Outsourced minerals processing expert Minopex has redefined its capabilities and service offering to better suit the evolving needs of the mining industry.
“In essence, we have taken our extensive operate and maintain skillsets and repackaged them, which has opened the door to a far more diverse mining audience and their specific needs,” Minopex South Africa MD RASHID KADER tells LAURA CORNISH.
2019 has been a transformational year for Minopex, a DRA Global company, having spent the necessary time repositioning itself in the market.
“The experience our company has in the minerals processing sector, which we have developed through our operate and maintain (O&M) outsource model, is far-reaching.
"By repackaging these skills, we now have the opportunity to share our extensive competencies with the larger mining industry who can utilise specific services which will deliver operational benefits,” says Matt Van Wyk, Senior VP: Operations.
Minopex’s array of capabilities now includes:
- Operate: Outsourced plant, mining and laboratory operations
- Maintain: Maintenance contracts and maintenance management systems
- Engineer: Shutdown, fabrication and refurbishment work on facilities
- Advise: Operational readiness, value engineering, expert advisory services and optimisation / stabilisation projects
- Optimise: Integrated systems, training and development, operational assistance, supply chain management, information management systems (MOMS), commissioning assistance
Most of these offerings are not new to Minopex, but in the past they were delivered to clients through O&M outsourcing. Interestingly, the company has expanded its scope beyond processing and now caters to the full industry value chain, including mining and materials handling.
In support of this service, the company has brought on board experts in this field to drive this new business area.
“We became acutely aware of the need to add value to the broader mining industry though our expertise. There are fewer large Greenfield projects in the market at present but we are now able to tap into all customer segments and drive significant value-add opportunities,” Kader continues.
Naturally, because the company now operates within the Brownfields market sector, it can establish a trusted relationship with clients who can quickly see the benefits of the plant optimisation techniques Minopex can deliver.
“We often find processing facilities in challenging situations operationally and now we have an operating model that can assist.”
Through the redefinition of its capabilities, Minopex has also restructured the business – to better showcase its regional expertise and coverage (see Organogram for more detail).
The establishment of a South African focused arm – Minopex SA – allows alignment with Mining Charter III’s requirements. “In doing so, we support local procurement which mining companies are looking for from their contract partners,” Kader outlines.
Read more about Mining Charter III
Advisory: A complementary service offering
While Minopex has always offered an advisory role to its clients when needed – it has now made this a formal offering within the company which according to Van Wyk is another example where “we can leverage the substantial expertise within the business to help guide clients to enhance their operations.”
Through this division, Minopex can now directly link its experts in specific regions and commodities to the client to ensure they benefit optimally from its specialist knowledge – which includes value engineering, specialised work and training, operational readiness as well as audit and assurance work.
In his position as Senior VP: Operations, Van Wyk will be responsible for driving the advisory business which has gained significant traction since Minopex introduced the service in 2019.
DRA’s proprietary software system, Mine Operations Management System (MOMS) is now housed within the Minopex stable.
It provides the mining industry with digitally comprehensive operational intelligence which when applied in conjunction with best practices, benefits core business outcomes, including increased productivity and improved return on investment.
The standalone system is a complete enterprise information solution designed to bring together, from pit to port, various reporting systems (ERP, stores control, plant controls, maintenance systems) within an enterprise into one information system which can be accessed and operated remotely and advances the company’s ability to provide a complete enterprise optimisation solution to its clients.
“Through this system – which lives within our optimise capability – our clients are able to gather operational data and equipment diagnostics in real time, but more importantly analyse that data in order to make informed decisions, quickly,” says Nicolaas Schoeman, Senior VP: Technical Services.
Thanks to an in-house digital team, MOMS is constantly evolving and most recently saw the addition of a management and maintenance tool integrated into the system – which can be viewed remotely using any hand held device.
To date, the system has proven beneficial to many clients including Zimplats, Karowe diamond mine in Botswana, Phola coal processing plant and Letseng diamond mine in Lesotho.
“Our approach to digital technologies is to work with tools that are already proven. We evaluate the best-in-class systems and standardise on those that we know will deliver results.
"Ultimately, we aim to be a paperless organisation and are doing a lot of work not only on predictive tools but prescriptive tools as well – which will see automation move to a new level where the system will not only predict the failure but indicate what needs to be done immediately to prevent it,” Schoeman reveals.
“Ultimately, we are evolving as a business – and this is being driven and determined by the needs and input from our customers to ensure we continue to provide them with the service and capabilities they are looking for to improve their operations,” Schoeman concludes.