Babcock’s open-door policy, values of transparency and candid dialogue, combined with a range of leading construction machinery and equipment, is a recipe for successful collaborations with its customers. As a partner who is trusted to deliver, this philosophy has struck a chord with Lomeza Mining Services who required reliable construction equipment to fulfil its obligations as part of a long-term contract to load and haul overburden in Delmas.Simon Mkhonza, MD of Lomeza Mining Services, says he initially approached Babcock three years ago seeking reliable construction equipment for Exxaro’s Leeuwpan coal mine. Today Lomeza’s fleet includes 18 Babcock-supplied Volvo Construction Equipment machines that have helped the growing business meet and increase their production capacity. Most recently Lomeza has taken delivery of three Volvo A60H articulated dump trucks (ADTs) and one EC950E excavator, adding to their existing fleet that includes six A35G ADTs, three A45G ADTs, and three EC750D crawler excavators. Mkhonza says that as a young organisation Lomeza did not have extensive access to machinery that larger contract mining companies have, and recalls his first meetings with Babcock as the owner of a small business with a large equipment supply problem. After initial negotiations, Mkhonza took delivery of two Volvo EC750D excavators and six A35G ADTs in November 2017. “My business was still in the start-up stages and I wasn’t yet known to the leading equipment suppliers. However, Babcock chose to support me and this was the beginning of a solid and long-lasting relationship,” says Mkhonza. He adds that the mine soon recognised the quality and performance of the Volvo Construction Equipment and increased Lomeza’s production capacity which in turn required more machinery. “I went back to Babcock and again they offered me fantastic support. Together with Babcock and Volvo, we have grown and advanced Lomeza’s fleet to 18 Volvo machines, meeting our production targets of 2 million tonnes of overburden a month.”
Mkhonza highlights the distinction between simply supplying equipment and maintaining it in good working order, saying that Babcock has provided unwavering support in regard to the latter. “Babcock’s service goes far beyond the sales lot and the team is fully committed to after-sale support and maintenance. Servicing is done on site and their skilled technicians offer excellent assistance and fast turnaround times if there is a breakdown,” he says.Babcock’s Rob Baker, Volvo & SDLG Equipment Sales, echoes Mkhonza’s sentiment and says that over the course of three years a relationship based on mutual respect and trust has developed between the two businesses. “Simon is a fantastic customer and our relationship with him has grown from strength to strength.” A recent letter of gratitude to Lomeza Mining Services from the mine thanking the business for meeting their targets bears testament to this successful collaboration. Strength, durability and developing products and services that increase productivity are all hallmarks of Volvo Construction Equipment, a brand that has long been associated with low energy consumption, reduction of lifecycle costs and ease of use. The Volvo articulated dump trucks and crawler excavators are both considered ideal for open-cast mining operations in southern Africa, with robust drivelines designed specifically for the challenging applications. The A60H ADT, in particular, is perfectly suited for open-cast coal mining, where short, yet extremely steep ramps have to be negotiated to access boxcuts made through overburden. The EC950E excavator pairs perfectly with the A60H and has the ability to handle high-capacity duties in tough applications. With its name deriving from the phrase ‘to shout out loud’, Lomeza Mining Services was established by Simon Mkhonza in February 2015 and currently operates within South Africa’s coal mining industry. The company’s long-term goal is to extend their operations outside of South Africa and develop their own mining operations with a focus on coal, industrial minerals, iron ore and base metals. Lomeza’s services include open-cast truck and shovel mining systems as well as equipment solutions for stock pile management and mine rehabilitation; skills and support infrastructure necessary for underground mining; consulting services for open-cast mining design, equipment selection, operational readiness, resource optimisation and support, mine rehabilitation, and environmental monitoring solutions; and experience based on one-on-one coaching for miners, shift bosses and mine overseers. Located approximately 80 km south-east of Pretoria in South Africa’s Mpumalanga province, Leeuwpan produces 3.65 Mtpa of thermal coal for export and for South Africa’s power supplier Eskom. It is a conventional open-pit mine that uses modified terrace configurations and truck and shovel operations.