people and machines underground in South Africa daily and, through specialised hardware, allow missing personnel to be located. The group’s competitive position is maintained by prioritising safety through innovation tailored for South African mines, according to Master Drilling.
Danie Pretorius, Master Drilling CEO, said: “Technological innovation remains a priority for Master Drilling as we continue to support our clients to optimise their operations, move down the cost curve and increase safety. Investing in A&R is synergistic for Master Drilling and aligned with our strategy to diversify our services and invest in businesses that help us meet our clients’ demand for increased mechanisation and digitisation. Other opportunities with low capital requirements and short return cycles are currently under consideration.”
Giel Oberholster, Managing Director of the A&R Group, added: “We are delighted to have Master Drilling become a shareholder of reference in A&R and look forward to leveraging the solidified relationships that have been established with mining houses. While A&R is currently focused on providing its services and hardware to South African clients, with a focus on Tier 1 and Tier 2 underground miners, we believe that there is a clear opportunity to broaden our reach across different markets that Master Drilling operates in globally.”
As Master Drilling’s strategy is geared towards developing the opportunities that innovation and technology present within the mining industry, further diversification into hardware selling and support, software licensing and data analytics has become one of the ways that the company has differentiated itself from its competitors, it said.