During a time when the mining industry is facing economic challenges, the AECI Group will highlight how AEL, Senmin and the customer can work together to improve mine-to-mineral outcomes. Under the umbrella of the new AECI Mining pillar, these businesses will offer solutions that focus on the customer and their current business challenges.
The mining industry is currently under a lot of pressure. In the short term, dwindling commodity prices are squeezing cash flow. Many existing mines are maturing, resulting in the extraction of lower ore grades.
With instability in mining commodity prices and rising concerns over resource scarcity, mining companies continue to feel the pressure to cut costs and raise productivity. The message from experts remains the same: mining companies have to ensure that they extract each tonne at the best possible cost.
With that in mind, at the centre of the AECI Group’s exhibit at the Investing in African Mining Indaba 2020 will be the integration of its AECI Mining pillar, which was formed to find ways of harnessing the energy provided by explosives and chemicals as a means of optimising the mining value chain at large.
For more than 120 years, AECI has been at the forefront of cutting-edge innovations that have helped change the face of mining globally. Today, the mining industry accounts for more than 50% of the group’s revenue and remains a strategic priority for the group as a whole.
By covering surfactants for explosives manufacture, commercial explosives, initiating systems and blasting solutions, right through the value chain to chemicals for ore beneficiation and tailings treatment, the AECI Mining pillar companies – AECI Mining: Explosives (AEL) and AECI Mining: Chemicals (Senmin) – provide a three-way partnership with the customer, making a tangible difference in terms of energy maximisation, the environment and health and safety.
“The integration of these offerings is a reinvention of who we are, what we do, and how we do it. The objective is to grow the AECI Mining Pillar into a holistic provider of choice to the mining industry across all our chosen markets,” says Edwin Ludick, Managing Director of AEL and Chairman of AECI Mining.
Comprehensive products and services
Through a uniquely collaborative process, AECI Mining offers a comprehensive range of products and services, as well as the convenience of a single infrastructure and interface now represented by AECI Mining: Explosives and AECI Mining: Chemicals. This is complemented by a world-class research and development capability and highly skilled multi-disciplinary teams that share the best practices, identify synergies and define strategies that deliver positive outcomes for mines and mining houses.
The combined offering of AECI Mining: Explosives and Chemicals is available in Africa, Australia, Chile, Indonesia, Europe, North and South America.
Through the diligent application of AECI Mining: Explosive’s products and services, underscored by its experience, intelligence and R&D, energy is used correctly at the source and rock is blasted in such a way that it enables enhanced efficiencies across the mining value chain, reducing operating costs while improving productivity and output.
“This is a significant differentiator in an operational space traditionally restricted by silo mentalities. Our unique offering is made possible by means of four enablers, namely Differentiated Products, Adaptive Delivery Systems and Services, Predictive Software and Mining Optimisation,” explains Ludick.
As Africa’s leader in mining, AECI Mining: Chemicals develops, manufactures, supplies and supports a wide range of reagents for ore beneficiation processes that involve flotation technologies, as well as solutions for solid-liquid separation and tailings management.
In addition to operating the largest mining chemicals manufacturing facility on a single site in the southern hemisphere, AECI Mining: Chemicals offers a full service model. In case of long-term contracts, the company sets up a reagent plant on site that is supported by a metallurgical team 24/7.
“This is particularly important as ore grades vary during processing and therefore chemical adjustments are necessary to maximise output and reduce waste. The business also handles logistics, make-up equipment and storage,” adds Ludick.
A multi-million rand upgrade has doubled AECI Mining: Chemicals xanthate manufacturing capacity, while increasing the range of xanthates available locally. To keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of the mining industry, another R72-million was ploughed in a technical centre and pilot plant.
Ludick says Mining Indaba 2020 is an important gathering for the AECI Group to highlight these integrated capabilities to the mining industry. “We will have our Mobile Manufacturing Unit (MMU) on display at the Mining Indaba. This state of the art MMU will be equipped with integrated SMART intelligence. The SMART means the MMU will not only have the ability to perfectly blend various formulations, but will have the capability to integrate and report on a number of on-bench parameters linked to GPS co-ordinates. In future, we will see autonomous MMUs with patented technology, which will intelligently deliver explosives according to satellite positioning. We believe that going autonomous will significantly contribute to improving blasting processes.”
Having been at the centre of the integration of the Mining pillar from inception to fruition, Ludick is excited about the success of his long-term vision. “The Mining pillar – whose mantra is Good Chemistry – ushers in a new chapter in the group’s growth story, especially considering the strategic positioning it holds for all the businesses involved. More importantly, I am equally excited about its value proposition to the customer. The integration of the AECI Mining pillar affords mines and mining companies the opportunity to reduce inefficiencies and operating costs, optimise mining conditions and improve productivity and output, thus improving their balance sheets,” concludes Ludick.